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May 2003 News Archives


 

  • (5-31-2003)

  • And more on Dodge and Davis: Dodge has no immediate plans to expand the number of factory-backed Winston Cup programs, despite cutting ties last week to Bill Davis Racing. “Something like that would not come as a direct, hasty response to what has occurred,” said Todd Goyer, manager of Dodge Motorsports. “I can’t say what will happen down the road, however.” Last week, Dodge severed its contract to provide factory support to BDR’s Winston Cup teams with drivers Ward Burton and Kenny Wallace. The manufacturer would not comment on the specific reason for its move, with Goyer saying only that BDR’s actions were “intolerable.” Speculation in the Winston Cup garage Friday was BDR was involved with Toyota and its plans to enter the NASCAR Truck series next season. Goyer would not directly respond to that issue, saying instead: “As a hypothetical question, it’s safe to say if a Dodge team was working with another manufacturer, we would have concerns.” BAM Racing, which fields the #49 Dodges for Ken Schrader, hopes to pick up some of backing previously directed to BDR. BAM currently receives little factory support from Dodge. “The Dodge people know what their plans are for the rest of the year. Anything they can do for us, the gratitude would certainly be unlimited,” said Eddie Jones, BAM’s general manager. “They are already doing the things for us they can. They had a limited number of contracts and we weren’t one of them. But they have been doing everything they could because they have seen our loyalty to the brand.” Although it has no full-time primary sponsor, BAM has entered every race this season and has used Dodges since it began a part-time schedule last season. BDR officials again Friday declined to comment on the situation.(ThatsRacin.com)(5-31-2003)
  • Alan Kulwicki Memorial Scholarship Awarded: Tiffany Daniels, a top high-school student, athlete and race car driver from Smithfield, Va., has received the Alan Kulwicki Memorial Scholarship from The University of North Carolina at Charlotte. Rich Habegger, vice president of operations for Sports Marketing Enterprises at R.J. Reynolds, presented Daniels with the 2003 scholarship on May 25 at the Lowe’s Motor Speedway prior to Coca-Cola 600. Daniels, the daughter of Charlie and Wanda Daniels, graduated on May 24 from Hampton Roads Academy [VA]. During her high school career, she was a National Merit Scholar, winner of the Rensselaer Polytechnic Math and Science award, a member of the Spanish Honor Society, Mu Alpha Theta math honor society and a cum laude graduate. As a high school athlete Daniels played varsity field hockey and was captain of the varsity softball team. She has been involved in numerous community activities as a member of the Key Club and Interact Club. The four-year Kulwicki Scholarship is the highest honor within UNC Charlotte’s Motorsports Engineering program. The scholarship is given in memory of late NASCAR Winston Cup points champion Alan Kulwicki, who lost his life in a plane crash in 1993. Kulwicki was an engineer and a strong supporter of engineering and science education. The Lee College of Engineering at UNC Charlotte presents the scholarship to a high school senior who demonstrates outstanding academic achievement and has an affiliation with auto racing. UNC Charlotte’s Kulwicki scholars have established a strong tradition of academic and auto racing excellence. Many of the winners are ardent racecar drivers, as well as top engineers. Daniels, who plans to major in motorsports engineering at UNC Charlotte, has been an avid auto racing fan, team member and driver for years. As a Legends driver, Daniels has posted one win in a Young Lions race at Langley Speedway in Hampton, Va. In 2002, she finished sixth in the Virginia State Young Lions points, and 12th in Virginia State Semi-Pro points. This year, she is currently second in the Virginia State Semi-Pro points, and has had several top 10 finishes. She also races regularly in the Lowe’s Motor Speedway Summer Shootout and Winter Heat series. As the premier motorsports engineering program in the country, UNC Charlotte attracts top students from throughout the United States. The Lee College of Engineering has strong ties with many of the race teams in the Charlotte area, and UNC Charlotte engineering graduates can be found on numerous NASCAR teams. UNC Charlotte motorsports engineering students also have built a reputation for racing success in competition against other southeastern universities in the Inter-Collegiate Auto Racing Association. Racing 5/8th scale Legends cars, the UNC Charlotte 49ers have captured the collegiate National Championship the past six years.(NinerOnline.com)(5-31-2003)
  • Gone Fishing: Jeff Burton, Kurt Busch, Greg Biffle, Jeff Green, Hank Parker Jr. and Carl Edwards are scheduled to compete in the second annual Citgo Jeff Burton Celebrity Challenge fishing tournament on June 4 in Lake Buena Vista, Fla. The drivers will join BASS anglers Kevin VanDam, Gerald Swindle, Jay Yelas, Marty Stone, Jimmy Mize and Shaw Grigsby in a made-for-television event to be shown on ESPN2 during Bassmaster Classic week (July 28-Aug. 3) in New Orleans. Burton and VanDam were paired together in order to defend their 2002 title. The team caught a combined total of six fish that weighed a total of 14 pounds, seven ounces. The winning driver and angler will have a $10,000 donation to the Muscular Dystrophy Association made in their name. The teams will compete for the crystal Jeff Burton Celebrity Challenge trophy. As well, the winning team has a $10,000 donation to the Muscular Dystrophy Association made in their name on behalf of CITGO. The Tulsa, Okla., company is the largest corporate donor to the MDA, contributing more than $50 million throughout the past 17 years. Each team will bring their six-fish limit (three fish each) to the final weigh-in, which will be held at Noon, Wednesday June 4 at the Orlando Bass Pro Shops store. Fans are welcome and there will be interactive displays and giveaways for those in attendance.(Cox Marketing Group PR)(5-31-2003)
  • Jimmie Johnson To Be Honored At Stewart-Marchman Dinner: The Stewart-Marchman Foundation will honor NASCAR Winston Cup star Jimmie Johnson during its annual Daytona Club gala at the Daytona International Speedway on July 2. Johnson has demonstrated his concern for others both as a friend and mentor to young race drivers. He has also volunteered for the American Red Cross Celebrity Cabinet and teamed up with Lowe’s Home Improvement Warehouse to help support our troops by raising money for Operation United Service Organizations (USO) Care Packages. Money raised through donations at local Lowe’s stores will be sent to the USO and used to create care packages that troops will receive around the world. Joining Johnson at the gala will be former NASCAR driver and broadcast personality Bennie Parsons who will emcee the event. Title Sponsor for the fund-raiser is The Johnson Group, Inc.–one of Central Florida’s most prominent builder/developers. Tickets and sponsorships for the event may still be purchased from the Stewart-Marchman Foundation, Inc.(PR), for more info, see my Racing Charity Page.(5-31-2003)
  • Coke 600 TV Ratings…beats Indy: NASCAR beat the Indianapolis 500, but by just .1 rating point, which was good enough for the #1 slot in sports television last week. The Coca-Cola 600 on FOX scored a 4.7 rating and 11 share. These results beat ABC’s Indianapolis 500 (4.6 rating and 14 share) for the second straight year. NASCAR’s number is down 8 percent from last year, while Indy’s result fell off 4 percent. The Coca-Cola 600 reached 5,055,000 households and 8,042,000 people, according to Nielsen Media Research. Indy had 4,892,000 households and 6,723,000 people. Interestingly, the Coca-Cola 600 rain delay coverage from 6:57 p.m. to 7:10 p.m. officially checked in third place among sports broadcasts with a 4.4 rating. The Indy 500 pre-race show had a 2.7 rating and 9 share, good enough for 7th place.(MotorsportsTV)(5-31-2003)
  • Ramblings – Dover: Sure was nice to here today that DW is now against the provisional system. Might have something to do with him not needing one anymore, huh? I [this is Stockcarfans commnets NOT Jayski] guess he just doesn’t remember that he used 21 of ’em in 1998….now he feels the fastest 43 should just start each event. BTW, this egregious number caused a rules change the following year….he then maxed out at 8 in both 1999 and 2000.
    Rusty Wallace (2nd) has his best starting spot since he had the pole when we were here in September.
    Matt Kenseth (4th) has his best starting spot since he lined up 4th at Pocono last June.
    Sterling Marlin (6th) had his best qualifying run since he started 4th at Rockingham in February.
    STREAKIN….Ryan Newman has 11 Top-10 starts in a row. Jeff Gordon has 8 Top-10 starts in the last 9 races.(Stock Car Fans Newsletter)(5-31-2003)


    (5-30-2003)

  • Dodge Splits with Bill Davis Racing UPDATE: A top Dodge Motorsports official confirmed Thursday that the automaker has terminated its contract with Bill Davis Racing [BDR]. Davis fields the Winston Cup Dodges of 2002 Daytona 500 winner Ward Burton and Kenny Wallace. Davis also fields Chevrolets in the Busch Series for Scott Wimmer. Todd Goyer, manager of Dodge Motorsports, said the contract was terminated prior to last weekend’s Coca-Cola 600. Goyer would not comment spcifically on what prompted Dodge’s decision, but called BDR’s actions “intolerable.” He would not provide specifics. A spokeswoman for the Davis team said she was not aware of the change late Thursday afternoon. The loss of factory support means BDR will not receive information and engineering data provided to Dodge programs. BDR could also lose wind-tunnel time and the use of factory-supplied parts for its teams. Bill Davis Racing ran Dodge bodies in last weekend’s race at Lowe’s Motor Speedway.(ThatsRacin.com). There have been many rumors that BDR has been working with Toyota for the Truck Series, which will run the that series in 2004.
    AND Dodge Motorsports has terminated its contract with Bill Davis Racing, cutting off all support and access to information for drivers #22-Ward Burton and #23-Kenny Wallace. Todd Goyer, managing director for Dodge Motorsports, said Thursday the contract was broken before last week’s Coca-Cola 600 because of a “material breach of agreement.”
    “We do have enough reason to reach the conclusion that we did,” Goyer said. There has been speculation Davis has been in discussion with Toyota, which will become the first foreign automaker in NASCAR next season when it enters Tundras in the Truck Series. Goyer would not comment further on what led to the split with BDR. Davis can still use Dodge Intrepids for Burton, Wallace and Busch Series driver Scott Wimmer [but run’s Chevy’s in Busch], but he’ll now have to pay for all of his equipment. He’ll also be shut out of the information sharing that goes on between Dodge teams. That access can be vital, considering NASCAR heavyweights Roger Penske, Chip Ganassi and Ray Evernham are part of the Dodge contingent. “Factory support means they have access to the technology that all the Dodge teams have and all the information sharing,” Goyer said. “It’s access to all the technical aspects, plus the marketing support and use of the Dodge brand name.” Davis will also lose access to Dodge’s wind tunnel in Michigan. Wind tunnel time is one of the greatest expenses in racing and Dodge teams were able to save considerably by having one in-house at the DaimlerChrysler headquarters. The manufacturer now has four official teams – Penske Racing [#2/#12], Chip Ganassi Racing [#40/#41/#42], Evernham Motorsports [#9/#19/#91] and Petty Enterprises [#43/#44/#45] – and nine drivers. #49-Ken Schrader drives a Dodge for BAM Motorsports, but the team does not receive factory support.(Charlotte Observer/AP)(5-29-2003)
    UPDATE suspposedly BDR tested a Chevy at Dover with Wimmer the week before the Coke 600 for the Cup race, then it was announced Wimmer would not run at Dover.
    AND also the Jim Smith’s Ultra Motorsports #7 Sirius Dodge and Jimmy Spencer is a Dodge factory team.
    UPDATE 2: all interviews with either Dodge folks, Bill Davis or the drivers pretty much are ‘No Comment’ on the situation. The only thing mentioned was that it was a face-to-face meeting with Dodge and Davis during the Coke 600 race weekend.(5-30-2003)
  • Robby’s Angel’s? UPDATE: #31-Robby Gordon is scheduled to run a Charlie’s Angels: Full Throttle paint scheme on June 1st at Dover. It will also run again in late fall when the DVD for the movie is released(3-27-2003)
    UPDATE: added the image of the scheme to my Paint Scheme Gallery.(5-29-2003)
    UPDATE 2: looks like this scheme will NOT be run at Dover, the car had the regular black scheme during qualifying.(5-30-2002)
  • Special Flags: At about 8:30am/et this morning, members of the Air Force stationed at Dover Air Force Base presented three sets of green and checkered flags to officials at Dover International Speedway. “These flags have flown combat missions over Iraq,” said base spokeswoman Lt. Allison N. Tedesco. “Everyone here is very excited.” Lt. Tedesco said the track gave the Air Force the flags about two months ago. Since then, the flags have traveled on military aircraft moving faster than any NASCAR race car. “The flags went on combat missions in A-10s,” Lt. Tedesco said. The agile A-10 Thunderbolt typically travels more than 400 mph. Lt. Tedesco said every Air Force crew transporting the flags signed them. Speedway spokesman John Dunlap said the flags would probably not be used to start or end any race. “As far as I know, the flags will be gifts for special guests,” he said. He didn’t know which guests would get the flags. Lt. Tedesco said the flags were important for several reasons. “A lot of air crews wrote personal messages to some of the drivers,” she said. “We are just very excited NASCAR is going to use them. “They are still covered with dust from Iraq.”(Dover Newszap)(5-30-2003)
  • Triple Duty for Mike Wallace: It’s not enough that #01-Mike Wallace is running both Saturday’s Busch Series and Sunday’s Winston Cup event. He’s flying back to Charlotte tonight to attend his daughter Lindsey’s high school graduation.(Gaston Gazette)(5-30-2003)
  • Huge Deal for Dale Jr. UPDATE: Garage sources say Budweiser, Junior’s primary sponsor, has re-signed him to a three-year deal that will pay Dale Earnhardt Inc. $18 million in 2004, $20 million 2005 and $22 million in 2006. That’s a chunk of change, but Budweiser will get some of it back—30 percent of a driver’s souvenir sales generally goes to the sponsor.(Sporting News)(5-26-2003)
    UPDATE: Dale Earnhardt Jr. is apparently ready to sign a new $60 million, three-year contract with Budweiser. But Ty Norris, general manager of Dale Earnhardt Inc., says the $60 million sponsorship figure is incorrect: ‘Don’t believe some of those crazy numbers. We are in negotiations with Budweiser to extend our contract, which is up at the end of 2004. But the numbers are no one else’s business but ours, and it’s unfair to put numbers like that out there.'(Winston Salem Journal)(5-30-2003)
  • More on Yates engine: “We thought we had a problem and took the engine out,” explained Doug Yates of his Robert Yates Racing #88 team’s recent loss of a motor to NASCAR during the The Winston weekend when the team believed there was an engine problem that warranted removal. NASCAR took the engine because it was not removed following the rules, not because the engine was illegal. We thought we had an issue, but it turns out that we didn’t,” Yates said. “[But] they took it. Hopefully this will prove a point, just like it did on that car at Texas.” Yates was refering to the #20 Home Depot Chevy that NASCAR impounded from Joe Gibb Racing after the car failed to meet offset specifications in the rear decklid area. The confiscation netted Gibbs no financial fine, as was the case with the motor RYR lost to NASCAR.(Ford Racing)(5-30-2003)
  • Raycom Rolls on TRAC Sponsorship Drive: Team Sports Entertainment, Inc., parent company of Team Racing Auto Circuit (TRAC), retained Raycom Sports of Charlotte, NC in April, 2003 to sell and market all of TRAC’s in-house and league-wide sponsorships including television. Since that time, Raycom has contacted, had discussions with, or met with over 70 potential sponsors in over 20 different advertising categories. They are taking a vertically integrated package to the market that not only launches sponsorships, but can also guarantee category exclusivity.(TRAC PR)(5-30-2003)
  • Cope to pull double duty at Dover: Derrike Cope will be pulling double duty this weekend at Dover. Cope will be in the Jay Robinson Racing #49 Busch Series Car on Saturday with support from Fans Motorsports.com and Choice Marketing. On Sunday.Derrike and the Winston Cup Series Quest #37 Team will be running in the MBNA Armed Forces Family 400. The team is looking for a product deal to fill in as a primary sponsor for their Busch effort for the remainder of the season.(5-30-2003)

    (5-29-2003)

  • Only 6 Months Away: The NASCAR Winston Cup Series will return to the Waldorf-Astoria Hotel’s Grand Ballroom in New York City on Friday, Dec. 5. Awards will total approximately $17 million and will be presented to the 2003 NASCAR Winston Cup champion and other eligible drivers. This year’s Raybestos Rookie of the Year will also be honored at the prestigious black-tie dinner celebration. No word on television plans for the banquet as of yet. The 2002 banquet was televised on TNT.(5-29-2003)
  • Bliss in a third Gibbs car? Mike Bliss reportedly will drive a third Winston Cup car for Joe Gibbs Racing at the Pepsi 400 in Daytona and the EA Sports 500 at Talladega in September. Bliss currently drives for Gibbs in the Busch Series.(Winston Cup Scene – need subscription to read)(5-29-2003)
  • Another Looney Tunes: hearing #30-Steve Park will run a Looney Tunes scheme (not sure which one) at Phoenix along with #24-Jeff Gordon (Yosemite Sam) and #25-Joe Nemechek (Bugs Bunny), Busch driver #12-Kerry Earnhardt (Yosemite Sam) and Kevin Harvick in the Truck Series race (with Taz),……more drivers to come?(5-16-2003)
    UPDATE: added image of the #30 AOL/Looney Tunes/Daffy Duck scheme to my Paint Scheme Gallery.(5-29-2003)
  • #23 to test in South Carolina: The #23 Stacker 2 team will test at Carolina Motorsports Park in Kershaw, SC, to shake down their road course car they plant to race at Infineon Raceway in Sears Point, Calif., later this month.(Bill Davis Racing PR)(5-29-2003)
  • Dale Earnhardt Tribute Concert News: In honor of the men and women who serve in the Armed Forces of the United States Of America, Teresa Earnhardt and the Dale Earnhardt Foundation will show their appreciation through a special ticket promotion surrounding the inaugural Dale Earnhardt Tribute Concert. On Saturday, May 31st, for one day only and while tickets last, Teresa Earnhardt and the Foundation will match every ticket purchased for the Dale Earnhardt Tribute Concert, with the donation of a concert ticket to various branches of the Armed Forces. The Dale Earnhardt Tribute Concert will take place, Saturday, June 28, at Daytona International Speedway in Daytona Beach, Fla. Performing at the daylong festival will be superstars Alabama, Brooks & Dunn, Kenny Chesney, Sheryl Crow, goo goo dolls and Hootie & The Blowfish, and a special guest appearance by Delbert McClinton. Anyone who purchases a ticket on Saturday, May 31st will be helping in this “Salute To The Troops”. Tickets will be distributed to members of each branch of the U.S. Armed Forces through military bases. All profits from ticket sales from the Dale Earnhardt Tribute Concert will benefit the Dale Earnhardt Foundation, which Teresa Earnhardt established to carry on Dale’s name and good works through the charitable causes he championed during his lifetime. Tickets for the concert are available through www.daleearnhardtinc.com, www.ticketmaster.com, Ticketmaster outlets and Ticketmaster charge by phone.(DEI PR)
    AND – on TV: FOX will present a Dale Earnhardt Tribute Concert, an all-star fundraising event, on Thursday, July 10 from 8:00 – 10:00pm/et(FoxSports)(5-29-2003)
  • Tony Stewart, promoter? UPDATE 2 Not Interested: The World of Outlaws reportedly is having financial problems, and garage sources say Stewart might become the new owner/promoter of the open-wheel series. A possible bidding war could occur between Stewart and Speedway Motorsports, which also has expressed interest in purchasing the series. Word is the price could be $5 million.(Sporting News)
    AND At least three trailers, a souvenir rig and a pace truck belonging to owners of a dirt-track sprint racing series were seized late Saturday by Cabarrus County [NC] sheriff’s deputies, authorities said. The court-ordered seizure about 8 p.m. at or near Lowe’s Motor Speedway followed a civil suit filed by Wheeler Television Inc. against World of Outlaws Inc., which owns the racing series. The Charlotte-based Wheeler Television is run by Patti Wheeler, daughter of Lowe’s Motor Speedway president H.A. “Humpy” Wheeler. The suit seeks money reportedly owed to Wheeler Television, which last year produced taped segments of World of Outlaws racing for broadcast on the Speed Channel. The racing circuit features 1,200-pound sprint cars that race around smaller, high-banked dirt tracks. It was not immediately clear what effect, if any, the seizures would have on future World of Outlaws events. Richard Day, series spokesman, could not be reached Sunday. According to the company’s Web site, the next scheduled race is today at Lebanon Valley Speedway, about 18 miles southeast of Albany, NY.(ThatsRacin.com)(5-26-2003)
    UPDATE 2: Tony Stewart has no interest in purchasing the financially strapped O’Reilly World of Outlaws. Stewart’s name has surfaced as a potential replacement for Ted Johnson, the founder/owner of the Allen-based Sprint Car series. Outlaws property was seized last weekend at Lowe’s Motor Speedway in Concord, N.C., after a court order was issued following a civil suit filed by Wheeler Television Inc. According to the National Speed Sport News, the Outlaws owe Wheeler Television more than $500,000 for the production of programming in 2002. Stewart is involved in the open-wheel series as a car owner for friend and former champion Danny Lasoski. A possible suitor could be Bruton Smith’s Speedway Motorsports Inc., which previously expressed interest. The asking price reportedly could start at $ 5 million.(Fort Worth Star Ledger)(5-29-2003)
  • Driver Improves: Melvin Swisher now can claim something in common with a second Winston Cup driver. Swisher, 66, has been quick to boast for years that he has the same birth date (July 2) as Richard Petty. He gained common ground of sorts with Jerry Nadeau this week. Both were patients at the Charlotte Institute of Rehabilitation, recovering from wrecks in which they suffered severe head injuries. The difference is that modified veteran Swisher is moving toward the end of his stay and expects to return to his Kernersville home as Nadeau begins his therapy. Swisher slammed into the end of a wall during a March 29 crash at Caraway Speedway and was treated at Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center in Winston-Salem for six weeks.(High Point Enterprise)(5-29-2003)
  • Contests: Using a first foray into NASCAR stock car racing has led to some tremendous marketing success for Friendly Ice Cream Corporation. Sponsor of the #37 Friendly’s Chevrolet and driver Derrike Cope, Friendly’s has been using a new racing web site and a unique consumer promotion to promote its ice cream and restaurants. The results have been strong. The “Ultimate Race Weekend” is the Grand Prize. The winner and a friend will spend the Sept. 14 New Hampshire weekend with Cope in a motorcoach at the speedway. The honorary pit crew member will see and be a part of everything that goes on over the Winston Cup event weekend.
    Other Contests listing include: Where’s Mongo Contest (ends tomorrow); Be a NASCAR Grand Marshal for a Day; CITGO’s Peel Out, Reel In & Win! Million Dollar Challenge; Sharpie You Could Win $1,000,000; Petty Honorary Pit Crew Member. See more info on these and other contests on my Racing Contests page.(5-29-2003)
  • Goodyear Not Leaving NASCAR: Stu Grant, head of Goodyear Tire and Rubber Company’s racing program as general manager, global race tires, said this week that Goodyear has no intention of leaving NASCAR. With the parent company struggling financially, reports have been circulating since late March that Goodyear would drop its racing division as a cost cutting measure. Goodyear is involved in several different types of racing and has been the sole supplier of tires for NASCAR’s three major series, Winston Cup, Busch and Craftsman truck, since 1997. But essentially, Goodyear has been the only tire in stock car racing’s top circuit since 1974, when Firestone withdrew from the sport. Hoosier invaded the Winston Cup Series briefly in 1994, but left after one year [Jayski Note: Hoosier also was in Cup 1988-89]. “We have no intention of getting out of NASCAR, in fact, we have a renewed commitment here,” Grant said. “We have a five-year contract (through 2007) with NASCAR. Reportedly, Goodyear’s corporate leadership has ordered its marketing department to start making better use of the racing program, and a bevy of marketing people were on hand at Charlotte last week. Still, some in the NASCAR garage remain a bit uneasy about Goodyear’s situation, and competitors are appearing on the periphery of the sport. In March, Michelin sponsored the spring race at Darlington, which created a furor when Goodyear was never mentioned during the telecast of the event. And Yokohama recently became the official tire of Infineon Raceway (Sears Point). Others point out that while Goodyear does indeed have a long-term contract with NASCAR, it could sell its rights to another company and despite all the talk about a renewed committment to the sport, Goodyear has cut back on its testing. Specifically, Goodyear reportedly will not test at New Hampshire, which is being repaved, or at Homestead, where a major construction project is underway to dramatically change the corners. A source close to NASCAR said it already has a contingency plan in place should Goodyear suddenly drop out. Most likely, that involves Firestone, which has the engineering experience necessary to produce racing tires for ovals.(Lakeland Ledger)(5-29-2003)
  • #88 Wins Pit Crew Award at Lowe’s: The pit crew for Dale Jarrett’s #88 UPS Ford captured the $20,000 first-place prize by winning the McDonald’s Drive-Thru Pit Championship fueled by POWERADE at the recent Coca-Cola 600 at Lowe’s Motor Speedway in Charlotte. Jarrett’s ninth-place finish at the 1.5-mile speedway was paved by the excellent performance of his over-the-wall pit crew for its fast and accurate performance during the rain-shortened race. The UPS/Robert Yates Racing Ford spent the least amount of time, for a participating team, on pit road – 286 seconds, three seconds fewer than the pit crew of Michael Waltrip’s team, which leads in the overall McDonald’s Drive-Thru Pit Championship point standings. Sterling Marlin’s pit crew came in third – spending 290 seconds on pit road. The over-the-wall pit crew for the #88 team consists of John Bryan (jackman), Barry Price (gasman), Rick Coulson (catch can), Mike Trower (front tire changer), Darren Jolly (front tire carrier), Jason Sheets (rear tire changer) and Jeff Knight (rear tire carrier).(DMF Communications PR), see full rundown and standings on my Pitcrew Page and check out the Pitcrew Chart.(5-29-2003)

  • Buschwackers wacked? Starting at Lowe’s Motor Speedway, all cars for team that are driven by Cup drivers in the Busch Series races, must be in the inspection line before the Cup practices on Saturday (usually starting at 9:30am) and not changes to the car before the Busch race.(XM Satellite- NASCAR Radio – Subscription Required)(5-29-2003)
  • Connor to Dodge in the CTS? IUPDATE hearing former #0-Jack Sprague crew chief, Dennis Connor has been hired by Ultra Motorsports to be the crew chief for Jason Leffler and the #2 Team ASE Dodge Truck Series team.(5-27-2003)
    UPDATE: Dennis Connor has been hired as crew chief for the Team ASE/CARQUEST Dodge. Connor will begin working with the Ultra Motorsports NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series team and driver Jason Leffler immediately. Ultra Motorsports General Manager Tim Kohuth had been serving as Leffler’s crew chief since Daytona but will relinquish the role to concentrate on his duties as general manager. onnor, 51, is a longtime NASCAR top gun who has successfully guided the fortunes of several drivers during his career. The Sylva, NC native guided Jack Sprague to three NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series championships (1997,1999 and 2001), two runner-up points finishes (1996 & 1998), 23 victories and 20 pole positions. Away from the racetrack, Connor resides in Davidson, NC with his wife, Brenda Gail.(Ultra Motorsports PR)(5-29-2003)
  • Pocono Testing Thursday: Scheduled to test at Pocono Wednesday and Thursday are: #20-Tony Stewart, #16-Greg Biffle, #0-Jack Sprague, #42-Jamie McMurray, #74-Tony Raines, Casey Mears (#77-ARCA) and the #91-Casey Atwood?.(PRN’s Garage Pass Radio Show)(5-28-2003)
    UPDATE: Kyle Busch and his #87 ditech.com team spent two days testing their ARCA entry at Pocono earlier this week. The 18-year-old is scheduled to compete in the July 26 event at the 2.5-mile superspeedway.(HMS PR)(5-29-2003)


    (5-28-2003)

  • M&M’s Hoops for Hope Stuff: In order to complete the final stage of the M&M’s Hoops for Hope donation to the Autism Society of America, Elliott Sadler and M&M’S are ready to auction off some memorabilia from the game. In a final step to raise funding for a good cause, four game basketballs and a player jersey will go up for bid at midnight on May 28, 2003 and will run for seven days. To bid and for more info on the Auctions and the Golf Tournament, see my Racing Charities Page.(5-28-2003)
  • Students to Learn Aspects of the Motorsports Industry on May 30 at Dover International Speedway Bring-a-child-to-work day will take on a whole new look at the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series race at Dover International Speedway Friday, May 30. Craftsman Motorsports, in conjunction with NASCAR and Dover International Speedway, will sponsor “Urban Youth Racing School Day at the Races.” Fourteen students of the Urban Youth Racing School in Philadelphia will get a special behind-the-scenes look at the motorsports industry. The Urban Youth Racing School is a non-profit organization committed to the education, training and preparation of today’s urban youths through exposure to the automotive and motorsports industry. In 2002, 78 urban boys and girls successfully completed the 10-week motorsports orientation and training programs. More info on my Truck Series Site or Racing Schools/Jobs page.(5-28-2003)
  • Kannapolis receives bids for next phase of Earnhardt tribute site: Finishing the next phase of work on the Dale Earnhardt tribute site in Kannapolis won’t be cheap. The city received bids from two companies and have selected Charlotte-based TK Brown Construction to do the work, officials said. The bid was $149,000, but Parks and Recreation Director Gary Mills said negotiations are continuing with the company and city leaders hope to whittle the cost down. The next phase will include installing an irrigation system, sprucing up the park’s entrances, landscaping and additional brick work. Mills said the site plan calls for elaborate landscaping, including cherry trees, hollies, azaleas, junipers and a variety of other plants and flowers. But even after this round of landscaping, Mills said the park will not be finished. Eventually, large willow oaks will border the outside perimeter of the park and brick pavers will be installed. Dale Earnhardt Incorporated has raised a total of $47,794 for the tribute. But DEI and the city remain in negotiations over trademark issues.(Independent Tribune, plus a article at NBC 14: Kannapolis in rights dispute with DEI)(5-28-2003)
  • Blaney to be Fast and Furious? UPDATE hearing that #77-Dave Blaney may be running a 2 Fast 2 Furious paint scheme this weekend at Dover?
    UPDATE: Following career-best start/finish performances at Dover last fall for both driver and team, Dave Blaney will return to the one-mile high-banked oval this weekend with a special bright orange paint scheme on the the #77 Jasper Engines & Transmissions Ford, heralding the opening of Universal Studios’ 2 Fast 2 Furious movie in theaters June 6. The special design is part of a broad program in support of the sequel to the studios’ The Fast and The Furious, which enjoyed huge global success and helped fuel the current explosion of popularity for sport-compacts.(Jasper Motorpsorts PR), see image on my Paint Schemes Gallery(5-28-2003)
  • Third Roof Flap: NASCAR will gather information on a third roof flap during a wind-tunnel test Tuesday night near Detroit. Managing director of competition Gary Nelson showed Totally NASCAR how the additional flap operates at NASCAR’s R&D center in Concord, N.C. If the test goes well, the third roof flap could be in place before the end of the season.(Fox Sports Net’s Totally NASCAR)(5-28-2003)
  • 3rd Davis Team at Dover UPDATE nope: Bill Davis Racing will field a third [#27] Winston Cup entry at the June 1 race at Dover, Del., for its Busch series driver Scott Wimmer, team officials confirmed Saturday. BDR currently fields the #22 Caterpillar Dodges for Ward Burton and the #23 Stacker 2 Dodges for Kenny Wallace. Wimmer is scheduled to test his Cup car Monday and Tuesday at Dover.(ThatsRacin.com)(5-18-2003)
    UPDATE: No Double Duty: Wimmer will not be competing in the Winston Cup event this weekend at Dover as previously announced.. “We weren’t pleased with our results from the test, so we decided not to attempt to run this race,” said owner, Bill Davis.. “We weren’t obligated to run this race, so we elected not to do so.. We are still planning on running Scott in some Cup races this year, but we haven’t determined which ones they’ll be yet.”(Bill Davis Racing PR)(5-28-2003)
  • Petty Movie in 2004: Plans for the Disney movie on the Petty family continue. Production is expected to begin later this year with a tentative release date of late 2004.(Roanoke Times), see past news on the Petty movie on my TV/Media page.(5-28-2003)
  • A 44th car…for a moment AND more IMAX stuff: Fans who paid close attention to the grid Sunday noticed a 44th car, lined up dead last. It was a Roush Racing-provided #97 Ford, a car modified to accommodate an IMAX camera where the trunk ordinarily is. It made a handful of parade laps, then pulled off after getting all it needed for a film.(Daily Press)(5-26-2003)
    AND Newman spent Tuesday afternoon with Jimmie Johnson and the producers from IMAX Entertainment. Both drivers were asked to shoot the opening scene for IMAX’s NASCAR-related movie. The duo played fleeing moonshiners in 1940s get-up, being chased by Mike Helton and Gary Nelson.(Tom Roberts PR)(5-28-2003)
    AND II: The moonshine running scene was being filmed at Wilson Creek for a documentary on the history of NASCAR. Warner Brothers, IMAX and NASCAR are teaming up on the project to offer movie-goers and NASCAR fans a unique motion picture experience. A crew of about 35 men and women were working May 14 to shoot a scene for the 45-minute documentary, “NASCAR the IMAX Experience 3D.” The scene was filmed with a $3.5 million dollar IMAX 3-D movie camera. There are only two in the world. The camera holds three minutes of film and takes about 17 minutes to reload. It takes four men to lift the camera. Doug Hylton and Lorne Orleans are producing the 3-D film. Orleans said the Wilson Creek area was chosen because of the beautiful scenery and there are few signs of modern day life in many areas. Wincer admits he was not a race fan. He has read and studied the history and is now very knowledgeable on the history of NASCAR. The documentary does not focus on one NASCAR driver or one team. Crew members have already filmed scenes from Daytona, Martinsville, Talladega, Richmond, Michigan and California. They planned to film at the Lowe’s Motor Speedway in Charlotte and will be at Bristol in the fall. The opening of the film will be the moonshine chase. Using old model Ford cars, Steve Kelso — stunt double for Dale Earnhardt Jr. — was driving the moonshine car. In the car with Kelso was Cary Eubanks, double for Tony Stewart. Kelso use to be involved with racing. He owns 15 type NASCAR cars that are used in movies and commercials. Driving the sheriff’s car was Al Wyatt, double for Mike Helton, CEO of NASCAR. Riding with Wyatt was Danny Pearce, double for Gary Nelson, who does a lot of security for NASCAR. “NASCAR the IMAX Experience” will open in IMAX Theaters the first of next year.(Charleston Post and Courier/AP)
    AND III: Darrell Waltrip is filming a piece of the IMAX movie Wednesday afternoon at Lowe’s Motor Speedway. DW will be driving his 1985 Budweiser Chevrolet and be “retro’d out” in a Bud uniform, open face helmet and goggles.”(5-28-2003)
  • More on Kyle Busch: 18-year old Kyle Busch told Benny Parsons on Monday night’s PRN’s Fast Talk radio show the reason why he signed with Rick Hendrick and not Jack Roush (like his brother Kurt) was that Roush Racing wanted to sign him to a 9-year contract. The younger Busch said, “I just didn’t want to feel the pressure of having to sign a 9-year deal. My sports attorney said it wasn’t a good idea to do it either and so he looked at some different options.” Busch inked a 2 year deal with Hendrick to run 7 ARCA and 7 Busch Series races this season before going fulltime Busch in 2004. At the end of 2004 he’ll become a free agent, but believes he will stay with Hendrick. Busch says both organizations have first class equipment, but felt he had to make a choice based on what he felt was best for his career.(PRN’s Fast Talk)(5-28-2003)
  • Another Wallace hits the track: June 14th will be the date and the historical .363-mile Hickory Motor Speedway will be the place where 15-year-old (16 on 8/18) Stephen Wallace [Rusty’s son] will make his late model racing debut. The third generation driver has entered his Hamke Chassis Dodge (equipped with Maurice Petty-built Dodge engine) in the June 14 United Auto Racing Association (UARA) 150-lap feature at the track. “Steve’s been practicing there and he’s really getting the hang of it,” says proud father Rusty Wallace. “It’s to the point now that he’s getting around that place faster than I can. This will be a good starting point for him. We’ll see how he does there in that race and then look at the plans for the future. Unfortunately, we’ll be racing up in Michigan that weekend and it will probably be impossible to get back to Hickory to help cheer him on. He’s gonna’ be a good one and we’re proud of him.”(Tom Roberts PR)(5-28-2003)
  • Wilburn runs WoO: #2 Miller Lite crew chief Bill Wilburn participating in the A-main World of Outlaws feature on Saturday night at the short track at Lowe’s Motor Speedway (qualified 23rd and finished 18th). “I’d planned on going over and coaching Johnny on,” Bill said of driver Johnny Herrera, whose team Bill is an owner. “When we got over there, we decided to pull off the backup car and let me drive it. We had a lot of fun and guess you could say that climbing back into one of those cars is my golf game.”(Tom Roberts PR)(5-28-2003)
  • Lots of Goodies: The folks at Penske Racing raised over $3,000 during a bake sale held last Friday. The proceeds will benefit the “Friends in Needs” animal shelter in Lexington, N.C. Rain changed Ryan’s plans on attending, but five of the nine dogs from the shelter still got new homes. Penske Racing South General Manager John Erickson showed even adopted one.(Tom Roberts PR)(5-28-2003)

    (5-27-2003)

  • #48 Crew Chief fined: NASCAR officials announced today that Chad Knaus, crew chief for the #48 Lowe’s Chevy, has been fined $2,500 for rule violations on May 23 before qualifying for the Coca-Cola 600 at Lowe’s Motor Speedway (held May 25). The #48, driven by Jimmie Johnson, was in violation of Section 12-4-A in the NASCAR Winston Cup rule book (actions detrimental to stock car racing) and Section 12-4-Q (unapproved use of refrigerant near the fuel system).(NASCAR.com)(5-27-2003)
  • Gordon to test at VIR: Robby Gordon is scheduled to test the #31 Cingular Wireless Chevrolet Tuesday [today] at Virginia International Raceway in preparation for the upcoming event at Infineon Raceway.(RCR PR)(5-27-2003)
  • Mears testing at Pocono: Casey Mears is testing at Pocono Raceway on May 28 and 29 in the #77 Target Dodge. Mears is preparing for his upcoming ARCA race at Pocono.(Chip Ganassi Racing with Felix Sabates PR)(5-27-2003)
  • Connor to Dodge? hearing former #0-Jack Sprague crew chief, Dennis Connor has been hired by Ultra Motorsports to be the crew chief for Jason Leffler and the #2 Team ASE Dodge Truck Series team.(5-27-2003)
  • Coke 600 FOX Sunday Night Ratings: These are Nielsen’s numbers as reported by Mediaweek’s Programming Insider. Also, these numbers are only for the prime time portion of the race. Here’s what MotorsportsTV have on overnight ratings for Sunday night so far: NBC 7.8/14; CBS 5.6/10; FOX 5.3 / 9 ; ABC 3.1/5. Zap2it says the fast national numbers show that FOX earned a 4.9/10 for the night in prime time, with the race garnering a 4.6/10 from 7-8, a 5.2/10 from 8-9, and the final hour yielding a 4.8/8. Sunday’s 87th running of the Indianapolis 500 on ABC yielded a 5.1 overnight rating, down 4 percent from last year’s overnight number.(MotorsportsTV)(5-27-2003)
  • AOL and Cingular team up: AOL and Cingular Wireless are launching NASCAR marketing programs, according to two stories in this week’s Street & Smith’s SportsBusiness Journal. AOL plans to send an 18-wheel truck equipped with computers to allow fans to see AOL broadband features to 16 Winston Cup races, starting with Sunday’s MBNA Armed Forces Family 400 at Dover International Speedway. The internet service provider has also launched a new NASCAR home page on AOL for Broadband called “RaceTime.” Cingular, meanwhile, will send a “mobile, interactive tent” to 11 Winston Cup races. Visitors can download racing-themed ring tones and games, sample products and sign up for special rate plans.(Winston Cup Scene Daily Newsletter)(5-27-2003)

    (5-26-2003)

  • 43 Races since…: Leader bonus has been won. It’s been 43 races since the NASCAR Winston Cup points leader won a race and took home the NASCAR Winston Cup Leader Bonus. Matt Kenseth and Dale Earnhardt Jr. continue to pace the field in the battle for the Winston Cup. Entering the race at Dover, 160 points separate the two. If the winner at Dover is also the NASCAR Winston Cup points leader at the conclusion of the event, he would take home the $130,000 check, as long as Kenseth starts at Dover, he is the only driver who can leave the track leading the points. Sterling Marlin last won the award, $20,000 at Darlington on March 17, 2002, it was NOT won by #15-Waltrip at Daytona, it rolled over to Rockingham.(5-26-2003)
  • Jayski to donate: did it a few years ago, so why not again, but with a different driver, Jayski will donate $1 to Victory Junction Camp for every mile that Robby Gordon completes on Sunday in the Indy 500 and the Coca-Cola 600. Could be $1100 if he completes all, and I will toss in and extra $500 if he wins either race and $1500 if he wins both.
    Gordon finished 17th, one lap down, completing 275 [of 276] laps in the Coca-Cola 600 at Lowe’s Motor Speedway

    #27-Robby Gordon went out of the Indy 500 with a gearbox problem, completing 169 laps, Gordon finished 22nd.
    Jayski’s Donation amount for Gordon’s Indy 500 run is 169 laps x 2.5 miles = $422.50
    Jayski’s Donation amount for Gordon’s Coca-Cola 600 run is 275 laps x 1.5 miles = $412.50
    Jayski’s Total Donation amount for Gordon’s Runs = $835.00

  • Helton Comments: Give us some of the factors that led to the decision tonight to call (the Coca-Cola 600) at 414 miles: Mike Helton, NASCAR president: “Well, what we’re faced with right now… It’s 9:30pm/et, and based on the experience we had Friday, which took us a little over four hours to get the track dried under pretty hazy conditions and everything and tonight without any sun, the conditions, more weather on its way, the grounds around here have been annihilated all day long with rain and everything for fans and the policemen to help get the traffic out. If we’d had no rain the rest of the night — although there’s more forecasted — it would take us at least three hours, and that’s 12:30am/et getting started back. Enough’s enough, and we would have loved to have gotten all 600 miles in and had a great race at the finish, but sometimes it just doesn’t work out right.(from a Q&A at FoxSports)(5-26-2003)
  • Huh? #97-Kurt Busch’s crew chief, Jimmy Fenning, felt Earnhardt got a favorable call from NASCAR when his car began trailing smoke. ”What makes me the maddest is not the is not the rain but the fact that NASCAR let the 8 [Earnhardt] car stay out there, knowing he was going to blow a motor and didn’t black-flag him and bring him in.”(Tennessean); Engine? Earnhardt Jr had brake problems, came in right after hitting the wall, heard nothing about an engine problem.
    AND Before the big trouble developed, Earnhardt’s team had problems in the pits, losing time because of difficulties changing lug nuts. He also was penalized later for pitting too soon. Earnhardt also was blamed for problems experienced by Kurt Busch, who hit the wall behind Earnhardt. “It seems like every time we come here to Charlotte and Las Vegas we get the bad calls,” Busch said. “The 8 (Earnhardt) was riding around with his rear brakes locked up, and he broke a rotor. I think NASCAR should have black-flagged him earlier, but that’s their call. We ran over the rotor, smacked the wall and cut a tire. Then they didn’t clean the track again, so we cut another tire. It’s just always something here, and they shouldn’t have called the race so early.”(Greenville News)(5-26-2003)
  • Lowe’s extends with Johnson/Hendrick: Lowe’s, primary sponsor of the #48 Chevy, announced today it signed a five-year contract extension with car co-owners Rick Hendrick and Jeff Gordon. Hendrick Motorsports also extended the contracts of driver Jimmie Johnson and crew chief Chad Knaus, keeping what is already regarded as one of the best driver/crew chief combinations together for at least another five years. “Jimmie’s on-track performance over the past year has helped Lowe’s become one of the most recognizable sponsors in NASCAR,” said Dale Pond, Lowe’s senior executive vice president of merchandising/marketing. “The team’s performance, dedication and determination exemplify the team spirit Lowe’s employees feel as they work together to serve our customers every day.” In addition to sponsoring the #48 Lowe’s Chevy, the company also has naming rights to Lowe’s Motor Speedway in Concord, NC. Last season, Johnson’s on-track success translated into Team Lowe’s Racing becoming one of NASCAR’s largest fan clubs. Lowe’s also ranked second in sponsorship exposure value compared to all other major NASCAR sponsors. Based in Wilkesboro, N.C., the 57-year old company is the second-largest home improvement retailer in the world. For more information, visit Lowes.com.(Golin Harris PR)(5-26-2003)
  • Huge Deal for Dale Jr: Garage sources say Budweiser, Junior’s primary sponsor, has re-signed him to a three-year deal that will pay Dale Earnhardt Inc. $18 million in 2004, $20 million 2005 and $22 million in 2006. That’s a chunk of change, but Budweiser will get some of it back—30 percent of a driver’s souvenir sales generally goes to the sponsor.(Sporting News)(5-26-2003)
  • Stooges schemes? UPDATE: Michael Waltrip will run a Three Stooges scheme in a Busch Series race.(2-28-2003)
    UPDATE: and #7-Jimmy Spencer will run a Three Stooges 75th Anniversary scheme, not sure where. See images on my Cup page and my Busch page.(5-26-2003)
  • Some Folks Surprised Race Was Called: Matt Kenseth couldn’t understand why NASCAR decided to call the Coca-Cola 600 short of its advertised distance. Bobby Labonte wondered the same thing. Even winner Jimmie Johnson was surprised when NASCAR ended the race 124 laps early. Johnson was walking to the sanctioning body’s hauler in the garage area when NASCAR officials started shaking his hand. “You know, I’m happy finishing second, but I’m certainly not happy calling the race at 9:30 at night,” said Kenseth, who finished second. Bill Wilburn, Rusty Wallace’s crew chief, went a step further. “We can spend an extra day to get qualified,” Wilburn said, “but we can’t wait another 15 minutes to see if we can get this race in? I feel like I’ve been cheated.” NASCAR spokesman Mike Zizzo said that even though it wasn’t raining when the race was called, rain was on the way. Plus, the track would have taken three hours to dry, Zizzo said, which would have put the race restarting at 12:30am/et Monday morning.(NASCAR.com)
    AND The decision to close the show did not go over well with fans, who booed and jeered loudly, and a number of drivers who never had a chance to chase down Johnson.(Orlando Sentinel)(5-26-2003)
  • Been Asked about the Rookie Stripe: Numerous questions have arose lately regarding the yellow stripe on the rear bumper of a car driven by a rookie driver. Busch Driver Mike Bliss has completed a season on the Winston Cup Circuit and participated in their Rookie of the Year award, this makes him ineligible for the Busch Series Rookie of the Year in 2003. However, NASCAR is requiring Bliss [and other’s such as Brian Vickers at Nazareth] to run the yellow stripe at any track where he has not competed at before.(Insider Racing News)(5-26-2003)
  • Ford after Young Talent: Ford’s Dan Davis says he’s always on the lookout for new, young driving talent. So he’s signed up Matt Martin, Mark’s nine-year-old son. ‘He’ll get this nice blue Ford oval for his helmet,’ the Ford racing boss said with a laugh. But of course it’s not really a joke — it’s good business. The younger Martin becomes part of a Ford marketing program aimed at other pre-teens. And Matt has been racing quite a while already. ‘You’ve got kids who start racing when they’re five years old, and by the time they’re 20, they’ve got 15 years of experience, and they’re very good, very skilled,’ Davis said. ‘I think it’s great. One example is a Canadian girl who’s shown some promise. She’s 13, and she’s shown a lot of promise, beating the 15- and 16-year old guys. And we’re going to have her do a full-blown test to get an assessment of her skills. If that’s a positive experience, we’ll have to put a program together and move her through the various levels.'(Winston Salem Journal)(5-26-2003)
  • Boris Said in the #01 at Sonoma? Rumors are that Boris Said will be in the #01 US Army Pontiac at Infineon Raceway, since he’s known as a road racing specialist and has worked with Ryan Pemberton in years past [with Jasper Motorsports]. Currently Said is serving a 45 day suspension in the Trans-Am Series.(Insider Racing News)(5-26-2003)
  • G-force Sensor: The Indy Racing League tested a new g-force sensor that drivers wore as part of their ear plugs in the Indianapolis 500. The sensor is expected to provide a more accurate reading of the impact of a crash to a driver’s body. Technical director Gary Nelson says NASCAR is looking at testing a similar device.(Sporting News)(5-26-2003)
  • Sponsor Issues: NASCAR officials, working on possible new series sponsors for the Winston Cup tour, have run into a few unexpected roadblocks: at least one of the potential new sponsors (reported to be a telecommunications operation, such as Motorola or Nextel) is reported to be having second thoughts about taking NASCAR’s offer after learning that it would not have exclusivity in the sport. R.J. Reynolds’ Winston brand has had that exclusivity, if not on contract at least at the behest of Daytona executives, and tobacco rivals were kept out (except for smokeless U.S. Tobacco). Any telecommunications sponsor would find a couple of corporate rivals already here, Cingular and Alltel, backing heavyweight car owners Richard Childress and Roger Penske. Regardless of what happens to the anticipated change in the Winston Cup series sponsorship next season, it appears that Visa will become not just a major sponsor on the NASCAR tour but also the only credit card that can be used at the Winston Cup tour’s speedways, according to sources.(Winston Salem Journal)(5-26-2003)
  • Find Nemo Scheme: #5-Terry Labonte will run a ‘Finding Nemo’ paint scheme at Dover on June 1st, to help promote the movie which opens May 30th, See images of the scheme on my Paint Scheme Gallery.(5-26-2003)

 


(5-25-2003)

 

  • The Coca-Cola 600 has been called – Jimmie Johnson has been declared the winner: after 276 of 400 laps, the Coca-Cola 600 at Lowe’s Motor Speedway was called due to a wet track and threatening weather in the Concord, NC area. #48-Jimmie Johnson is the winner of the race, winning his first race of 2003 and 4th of his career, the win puts him into the 2004 The Winston (or whatever it will be called, if they have it). Johnson is the fifth ever to win both the Winston and the Coca-Cola 600. Johnson is also the 7th driver to ever win from a provisional starting spot (see the list of all the previous winners from 35th or worse on my Stats Menu and Links page), his OFFICIAL starting spot was 37th, even though he had to fall to 42nd before the drop of the green flag, #31-Robby Gordon started 43rd. It was Johnson’s first win since Spet 2002, 19 races ago. #17-Matt Kenseth ended up 2nd and increases his points lead to 160 over #8-Dale Earnhardt Jr, who had brake problems and finished 41st. It is only the third time the Coca-Cola 600 had been shotened due to rain. See my Coca-Cola 600 Race Info Page for my race rundown as it happened, lap leaders, DNF’s, cautions and many notes.
    Race Results at Jayski – Coca Cola 600 Results and Driver/Owners Points after Charlotte, also at:
    ThatsRacin.com
    NASCAR.com – official
    MotorsportsOne(5-25-2003)
  • Elliott having tough time braking; may use a sub at Sonoma: #9-Bill Elliott will start 32nd in the race with three broken bones on the top of his left foot and a broken toe, and he admits that the injury is causing him some problems. “It’s not hurting me,” Elliott said. “I’ve just got to figure out how to brake correctly with this new deal. …We’ll just see how it goes.” The new deal Elliott referred to is a carbon-fiber brace his team has fashioned for him, aimed at keeping him from bending the foot and, potentially, doing further damage that might require surgery, team owner Ray Evernham said. “He really can’t feel how much pressure he’s putting on the brake,” Evernham said. “He felt bad about qualifying because he really couldn’t get his rhythm.” Evernham said his biggest worry is how much pain Elliott will feel over the course of a 600-mile race. “Six hundred miles’ worth of vibration in one of these cars going through broken bones is going to be a lot of pain,” Evernham said. “Bill’s got a touch of the flu, too. It has not been a great week for the No. 9 bunch.” Ted Musgrave will be on stand-by in case Elliott needs a relief driver during the 600.(ThatsRacin.com)
    Although Bill Elliott said his left foot isn’t hurting, he’s walking with a severe limp. Elliott suffered three broken bones in his left foot in a crash at The Winston last weekend. Car owner Ray Evernham said the injury could take at least four weeks to heal. Evernham said the team has talked about possibly using another driver when the series heads to the road course in Sonoma, Calif., next month. Elliott might need a substitute at the road course because of all the braking and shifting.(Roanoke Times)(5-25-2003)
  • Gordon makes it to the track on time: There was a ban on helicopters in and out of Indianapolis Motor Speedway and at Lowe’s Motor Speedway on Sunday with one exception. Medical helicopters were allowed to fly so Robby Gordon was brought into Lowe’s on a medical helicopter and will be at the speedway in time for driver introductions.(Insider Racing News)(5-25-2003)
  • Fly Over UPDATE: there was a fly over at the Indy 500 today by a B-2 Bomber, so maybe there will be one at the Coca-Cola 600 also…It was reported a few days ago there would be no fly over due to FAA security restrictions.
    UPDATE: the Air Force Thunderbird’s will do two fly over’s, as will a B-2 bomber and the Army parachuters too.(XM Satellite- NASCAR Radio – Subscription Required)(5-25-2003)


    (5-24-2003)

  • Memorial campground honoring Kenny Irwin opened on Saturday: The parents of NASCAR driver Kenny Irwin Jr., who was killed nearly three years ago, plan to open a campground for underprivileged children in his memory. Kenny and Reva Irwin were scheduled to open the campground this weekend in Henry County, about 40 miles northeast of Indianapolis, IN. Irwin, an Indianapolis native and the 1998 Winston Cup Rookie of the Year, was killed July 7, 2000, in a crash during practice at the New Hampshire Speedway in Louden, N.H., less than a month before his 31st birthday. “We were going to build it in North Carolina,” Reva Irwin said. “But when we found this place, we were led to put it here.” The 27-acre property has a new lodge and recreation hall, new rest rooms and showers, and a new swimming pool. It has been open since April 4, but grand opening ceremonies were scheduled for Saturday. Primitive camping and trailer sites and cabins are available. A bunkhouse for 40 children is also under construction. A 6-acre stocked lake provides fishing, paddle boating and canoeing. Irwin said the 19 months spent rebuilding the camp has been therapeutic for her and her husband. “It took a lot more work than we thought,” Irwin said. “We’re glad we’re finally open.”(Miami Herald/AP), also see articles at the Courier Times [IN]: Deceased NASCAR driver’s parents dare to dream and Camp’s grand opening celebration is May 24 and check out the Kenny Irwin Jr Foundation Site.(5-24-2003)

  • Penske has both poles for Sunday’s races: #12-Ryan Newman won the pole for the Coca-Cola 600 at Lowe’s Motor Speedway, giving Penske Racing both poles in Sunday’s races, the other being the Indy 500. Newman won the pole with a speed of 185.312mph, Helio Castroneves is on the pole for the Indy 500 with a speed slightly faster then Newman’s: 231.725mph.(5-24-2003)
  • NASCAR gaining in race with fraud: Bogus racing souvenirs, from decals commemorating Dale Earnhardt’s death to drink holders with numbers of popular drivers, just won’t go away. Coordinated efforts have reduced the supply of counterfeit goods in recent years. But Lowe’s Motor Speedway officials say a handful of hawkers selling knock-off T-shirts have been stopped outside the track in the week leading up to Sunday’s Coca-Cola 600 race. Lowe’s is fighting back by offering its own less expensive T-shirts to crowds leaving the track — the prime targets of counterfeiters. The $10 shirt matches the price of most knock-offs. Official shirts sold inside the track cost about $20.
    Tips for telling real racing memorabilia from fake:
    • Search for official licenses on logos and tags.
    • Examine the number. If it doesn’t look exactly like it does on the car, it’s a knock-off.
    • Look at the quality of items. If you think it looks or feels cheap, it’s probably a fake.
    • Decals not mounted on cards, and those without bar codes are bogus.(Charlotte Observer)(5-24-2003)
  • Winston a Poor predictor for the 600: Although The Winston and the Coca-Cola 600 are held at the same track, the events could not be more dissimilar. Perhaps that’s why drivers have seldom been successful in both races in the same year. Over the last 10 years, the Winston winner has had a 12.8 average finish in the 600. The winners of the 600 have had an averaged finish of 11.8 in The Winston. The 2000 winner of the 600, Matt Kenseth, didn’t even compete in The Winston.(Gaston Gazette)(5-24-2003)
  • Newman Accepts Blame for Winston: After watching replays of his wreck in The Winston last week, #12-Ryan Newman admitted yesterday he lost control of his Dodge. He initially blamed Tony Stewart for the crash. “I went up to Tony and said, ‘I had to blame it on somebody,’ ” Newman said. “He said ‘I was 4 feet behind me.’ I said, ‘I know, it’s still your fault.’ . . . It was obviously my fault.”(Richmond Times Dispatch)(5-24-2003)
  • Stewart in MIS Busch race: In a several-sided arrangment in which everyone presumably gets something, Tony Stewart will make a cameo in Busch at Michigan in August, in one of Dale Earnhardt Jr.’s Chance 2 cars (co-owned with Teresa Earnhardt) and in collaboration with 3 Doors Down, a rock band on the Republic/Universal Label, and ubiquitous Action Performance, whose best property at present is Earnhardt Jr. Pictures of the show car, which is orange, has pictures of the band members on it, carries the #8, and has the nickname “Smoke” above the door are available, as are the toy cars and other trinkets, from Action outlets. “Action Performance is the exclusive supplier of all Chance 2 Motorsports team replica collectibles, including the 3 Doors Down race car,” the release said.(Speed Channel), see image and past news on my Jayski’s® Silly Season Site – Paint Scheme Gallery.(5-24-2003)
  • Lepage Gets Yates Power – and makes the race: The long shot story of the day went to #71-Kevin Lepage, who until last Tuesday didn’t know if he had a motor for his Taurus. “We worked hard all week long trying to find a motor, but everytime we turned around there was a door closed,” said Lepage of his struggle to make the field for Sunday’s Coke 600. “I called Doug Yates late on Tuesday afternoon and told him I needed a motor to go to the 600. He just told me to come on down and said they had one for me. I can’t say enough for the guys with the CLR team and all the crew we picked-up, including a couple of the guys that work full-time for me,” added Lepage, who is looking for a sponsor fit for a car that qualified 27th, today. “Fast Boys Wings, they’re the only ones that have stepped up so far to help me out. It’s a small amount, but it’s a big help to me and a big amount in my pocket. If there’s somebody else out there that wants their name on the quarterpanel for the 600, we’ve got room because, right now, we need to try and find some tire money.”(Team Ford Racing)(5-24-2003)
  • Newell-Rubbermaid extends with Roush UPDATE: Newell-Rubbermaid has extended it’s sponsorship of the #97 Roush Racing Ford and driver Kurt Busch and formed an alliance with Kyle Petty’s Victory Junction Camp thru it’s Blue Ice Sharpie program. The renewal is multi-year.(XM Satellite- NASCAR Radio – Subscription Required)(5-23-2003)
    UPDATE: Newell Rubbermaid, along with Roush Racing officials and NASCAR Winston Cup star Kurt Busch, announced today that Newell Rubbermaid would continue as the primary sponsor of the #97 Ford, extending a multi-year primary sponsorship agreement. In addition, Newell Rubbermaid also announced, through its Blue Ice brand, an alliance with the Victory Junction Gang Camp, a proud charity of NASCAR founded by Kyle and Pattie Petty, which is scheduled to open in June of 2004. Newell Rubbermaid is represented on Busch’s red, silver and black car in 2003 by a number of the company’s brands, including: Rubbermaid, Sharpie, Irwin Industrial Tools, Little Tikes, Graco, BernzOmatic, Lenox, Levolor, Ace, Shur-Line and Rubbermaid Commercial Products. Busch will pilot a “Blue Ice” special paint scheme in Sunday’s race at Lowe’s Motor Speedway, which ties in nicely with the Victory Junction Gang Camp endeavor. Not only did Newell Rubbermaid give Victory Junction Gang Camp a donation towards the camp building effort, but also made a commitment to give 1,000 “Keeping it Cool” kits to the camp each summer from 2004-2006. Each camper attending the camp’s summer session will receive a kit, including a cooler, water bottle and a Blue Ice blanket.(Roush Racing PR)(5-24-2003)
  • Two more to go for Roush: Kurt Busch won’t have to worry about sponsorship for a few years after Newell/Rubbermaid and Roush Racing announced a multi-year contract extension, this week. The extension, which is for an undisclosed term and dollar figure, will keep Busch with the sponsor that brought him Cup racing. This is the second multi-year team sponsorships put to bed in recent weeks by Roush Racing. First came DeWalt for Matt Kenseth’s car. Two Roush teams, however, still need sponsorships cemented beyond this year — Mark Martin’s and Jeff Burton’s. Roush Racing President Geoff Smith told TFR that in both cases the talks with Pfizer (Martin) and Citgo (Burton) are “beyond the money stage”, but still in process.(Team Ford Racing), plus the two Truck Series teams need sponsors.(5-24-2003)
  • Skinner Speaks: Recently, Mike Skinner, driver of the #4 Kodak Pontiac, met with team owner Larry McClure to give the team a communication grade. Skinner said it was a “D.” “It’s just communication and getting the right setup under the car,” Skinner said. “Either I’m saying the wrong things or they are hearing the wrong things, and we’re really working on that.” After talking with McClure, Skinner, crew chief Chris Carrier and the rest of the team’s leadership got together. Skinner insisted that while he can help with the setup of the car, his main focus is drive and provide proper feedback. It’s the crew’s job to make the right decisions on the setup.(NASCAR.com), also during Speed Channel’s coverage of Coca-Cola 600 qualifying, it was reported that former crew chief, Tim Brewer, was working with the team as a consultant.(5-24-2003)
  • Increased Security May Delay Gordon’s Travel on Sunday: Recent increased national security has thrown into limbo Robby Gordon’s plans for transportation between Indianapolis Motor Speedway and Lowe’s Motor Speedway Sunday for the Double. At the moment, the FAA has banned any helicopter flights into and out of either speedway for one hour before and after the race. As a result, plans are being made for Gordon to golf cart out of Indianapolis Motor Speedway via a police escort to his rental car parked nearby, from where he will continue to the Indianapolis airport with the police escort. He will fly from Indianapolis to the Concord airport, where he will jump into a van led by a police escort into Lowe’s Motor Speedway. Final plans will not be determined until Sunday morning. Gordon will practice the #31 Cingular Wireless Chevy Saturday at Lowe’s Motor Speedway and then host a Double Duty fans’ barbecue dinner at Team Gordon before departing Concord for Indianapolis at 6:30pm/et Saturday.(RCR PR)(5-24-2003)
  • Flyers for Gordon: Charlotte-based Jacobsen is a recently formed company with a rapidly rising profile on the local pro sports scene. Race-car driver Robby Gordon — in need of fast, convenient transportation this weekend — flew from Concord Regional Airport to Indianapolis early Thursday in a jet provided by Jacobsen President Jon Carlson, a friend from their Lake Norman-area neighborhood. And Jacobsen’s products — turf-care equipment used primarily for golf courses and sports fields — maintained the Quail Hollow Club’s layout this month for the PGA Tour’s Wachovia Championship. Gordon can use Jacobsen’s help. For a second straight year, Gordon is driving in both the Indianapolis 500 and the Coca-Cola 600 on Sunday. Carlson helped out by going to Jacobsen parent company Textron’s two other brands, Cessna Aircraft and Bell Helicopter. The jets will transport Gordon between Concord and Indianapolis; the choppers from the airports to the tracks’ infields. “I don’t know if it would be possible to do both races without the transportation worked out this way,” said Gordon, who flew on Richard Childress Racing aircraft and had to rent helicopters last year. “Being able to bounce back and forth like this makes my job a lot easier.” Gordon, who will start on the outside front row at Indy, flew to Indianapolis for practice Thursday and returned the same day. He’ll go back Saturday night, run the 500 at 11 a.m. Sunday, then be back at Lowe’s Motor Speedway for the 600’s 5:30 p.m. start. Carlson said Jacobsen might get involved with NASCAR in a more formal way in the future. “A lot of our customers and employees really identify with and enjoy the sport,” said Carlson. “It’s something we’re looking at.”(Charlotte Observer)(5-24-2003)
  • Brooke Says Racing Is Safe: In a court filing in her divorce suit, Brooke Gordon says her husband, Jeff, is not entitled to more than 50 percent of their marital assets because his job is a safe one. “Husband’s contention that his voluntary occupation as a NASCAR race driver should entitle him to more than 50 percent of the net assets … is not only legally but also factually unwarranted,” said the filing posted Friday on the Web site thesmokinggun.com. “Moreover, NASCAR is safer … than the husband contends.” The filing cites U.S. Department of Labor statistics and other sources listing occupations in such industries as construction and commercial fishing as being more dangerous and saying that workers in those occupations have not been awarded larger portions of marital estates in Florida.(ThatsRacin.com)(5-24-2003)
  • Stewart against banking: Winston Cup champion Tony Stewart, who has won two of the four Cup races at Homestead Miami Speedway, says the upcoming project to add banking to the flat track is unnecessary. “We ran two and three wide at times down there last year,” Stewart said. “I don’t understand track owners. They always have to copy somebody else’s place, and they think they have to reinvent the wheel.”(Atlanta Journal-Constitution)(5-24-2003)
  • Sponsor Hunting: America’s Most Wanted/Body Dynamics Motorsports have been searching for a primary sponsor for the remainder of the 2003 racing season, but recently the evaluated the current economic position that corporations are finding themselves in these days and they have decided to offer limited schedule sponsorship packages for sponsors who want to utilize the NASCAR market, but do not have the Millions needed to do so.  “We know that there are corporations out there that would love the opportunity to test the market of NASCAR but fear they do not have the millions necessary to sponsor a team for a full schedule and do not want to waste their,” stated Scott Davis, Director of Motorsports Affairs, “We have a tremendous opportunity to offer to a corporate sponsor, we have a championship quality team, facility and overall organization,” continued Davis “We can offer a no risk proposition, with our multi million dollar international media campaign, so a sponsor can experience on and off track success with a guaranteed return on their invested dollar.”(more info at bodydynamicsracing.com, while at the site, check out their webcams of the shop)(5-24-2003)
  • New Handicapped Racing League Formed – Bobby Allison To Be Spokesperson: George White, long time crew member for Bobby Allison and President of Speedway Safety Equipment and High Tech Mobility has announced the formation of a racing league geared entirely for the handicapped racers. “This is a civil liberties issue,” stated White. “Several drivers have shown a great deal of interest in this venture and with diversity in racing being such a hot topic, we feel the time is right to give these racers a chance at enhancing their skills and providing them with the chance to realize their dreams.” The International Handicapped Racer’s League, or IHRL, is in it’s early stages of development and has hopes of initially obtain four to five older NASCAR Busch or Winston Cup cars to rebuild and equip each with the hand controls needed. The idea is to outfit the cars with the needed controls while allowing for each team to build and maintain the engines. The IHRL will address all safety issues dealing with their cars and will have it’s own safety committee to coordinate those specific safety issues. Speedway Safety Equipment has personally designed specially adapted head and neck restraints and specially designed body restraints in combination with seats designed by NASCAR legend Brian Butler. It is note worthy that Jerry Nadeau’s car was fitted with Butler seats which aided Nadeau in surviving one of the most violent side impacts ever recorded in NASCAR’s history. Legendary racer Bobby Allison, who personally understands devastating crash injuries, has agreed to be IHRL’s national spokesperson. Exhibition style races, 25 laps or so, is the current planned format much like IROC races. This will not only provide exciting competition for the drivers and fans alike, but, will assist as a stepping stone for these drivers to move into other racing series. Ray Paprotta, a paraplegic driver from Alabama, will be a one of the drivers in the IHRL. Ray has competed in two Goody’s Dash events this season as a teammate to Danny Bagwell. Goody’s Dash fans have welcomed Paprotta with open arms, giving him standing ovations at driver introductions. Paprotta has plans to compete in at least two additional Dash events this season. More info and contact info – email/phone at Catchfence.(5-24-2003)
  • Ramblings – Lowe’s Motor Speedway: Ryan Newman nabbed his 3rd pole of the season today (breaking a tie for the top-spot in that contingency with Bobby Labonte) in rain-delayed fashion at Lowe’s Motor Speedway. About 20 hours later than expected, Ryan fashioned a lap of 29.140 seconds(185.312 mph) to garner his 10th career Uecker seat.
    #4-Mike Skinner (3rd) has his best starting spot since he lined up on the outside pole at Loudon last July.
    #0-Jack Sprague (5th) has his career-best starting spot. His previous best was 12th (twice), the most recent of those at Fontana in April.
    #77-Dave Blaney (8th) has his best starting spot since he started from the pole at Rockingham in February.
    #10-Johnny Benson (10th) has his best starting spot since he grabbed the outside pole at Rockingham in February.
    #14-Larry Foyt (29th) has his career-best starting spot this weekend. His previous best was a 31st place qualifying effort at Las Vegas in March.
    STREAKIN…..Ryan Newman has 10 Top-10 starts in a row. Jeff Gordon has 7 Top-10 starts in the last 8 races. Joe Nemechek has 5 Top-10 starts in the last 6 races.(Stock Car Fans Newsletter)(5-24-2003)


    (5-23-2003)

  • 48G’s for Elliott: it was reported during Speed Channel’s Cup Qualifying coverage that #9-Bill Elliott’s Dodge took a 48-G hit in the accident during the Winston in which Elliott broke 3 bones in his left foot.(5-23-2003)
  • Carbon-monoxide Catalyst gets NASCAR’s approval: NASCAR officials on Friday approved a catalyst component for use in its Winston Cup, Busch and Trucks series to reduce carbon monoxide emissions. The device, which has been one of the top projects at NASCAR’s research and development center, is optional for teams but may be used in this weekend’s Busch and Cup races at Lowe’s Motor Speedway. Gary Nelson, the managing director of competition, led an expert study group to devise the catalyst, which has shown to reduce carbon monoxide levels by as much as 75 percent. “Experts concluded the levels of carbon monoxide were not at an alarming level, but we wanted to ensure our drivers of the best possible environment to compete in,” Nelson said. A prototype device was used by Winston Cup driver Tony Stewart at last month’s race at Martinsville, Va., and additional tests were made at California and Richmond. The new component costs about $400 and takes less than two hours to install.(ThatsRacin.com)(5-23-2003)
  • Cope gets an assoc for Lowe’s and Dover: NextStudent has extended their sponsorship of Derrike Cope to be an associate sponsor of #37-Derrike Cope in The Coca-Cola 600 and at Dover next week. The deal was coordinated by Player Management International and was completed Thursday afternoon. NextStudent provides students and their families one-on-one education finance counseling. They offer education-funding opportunities ranging from scholarships and grants to low-cost federal and private aid. They work closely with financial aid professionals, ensuring timely, accurate flow and delivery of their students’ financial aid packages through funding. NextStudent makes college funding simple. NextStudent offers reliable service that’s convenient and easy to use. You can learn more by visiting www.nextstudent.com or by calling (800) 799-7349.(PR)(5-23-2003)
  • Gordon 2nd fastest at Indy 500 Carb Day: Kenny Brack, who’ll start Sunday’s Indianapolis 500 from the outside of the second row, and Robby Gordon, who’ll start directly in front of him, ran the fastest laps in the final practice session Thursday. Sweden’s Brack, who won the 1999 race when Gordon had to pit for fuel with two laps remaining, turned a fast lap of 228.707 mph during the two-hour Carburetion Day practice. Brack is one of two drivers for former winner Bobby Rahal. Gordon, one of four drivers for the Andretti Green team, had a circuit at 227.850 mph. Gordon turned a few laps before flying to Charlotte, N.C., to qualify for Sunday’s World 600. He’ll race in the Indy 500, where he’ll be among the favorites, and then drive in the 600 the same day. Gordon will remaining in North Carolina for practice today and fly to Indianapolis tonight, accompanied by 200 fans who will watch both races. He anticipates arriving back at the Carolina track about 20 minutes before Sunday night’s race there. “Our main focus today was just making sure the car shifted gears, the aero balance was right and the gearing was right,” Gordon said. “The car feels very good and I’m very confident.”(Hoosier Herald Times)(5-23-2003)
  • Track Drying – Five Jet Dryers – and The Trak Vak: Lowe’s Motor Speedway officials are more than ready to battle the wet track conditions when the rain finally starts to taper off, which is expected sometime this afternoon. The speedway has five jet dryers on hand to speed the drying efforts — which will be at a premium considering Coca-Cola 600 qualifying was washed out on Thursday and had to be moved to 1:00pm/et today. Time trials for the Busch Series will held at the track today as well, followed by the ARCA race. The jet dryers run at a speed of one-and-a-half miles per hour, and it takes those five jet dryers one hour to make a complete lap around the 1-5-mile tri-oval. The track will take roughly two hours to dry. In addition to the five jet dryers, there is an additional vehicle to help the speedway’s efforts. The Trak Vak, first used at Texas Motor Speedway in March, will also bee on the track when the rain stops. Trak Vak utilizes the ability to remove water from damp surfaces. The Trak Vak was invented by Texas resident George Carter. The dually truck chassis features a 27-horsepower motor powering a large vacuum with 12 pickup points located behind the vehicle’s rear tires. The diesel-powered vehicle is designed to operate at 60 mph, allowing it to remove water at a faster rate. “Our theory is to pick up as much water as possible,” Carter said. “Jet blowers attempts to evaporate the water from the surface. Our goal it to actually remove the water.”(Independent Tribune)(5-23-2003)
  • Floods close down campgrounds in Concord/Charlotte: The abundance of rain is not only postponing race events; it is also preventing some fans from having a place to camp out. Lower Lot 40 at Lowe’s Motor Speedway is one of several campground lots where standing water and mud have washed out some campers. Without the help of four-wheel drive, most vehicles cannot make it through the lots, forcing management them down.(New 14 Carolina)(5-23-2003)
  • Street to re-named? West First Street in downtown Charlotte will be renamed Victory Lane for Coca-Cola 600 weekend, and the change could become permanent as part of a plan to put a racing-themed attraction in center city. The mayor’s office and the Charlotte Regional Sports Commission presented an initial concept to transform West First Street between South Tryon and Mint streets into a tourist destination honoring past and present NASCAR drivers with a walk of fame and personalized tributes. The Victory Lane concept comes from a committee of the Winston All-Star Team, formed last year to generate excitement for NASCAR and The Winston all-star race.(ThatsRacin.com)(5-23-2003)

    (5-22-2003)

  • Then why does the second-place finisher in a NASCAR race sometimes take home more money than the winner? I get asked this often [and answer it the best I can on my FAQ Racing Page], Lee Spencer of the Sporting News answers it and gives an example: It’s all about the money.(5-22-2003)
  • Rock n’ Roll at Richmond in Sept UPDATE 2: #8-Dale Earnhardt Jr. featuring the band Staind; #20-Tony Stewart featuring the band Diamond Rio; #15-Michael Waltrip featuring the band Hootie & The Blow Fish; will run at Richmond in Sept. Supposedly the “Chevy Rocks” program is said to be similar to the Looney Tunes program ran at Richmond the last couple of years in that it will include many Chevy teams from Cup and maybe some Busch and Truck Series.(4-25-2003)
    UPDATE: add Busch driver #2 Ron Hornaday with the band Trapt and #30 Steve Park (sure is weird not putting #1) with Third Eye Blind.(5-16-2003)
    UPDATE 2: Warner Music Group (WMG), Chevrolet and Action Performance Companies, Inc. announced today that some of the hottest names in music and NASCAR will team up for the Chevy Rock & Roll 400 NASCARâ Winston Cup Series race on Saturday, September 6 “under the lights” at Richmond International Raceway. The campaign kicked off today in the Chevrolet Rock & Roll Tour at Charlotte’s Food Lion Speed Street festival and featured a performance by Elektra Recording artists Third Eye Blind and appearances from NASCAR drivers #8-Dale Earnhardt Jr., #15-Michael Waltrip and #25-Joe Nemechek (with Uncle Kracker). In addition, representatives from WMG, Chevrolet, Richmond International Raceway and Action Performance unveiled the official Chevy Rock & Roll 400 pace car and event logo. Steve Park and his #30 AOL Chevrolet show car featuring Third Eye Blind were also on hand for the announcement.(RIR PR), see full PR and images of the #8, #15, #25, #30 on my Paint Scheme Gallery page, also, #29-Kevin Harvick is part of the program and will be paired with the band ZZ Top.(5-22-2003)
  • Georgia-Pacific Joins Petty Ride: Georgia-Pacific Corp. today announced that the company will be the presenting sponsor of the 2003 Kyle Petty Charity Ride Across America to benefit the Victory Junction Gang Camp for kids. The week-long motorcycle ride begins June 22 in Palm Springs, Calif., and concludes June 29 in Daytona Beach. To celebrate the ninth anniversary of this cross-country motorcycle trek, Petty’s #45 Georgia-Pacific Dodge will sport a different look for the Winston Cup race at Infineon Raceway in Sonoma, CA. Petty’s car will carry a special paint scheme designed by famed NASCAR artist Sam Bass and featuring the colors of the 2003 Kyle Petty Charity Ride Across America presented by Georgia-Pacific. Bass created the overall look for this year’s event, including the design for the Victory motorcycle that Petty will ride during the 2003 Charity Ride. Speed Channel will document the 2003 Charity Ride for an hour-long special to air later this summer. Speed Channel cameras will travel cross-country with the riders, giving fans an in-depth look at one of racing’s biggest charity events. Joining Georgia-Pacific as corporate partners of the 2003 Charity Ride are Victory Motorcycles, Coca-Cola and Daytona Harley-Davidson.(Three Wide Marketing PR), more info on the ride on my Racing Charities page, for image of the scheme, see my 2003 Winston Cup Paint Schemes.(5-22-2003)
  • BACE Motorsports News: BACE Motorsports announced today a joining of forces with America’s Second Harvest, the largest domestic hunger-relief charity in the United States, in recognition of National Hunger Awareness Day (NHAD) on June 5, 2003. Driver Tony Raines and team owner Bill Baumgardner joined America’s Second Harvest volunteers at the Second Harvest Foodbank of Metrolina Thursday afternoon to unveil the graphic scheme that Raines’ #74 Winston Cup car will sport at Dover International Speedway on June 1 in support of National Hunger Awareness Day. BACE has enlisted Tombstone Pizza in an effort to directly combat the hunger issue in conjunction with the Dover race event. In recognition of the 100th anniversary of parent company Kraft Foods, Tombstone Pizza will donate 100 pizza slices for every lap Raines completes in the 400 lap race. The first installment of the “Monster Meals” program will tally 40,000 servings when Raines takes the checkered flag at Dover’s Monster Mile, and provide a challenge to America’s race fans to act locally to support one of the 216 Hunger Relief organizations in their hometown that is served by the America’s Second Harvest network. In 2002, National Hunger Awareness Day was brought to the forefront of the America’s Second Harvest effort to raise awareness of the burden hunger puts on millions of American families. This year, in addition to the efforts by a multitude of corporate partners, more than 2000 food banks and food rescue organizations and their agencies will host public events. These events will spotlight the vast network of hunger-relief agencies that make up America’s Second Harvest more than 200 affiliated food banks and food rescue organizations, 50,000 agencies and more than 70,000 food service programs. For more information, visit the web site at www.secondharvest.org.(BACE Motorsports PR) see an image of the car on my 2003 Winston Cup Paint Schemes(5-22-2003)
  • Dale Jr Leads Most Popular Vote: #8-Dale Earnhardt Jr. continues to lead the nationwide fan balloting for the 2003 Grands! Biscuits NMPA NASCAR Most Popular Driver Award. With more than 700,000 votes in to date, Earnhardt Jr. leads second-place #24-Jeff Gordon, third-place #29-Kevin Harvick and fourth-place #20-Tony Stewart. Rounding out the top 10 are #30-Steve Park, #6-Mark Martin, #15-Michael Waltrip, #45-Kyle Petty, #21-Ricky Rudd and #88-Dale Jarrett. Earnhardt Jr. led most of the voting last year before a late surge from Bill Elliott fans carried the veteran race car driver to the Grands! Biscuits NMPA NASCAR Most Popular Driver Award win.. Elliott, who has won the award 16 times, retired his name from the Most Popular Driver Award voting earlier this racing season. To vote, see PAGE 2 of the news on the Jayski Site, You can vote via the Internet voting through Monday, Nov. 17, 2003, at 11:59am/ct.(5-22-2003)
  • Atwood in the Navy? UPDATE 5 It is OFFICIAL and includes a Cup race: hearing the U.S. Navy will sponsor a Winston Cup team in some capacity and an announcement will come soon. The Navy sponsors Jon Wood in the #50 Roush Racing Ford in the Truck Series.(5-13-2003)
    UPDATE: Roush Racing announced today that the U.S. Navy will not continue its sponsorship of driver Jon Wood and the #50 Truck Series team. “We are extremely disappointed that the Navy elected to withdraw from the Craftsman Truck Series in the middle of the year,” said Jon Wood. “Our team has really jelled this year, and I hope that someone will step in to help keep us going.”
    “The Navy, through General Motors’ lead agency, Campbell-Ewald, submitted bid criteria to us only two weeks ago, that had no chance of being fulfilled by the Jon Wood’s Craftsman Truck team,” said John Miller, director of sponsor development for Roush Racing. “The criteria were clearly targeted to allow the winning bidder to be only by a Winston Cup or Busch team.”(Roush Racing), looks like maybe a GM Cup or Busch team?(5-13-2003)
    AND Atwood up for a Busch ride? Casey Atwood may be a candidate for a Busch Series ride as FitzBradshaw Racing studies the possibility of adding a partial schedule for a second team, this week’s NASCAR Winston Cup Scene reports. Busch Series Editor Rick Houston reports that team owner Armando Fitz has talked to Atwood, who has been out of racing since leaving the joint Winston Cup effort of Jim Smith and Ray Evernham last year. The story says former Busch Series competitor Tim Fedewa is another possibility for the car that would be sponsored by JaniKing in at least five races. The story goes on to say that rumors say Kerry Earnhardt job has been rumored to be in jeopardy but owner Fitz denies it, also the story says Earnhardt may be looking elsewhere for a ride in 2004.(Winston Cup Scene Daily Newsletter)(5-15-2003)
    UPDATE: hearing the US Navy will sponsor a 2nd FitzBradshaw Racing Busch Series team with Casey Atwood as the driver, not sure if it is a limited or full time schedule, if it happens of course.(5-16-2003)
    UPDATE 2: The Navy recruiting effort now appears to be directed toward the next NASCAR levels, either Busch and/or-eventually, Winston Cup. Word on the street is that FitzBradshaw Racing, which fields the No. 12 Busch cars for Kerry Earnhardt, could inherit the Navy sponsorship, under the assumption that Campbell-Ewald steps it up to the $4m annual Busch level. Casey Atwood, in limbo after a poor rookie season with Ray Evernham, is believed to be the top candidate for the Navy sponsorship, which naturally targets young men of about Casey’s age.(Speed Channel)(5-17-2003)
    UPDATE 3: Two-time Busch Series race winner Casey Atwood is expected to return to the series this season driving a second entry fielded by FitzBradshaw Racing, ThatsRacin.com has learned. Sources said the team is also the likely new home for the Navy sponsorship, which earlier this week pulled out of the Roush Racing NASCAR Truck series team driven by Jon Wood. “I have no comment other than that nothing has been signed with a sponsor or a driver,” said team publicist Tara Gudger. FitzBradshaw currently fields the No. 12 Chevrolets in the series driven by Kerry Earnhardt. Atwood did not return calls for comment.(ThatsRacin.com)(5-18-2003)
    UPDATE 4: Casey Atwood hopes to make his first start in the Busch Series in three years at Lowe’s Motor Speedway. FitzBradshaw Racing has entered Atwood, 22, in a #82 Chevy that will race as a team car to Kerry Earnhardt’s #12 Supercuts Chevy.(NASCAR.com), no mention of the U.S. Navy…..yet.(5-19-2003)
    IMAGE OF CAR: got an image of the car, see my Busch Series Paint Scheme Gallery.(5-20-2003)
    UPDATE 5: FitzBradshaw Racing today announced that the U.S. Navy has signed a nine-race sponsorship deal to back its #82 Chevy in the Busch and Winston Cup series. The team, which is owned by Armando Fitz and Pro Football Hall of Fame member Terry Bradshaw, says Casey Atwood will drive for the team, starting with Saturday’s Carquest Auto Parts 300 Busch Series race at Lowe’s Motor Speedway. Eight of the planned races are Busch Series events. The other is the Sept. 28 EA Sports 500 Winston Cup race at Talladega Superspeedway.(Winston Cup Scene Daily Newsletter)(5-22-2003)
  • Aikman-Staubach team searches for sponsors: Bill Saunders, point man for the Hall of Fame Racing team of Troy Aikman and Roger Staubach, said the search for sponsors is down to five corporations, one of which is based in Dallas-Fort Worth. Saunders also said a sponsorship agreement must be signed by Aug. 1 for the team to compete in Winston Cup next season. “But we still could compete in the Busch series or the truck series next year if something is finalized after early August,” Saunders said. “We will have an affiliation with one of the big NASCAR teams, but I can’t say which one yet.” Saunders said he has spoken to a few corporate executives who wanted to sponsor the team, but he said they were afraid of the reaction from major stockholders who didn’t understand the value of investing in NASCAR.(Dallas Morning News, may need to register to view), see past news and rumors on a building and sponsors on my Rumored CUP New Teams.(5-22-2003)
  • Geoffrey Bodine Update: Geoffrey Bodine’s race inactivity has caused him to downsize his World Wide Racing business. He laid off his business manager, Lisa Cox, and his motor-coach driver last week. Cox has taken a job with Lowe’s Motor Speedway in Concord, N.C. Bodine says he’s exploring several avenues. “I’m looking at other business ventures,” he said. “There are other things to do in life other than drive a Winston Cup car. There are a lot of different things I can get involved with.” Among them is a possibility of forming a Craftsman Truck Series team with middle brother Brett. “Craftsman Trucks is one area Brett and I are investigating,” Bodine said. “I’d like to get involved in that series. We’re looking at several possibilities there.” One Winston Cup race Bodine would like to compete in is the Brickyard 400 at Indianapolis Motor Speedway in August. Bodine has no solid leads on a Cup ride for Indy and said it would be difficult for Brett to field a second car. Because of his light race schedule, Bodine has stepped into some potential post-race career jobs, among them broadcasting. He’s already done the color commentary on one of two Winston West races this year for the Speed Channel. He’ll be behind the microphone in that series’ race at Madera, Calif., on May 31, then do two Busch North Series events in June. He also remains involved with the U.S. Olympic Bobsled team, where his annual fund-raising fishing tournament in Pampano Beach, Fla., on May 10 netted $50,000. And Bodine helped raised about $100,000 for the Make-A-Wish Foundation at his annual celebrity golf tournament in Huntersville, N.C., on May 14.(in part from the Elmiria Star-Gazette)(5-22-2003)
  • A Hearty Thank You: Many of the crew of the USS Cape St George CG 71, currently deployed in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom, had the pleasure of being “adopted” by the Winston Cup Wives Racing Auxiliary in the Adopt A Sailor program [link is on my Ongoing Racing Charities page]. The support of the USS Cape St George was outstanding. In addition to WCWRA they had the pleasure of having correspondence with broadcaster Winston Kelley. The ladies of WCWRA and Mr. Kelley wrote many letter to the crew which brought smiles upon everyones faces to know how much that they are appreciated back home and especially in the NASCAR community. #24 Crew Chief Robbie Loomis sent a message to the crew and Winston mentioned many more that said Thank You to the crew and they wish to say THANK YOU!(5-22-2003)
  • Toyota in the Wind: According to Charlotte area sources, the Toyota factory folks are busy booking time at the Lockheed wind tunnel for 2004. How much time? According to TFR’s sources every bit of it that they can get — so much so that if the non-Toyota teams aren’t careful they could get shut out of the Marietta, Ga. based facility. “That’s the way they work,” said one team official, who dealt with Toyota in Championship Auto Racing Teams. “They’re not afraid to spend their money.”(Team Ford Racing a jayski sponsor)(5-22-2003)
  • Crew Chief Double: #66-Hideo Fukuyama’s crew chief, Gary Cogswell is pulling double duty this week at Lowe’s Motor Speedway, he will be Fukuyama crew chief in Thursday’s [now Friday’s] ARCA race and Casey Atwood’s crew chief for the #82 U.S. Navy Chevy in the Busch race on Saturday. This is a one-race deal at this time and Cogswell has no immediate plans to leave Fukuyama/Travis Carter.(5-22-2003)
  • No Flyover at Lowe’s? At the Indianapolis Motor Speedway, home of the Indy 500, no extraordinary security measures are in place, said spokesman Bob Clidinst. The speedway bumped up its normal security measures after 9-11 and has maintained that level of security at all subsequent events, he said. And there will be no blimps over the racetrack; indeed, the Federal Aviation Authority has put a ban on air traffic over all sports stadiums for the duration of the weekend.(MSNBCAND Suspension of all waivers of temporary flight restrictions over sporting events. This includes companies that had been given waivers to fly blimps and banner-towing planes over sports arenas.(CNN), neither say specifically Lowe’s Motor Speedway, but looks like there will be no flyover and no idea how this may effect Robby Gordon’s flight plans.(5-22-2003)
  • TV Stuff: In the three years since Fox, NBC and Turner Sports started their $2.8 billion, six-year contract with NASCAR, ratings have skyrocketed. According to figures compiled by Sports Business Journal, ratings in the past three years have increased 109 percent in Chicago, 35 percent in New York and 34 percent in Los Angeles. “As far as ratings go, I don’t know if there’s a healthier sport in his country,” Goren told the magazine. “The national ratings week in and week out declare that this is a national sport.” The national ratings for the first 11 races of the season have averaged a 5.6. A year ago, the average rating was a 5.8, but NASCAR officials quickly said the small decline can be attributed to two rain delays during the season-opening Daytona 500 and three weeks of war coverage. The national ratings continue to support the racing series’ contention it’s the second-most popular sport on television. It trails only the NFL in ratings. The top six markets in the country for racing are: Greensboro, N.C. (15.9); Greenville, S.C. (13.4); Charlotte, N.C. (13.1); Indianapolis (11.8); Knoxville, Tenn. (10.6); and Dayton, Ohio (10.6). What has NASCAR doing cartwheels is that ratings also are up in nonracing areas such as Buffalo and Seattle (both up 22 percent) and Boston (21).(Augusta Chronicle)(5-22-2003)
  • Congrats: Jeremy West (rear tire changer for Matt Kenseth’s No. 17 Winston Cup and Busch Series entries) and his wife Lisa (receptionist and travel coordinator at Innovative Motorsports) have announced the birth of their first child. Deegan James West was born on May 17th at 1:32 a.m.. He weighed 7 pounds and 6 ounces.. Both Lisa and baby Deegan are happy and healthy.(5-22-2003)
  • Robby Gordon’s Schedule for the Indy/Coke 600 Double:
    Thursday, May 22
    7:45 a.m. ……………….. Depart Concord for Indianapolis
    11:00 a.m……………….. Final practice
    11:30 a.m……………….. Leave IMS for Indianapolis airport
    12:00 p.m……………….. Depart Indianapolis airport for Concord
    2:00 p.m. ET…………… Land at Concord Airport
    3:00 p.m. ……………….. Winston Cup practice
    7:05 p.m…………………. Coca-Cola 600 Qualifying
    Friday, May 23 – No on-track activities
    Saturday, May 24
    9:30 a.m…………………. Winston Cup practice
    11:15 a.m……………….. Winston Cup final practice
    5:00 p.m…………………. “Double Duty” Fan barbecue dinner at Team Gordon
    7:30 p.m…………………. Depart Concord for Indianapolis
    Sunday, May 25
    10:33 a.m……………….. Driver Introductions
    11:00 a.m……………….. Start of the Indianapolis 500
    2:30 p.m…………………. Completion of race
    2:35-2:40 p.m…………. Out of race car and onto golf cart
    2:40-2:50 p.m…………. Cart to helicopter
    2:50 p.m…………………. Helicopter to Indianapolis airport
    3:00 p.m. CT…………… Wheels up at Indianapolis airport
    ………………….. ……….. (4:45 p.m. – Driver Introductions – will possibly miss)
    5:00 p.m. ET…………… Land at Concord airport
    5:00-5:05 p.m…………. Airplane to helicopter
    5:05-5:10 p.m…………. Helicopter into Lowe’s Motor Speedway
    5:30 p.m…………………. Start of the Coca-Cola 600.(RCR PR)(5-22-2003)
  • #1 to debut Synthetic Paint Scheme: The Pennzoil yellow that race fans are so familiar with will be replaced with a silver metallic paint scheme at this weekend’s Coca-Cola 600 NASCAR Winston Cup event. The newly-designed paint scheme is set to introduce the NASCAR world to Pennzoil Synthetic motor oil. The familiar oval will be prominently displayed on the hood while the company’s new promotion, “Wide Open Weekend” will be visible on the deck lid of the car. For the second consecutive year, “Wide Open Weekend” enters retail stores across the country. Pennzoil retailers will feature the two-time IRL Champion Sam Hornish Jr. case and Pennzoil No. 1 Dale Earnhardt, Inc. specialty cases of Conventional and Synthetic brand of motor oils. One lucky customer will instantly win a trip for two to the 2004 Indianapolis 500 and NASCAR’s Coca-Cola 600. Last year’s winner will be in attendance at both races this Sunday. The Green Foundation, consisting of brothers Jeff and Mark Green, will make a donation to the Victory Junction Gang Camp. The funds were raised during the foundation’s “Rock into Racing 2003” dinner, dance and auction. The dinner was attended by several NASCAR stars, as well as country singer, Neal McCoy and actor, Michael Rooker of “Days of Thunder.” The presentation will take place prior to driver introductions for Saturday’s CARQUEST Auto Parts 300 NASCAR Busch Series event.(Pennzoil Racing PR),see an image of the car on my Paint Scheme Gallery.(5-22-2003)
  • Rusty and Kenny Help Out the Boy Scouts: Rusty and Kenny Wallace were in the Orangeburg, SC on Wednesday for the annual Indian Waters Council of the Boy Scouts of America’s “Friends of Scouting” dinner function held at the Tourville Lodge at Buckridge Plantation. Eight years ago, Wallace traveled to Orangeburg to lend his support for what has become one of the most successful scouting fund-raisers in the country. In that first year the event raised a substantial amount of $12,000. Now, eight years later, the annual support has become even more substantive as the donations have increased to over $100,000, leaving Wallace quite pleased with the results of the 2003 fund-raising effort. Wallace has helped the organization to raise in excess of one million dollars over the eight years that the driver has been involved.(Times and Democrat)(5-22-2003)
  • Roush Racing to Open Destiny 3 Studio: Roush Racing will become the first NASCAR team to open its own in-house photography studio when Destiny 3 Studio opens June 16th. The full service studio will be located inside of Roush Racing’s newly built corporate headquarters located by its Winston Cup facilities in Concord, N.C. Destiny 3 Studio will be just one facet of the state-of-the-art 83,000 square foot Roush Racing world headquarters and museum opening this month. Destiny 3 Studio can accommodate a variety of shoots that include automotive, fashion, portrait, food, film and video. The facility is spacious enough to photograph five cars at once, from the ground level or from a second-floor catwalk. The 3,200 square foot facility will also have complete private hair, makeup and styling rooms, and a comfortable client lounge with work stations and internet access. Destiny 3 Studio will also be promoted to photographers, designers, ad agencies, film and video productions nationwide. In a related move, Action Sports Photography, Inc. will be relocating from Cornelius, N.C., to office space directly next door to the new facility and will also be using Destiny 3 Studios as its choice for studio photography. The new studio, as well as the new Roush Racing corporate headquarters, is located on Roush Place next to Concord Regional Airport, just minutes from Lowe’s Motor Speedway and a short drive from uptown Charlotte. The 25 acre complex is already home to Roush Racing’s five Winston Cup teams.(Roush Racing PR)(5-22-2003)

    (5-21-2003)

  • Freightliner to sponsor #49 BAM Racing at the Coke 600: Freightliner Trucks, the largest heavy-duty truck manufacturer in North America, will sponsor the #49 BAM Racing Dodge of driver Ken Schrader for the Coca-Cola 600 NASCAR Winston Cup race this weekend at the 1.5-mile Lowe’s Motor Speedway. Freightliner Trucks is a division of Freightliner LLC, a DaimlerChrysler company. “We’re very proud that Freightliner will serve as our primary sponsor for the 600,” said Beth Ann Morgenthau, who owns BAM along with her husband Tony. We appreciate the confidence Freightliner and DaimlerChrysler are putting behind us, and are looking forward to a great weekend for them,” she said. Freightliner Trucks is utilizing the sponsorship to showcase the Freightliner Coronado, a new heavy-duty tractor developed for owner-operator truckers.(Williams Company PR)(5-21-2003)
  • Lepage enters the Coke 600: Kevin Lepage will enter the Coca-Cola 600 at Lowe’s Motor Speedway featuring Fast Boy Wings of Jacksonville, FL on the hood. The #71 car [the number he used in the Winston Open] is silver with fluorescent red numbers for TV visibility. Lepage will be racing a car built in his Mooreseville shop and has the quarter panels, TV panel and deck lid available for sponsorship. As one of the few owner-drivers of his own team, Lepage has been actively seeking sponsorship for both Busch and Winston Cup competition. He feels that he can race more economically for a sponsor by being both the driver and team owner.(to sponsor the team go to 200mph Media)(5-21-2003)
  • Some ‘Daily Double’ facts: Drivers who ran the Indy 500 and Coke 600 on the same day:
    Year ……………………… Driver ………………………600 Finish / 500 Finish
    1994… …………………… John.Andretti…… …… 36th …………….. .10th
    1997………………………. Robby Gordon………… *41st…………….. 29th
    1999………………………. Tony.Stewart…….. …. 4th ……………… …9th
    2000………………………. Robby Gordon………… **35th…………… .. 5th
    2001………………………. Tony Stewart………….. 3rd………………. .. 6th
    2002 ……………………… Robby Gordon………… 16th……………… 8th
    *Indianapolis 500 was postponed one day because of rain.
    **P.J. Jones started the 600 in Gordon’s car, due to delay in Gordon’s arrival after the Indy 500.
    The 600’s finish was delayed by rain until the next day, when Gordon took over on Lap 262.(NASCAR PR)(5-21-2003)
  • Panther Power Returns: After finishing a strong second-place finish in The Winston Open last weekend at Lowe’s Motor Speedway with the team’s new car and black paint scheme, Dave Blaney and the #77 Jasper Motorsports crew decided to bring the “Panther Power” car—first intended to run only during The Winston weekend—back for this weekend’s Coca-Cola 600 at Lowe’s Motor Speedway. Blaney will also compete in Saturday’s Busch Series event in the #31 Whelen Motorsports entry, which will make it’s first start as a Ford with Penske-Jasper Engines from the potent production line that generated power for Ryan Newman during his outstanding split Busch Series/ARCA Series season in 2001 prior to his WC debut last year.(Jasper Racing PR)(5-21-2003)
  • TV Ratings for the Winston: The Winston, televised on FX last Saturday night, had a 3.9 cable rating, with 3,080,000 households tuned in. The weekend’s only other motorsports event, the Indianapolis 500 Time Trials last Sunday afternoon, had a 2.6 overnight network rating on ABC.(Figures compiled by Nielsen Media Research)(NASCAR PR)(5-21-2003)
  • Fukuyama visits with students: Students studying Japanese at West Mecklenburg High School had the chance to interview rookie NASCAR Winston Cup Series driver Hideo Fukuyama today on their home turf. More than 30 students had the opportunity for an up-close look at Fukuyama¹s #66 Kikkoman Ford Taurus as the 700-plus horsepower machine was staged at West Mecklenburg High School¹s campus. “Our students really enjoyed the experience they had today,” said Japanese teacher Jinko Dailey. “It was a very valuable opportunity to have them meet Mr. Fukuyama and speak with a native Japanese speaker. It was also interesting to interact with the people supporting Mr. Fukuyama and living in the international business environment. It encourages students so much and shows them the kind of things they can do with their life. It was also very helpful to have Mr. Fukuyama share his philosophy of teamwork; it¹s good to instill this kind of thinking in the students.” May is observed as Asian Pacific American Heritage Month. Fukuyama visited the students, in conjunction with their month-long holiday activities, to share his experiences as NASCAR¹s first Japanese driver. The Owase, Japan, native was interviewed by students from four different levels of Japanese-speaking classes. The interviews were taped and sent to West Mecklenburg¹s sister school in Hokkaido, Japan, to enhance the cultural learning experience.(Cox Markering Group)(5-21-2003)
  • Kenseth’s crew wins Mechanix honor: The pit crew for Matt Kenseth’s #17 DeWalt Ford, the world championship-winning crew in 2001 and 2002, has been named the first quarter winner of the Mechanix Wear Pit Crew of the Year Award. At season’s end, the overall winning crew gets $75,000.(NASCAR PR)(5-21-2003)
  • Fittipaldi to run three races with Bugles: Christian Fittipaldi, nephew of open-wheel legend Emerson Fittipaldi, will attempt to qualify a Petty Enterprises #44 Dodge in three upcoming events, via sponsorship from Bugles. The car will have a Sam Bass-designed Bugles paint scheme. The car will be entered in the Pepsi 400 at Daytona, the EA Sports 500 at Talladega, and the UAW-GM Quality 500 at Lowe’s Motor Speedway. The agreement also includes Bugles sponsorship of the #44 Dodge for a race early in the 2004 season.(NASCAR PR) Also, Fittipaldi is slated to drive the #44 New York Yankees Dodge at Watkins Glen, see images of both cars on my Paint Scheme Gallery.(5-21-2003)
  • BEEN ASKED saw this, so here ya go: How did Tony Stewart and Terry Labonte finish ahead of Dale Jarrett [or Dale Earnhardt Jr] in the second segment [after the big wreck]? Jarrett was able to drive his car off the track after the wreck while Labonte and Stewart could not.
    Jeff Hammond’s Answer: It’s very simple. Dale Jarrett took his car to the garage before he crossed the start/finish line so his lap did not count. If he had completed that lap and then turned in the garage area, he would have been counted ahead of Tony Stewart and Terry Labonte. They used the order in which they were running at the end of the previous lap to score those cars in their finishing positions.(FoxSports)(5-21-2003)
  • Hendrick To Team With U.S.S. Nimitz At LMS Cup Entries Provide ‘Friendly Competition’ For Squadrons: Hendrick Motorsports will join forces with the U.S. Navy this weekend at Lowe’s Motor Speedway, where all four of the team’s NASCAR Winston Cup Series entries will display decals from fighter squadrons of the U.S.S. Nimitz (CVN 68 – more info at their site), a nuclear-powered aircraft carrier currently deployed in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom. Throughout the week leading up to Sunday’s 600-mile event, each Hendrick Motorsports Chevrolet will display the Nimitz logo on the driver’s side “C-post,” along with the logos of two individual squadrons on the car’s opposite side. The eight units were able pick which entry would carry their artwork, adding some “friendly competition” between squadrons.
    The decals, also known as “zappers,” will be distributed as follows:
    #5 Kellogg’s / got milk? Chevrolet and driver Terry Labonte: VFA-41 “The Black Aces” (based in Lemoore, Calif.) and VFA-14 “Tophatters” (Lemoore).
    #24 DuPont Chevrolet and driver Jeff Gordon: VFA-97 “Warhawks” (Lemoore) and VFA-94 “Mighty Shrikes” (Lemoore).
    #25 UAW-Delphi Chevrolet and driver Joe Nemechek: VAQ-135 “Black Ravens” (Whidbey Island, Wash.) and VAW-117 “Wallbangers” (Point Mugu, Calif.).
    #48 Lowe’s Chevrolet and driver Jimmie Johnson: VS-29 “Dragonfires” (San Diego) and HS-6 “Indians” (San Diego).
    Each squadron employs up to 250 people and carries between four and 14 aircraft, including the F/A-18 Hornet and Super Hornet, EA-6B Prowler, E-2C Hawkeye 2000, S-3B Viking, and SH-60B Seahawk. On Aug. 5, 2002, six Hendrick Motorsports employees spent a day on the Nimitz as part of the Navy’s Distinguished Visitors Program, an initiative designed to increase public awareness and appreciation for the Navy. Named after Fleet Adm. Chester W. Nimitz, the ship was commissioned on May 3, 1975 in Newport News, Va., and is the first nuclear-powered aircraft carrier in her class. More than 18 stories high from keel to mast, the Nimitz was deployed to the Arabian Gulf from its home base in San Diego on March 3.(HMS PR)(5-21-2003)
  • Childress 1st Qtr Pocono Spirit Award: Richard Childress has been named the first quarter winner of the National Motorsports Press Association/Pocono Spirit Award. The award recognizes character and achievement in the face of adversity as well as sportsmanship and contributions to motorsports. Others receiving first-quarter votes included drivers John Andretti, Ricky Craven and Morgan Shepherd, sponsor Lowe’s Home Improvement Warehouses, and General Motors public relations representative Nancy Wager. Four quarterly winners of the award will be named, with the overall winner to be announced at the NMPA’s annual banquet in Jan., 2004.(ThatsRacin.com)(5-21-2003)
  • Tony Goes Country: On tonight’s [5/21] Academy of Country Music Awrds, reigning NASCAR Winston Cup champ Tony Stewart will introduce Diamond Rio before the band performs the current single, “I Believe.” Hosted by Reba McEntire, the show at the Mandalay Bay Resort & Casino in Las Vegas will be broadcast live on CBS at 8:00pm/et, with a delayed telecast for the West Coast at 8:00pm/pt.(MotorsportsTV)(5-21-2003)
  • Jeff Gordon on the tube: Jeff Gordon is scheduled to co-host “Live with Regis and Kelly on May 28, 2003” Check local listings.(Gordon Online)(5-21-2003)
  • Congrats: Pete and Michelle Pistone welcomed Mia Roseann Pistone, who came into the world on Monday at 9 pounds, 4 ounces. Mom and baby are doing well. Pete’s work duties include RacingOne, CLTV in Chicago, and WGN Radio.(5-21-2003)

    (5-20-2003)

  • Two Crew Chiefs Fined: NASCAR fined two Winston Cup crew chiefs from actions at The Winston. #40 crew chief, Lee McCall was fined $10,000 for an improper weight attached on the #40 Coors Light Dodge. #48 crew chief, Chad Knaus was fined $1,000 for an unapproved air directional device.(Fox Sports Net – Totally NASCAR)(5-20-2003)
  • #88 Engine Confiscated: NASCAR confiscated the engine that was removed from the #88 UPS Ford before the Winston. The team changed the engine, without NASCAR’s permission, before the Winston at Lowe’s Motor Speedway on Saturday. The #88 team had its engine confiscated for violation of the single-engine rule. The team requested an engine change, but NASCAR said it was unnecessary, sent them to the rear of the field and confiscated the engine.(Fox Sports Net – Totally NASCAR)(5-20-2003)
  • 2nd Tether Requirement Expanded: NASCAR expanded its requirement of a second tether for the front wheels for NASCAR Winston Cup Series, Busch Series and Craftsman Truck Series entries to all tracks, effective May 28. The new rule for NASCAR’s national series is an amendment to the NASCAR Technical Bulletin issued April 12 that required a second tether on the front wheels at events on tracks that were 1.25 miles or more in length, excluding road courses. The first race in which the requirement was in effect was the April 27 race at the 2-mile California Speedway. With this weekend’s competition at the 1.5-mile Lowe’s Motor Speedway already covered under the initial amendment, the new requirement will officially begin May 28, when all three national series are competing at the 1-mile Dover International Speedway. The tethers are required to consist of two Vectran HS V-12 fiber cables.(NASCAR PR)(5-20-2003)
  • Confetti for Martin at Daytona: #6 Mark Martin will run a Viagra/Confetti Ford at the Pepsi 400 in Daytona. See my Paint Scheme Gallery for an image.(5-20-2003)
  • Mayfield Safe in the #19; Elliott signed thru 2005, and Atwood back? Evernham Motorsports owner Ray Evernham debunked rumors Tuesday of #19-Jeremy Mayfield’s demise and also spoke of the futures of #9-Bill Elliott and Casey Atwood. Mayfield has been the subject of the media rumor mill based on his lackluster results this season. Despite a 2002 season in which Mayfield finished 26th in the standings with two top-fives, four top-10’s and seven DNFs, Evernham said he was unquestionably standing behind his driver. “Jeremy Mayfield is in the 19 — there’s no question about his future,” Evernham said. “We’re working as hard as we can work to get that 19 car back to the front (and) they’re probably closer than you think. It’s not an easy sport (but) as long as we keep communicating and holding hands and digging hard, that’s all that we can do.” Elliott, 47 will be driving Evernham’s #9 Dodge well into the future. “Bill is under contract through 2005, and he knows that No. 9 car is his as long as he wants to drive it,” Evernham said. “He has said he’ll give us plenty of notice if he decides he wants to do anything else.” Atwood, 22, was displaced when Mayfield was hired to drive the #19 car beginning last year. In 2002, Atwood drove the No. 7 Dodge for Evernham/Ultra Motorsports, but he was released near the end of the season. He remains under contract to Evernham, though he’s been given his release to seek other opportunities [such as the #82 U.S Navy Chevy in the Busch Series]. Evernham will field a #91 Dodge at Pocono next month for Atwood, and has said he would like to do more races with that car. “We’re still working with Casey Atwood,” Evernham said. “There’s a chance he might be back in one of the red cars some time in the future.”(see full story and quotes at NASCAR.com)(5-20-2003)
  • Elliott Breaks Bones in Foot UPDATE 3: #9-Bill Elliott is being transported to a local hospital to be checked out, he is complaining of foot pain.(5-17-2003)
    UPDATE: XM Satellite- NASCAR Radio (Subscription Required) reported that Elliott has three broken bones on the top of his left foot, Elliott’s status for next weekend’s Coca-Cola 600 is unknown at this point.(5-18-2003)
    UPDATE 2: An official announcement about Elliott’s status for this weekend’s 600-mile race in Charlotte should come Tuesday.(Fox Sports Net’s Totally NASCAR)(5-20-2003)
    UPDATE 3: Elliott will be in the #9 Dodge and start the Coke 600 this weekend. He will use a carbon fiber foot protector. CTS driver, Ted Musgrave will stand by in case relief is needed.(5-20-2003)
  • Boy, 14, will receive donated service dog, Park to attend: The Food Lion store at 835 Williamson Road will host a ceremony at 11:00am/et Tuesday [May 20th – Today] at which Stuart Arnold, 14, who has cerebral palsy, will receive a Canine Assistants service dog. Steve Park, driver of the Winston Cup Richard Childress Racing/America Online Racing #30 car, will participate in the presentation. He will give Stuart autographed NASCAR memorabilia and will sign autographs for fans for an hour after the presentation. Food Lion and the Milk-Bone dog food company made the donation possible. Stuart lives in Charlotte and uses a wheelchair. The dog, valued at more than $10,000, will undergo specialized training to meet Stuart’s needs. Stuart will receive his dog after extensive training and attending an instructional camp with the dog. At the ceremony, the public also will learn more about service dogs and how they help people with physical disabilities. Canine Assistants, a nonprofit organization founded in 1991, trains dogs to assist children and adults with physical disabilities and other special needs. Canine Assistants dogs are either rescued young adult dogs or are puppies raised at their facilities.(Charlotte Observer)(5-20-2003)
  • Bill Elliott Donates $10,000 to Union County Primary School: Students at Union County Primary school in Blairsville got a special ride on Monday as they received a $10,000 donation from Bill Elliott and celebrated reading transportation-style. The school’s library will also receive new books as part of a $10,000 donation (100,000 Box Tops for Education coupons) given by Elliott as part of his winning the 2002 Grands! Biscuits NMPA NASCAR Most Popular Driver Award. At the start of the school year Elliott challenged students to meet their AR goals and promised to reward them with today’s event. The school set two goals for the students to meet this school year. One was to earn a difficult 30,000 points. The other goal was for the school to have less than 10% of the students at risk in reading. The students went beyond that and earned over 37,800 points and had only 5% at risk.. They have passed computerized tests on over 74,524 books this year with an average score of 91%. Box Tops for Education is a school fundraising program run by General Mills, Inc. More than 22 million American households clip Box Tops for Education. Since the program’s inception in 1996, General Mills has given nearly $70 million to America’s schools. Schools can earn up to $60,000 each school year. For more information about Box Tops for Education, visit boxtops4education.com.(Golin Harris PR)(5-20-2003)
  • Catalyst could be in place at the Coke 600: It’s only been six months since NASCAR opened the doors of its $10 million, 64,000 square-foot research and development center near the Concord Regional Airport. Yet already the sport is reaping the benefits. Perhaps as early as Sunday’s Coca-Cola 600 at Lowe’s Motor Speedway, NASCAR’s latest safety enhancement – a catalyst to reduce carbon monoxide exposure to drivers – could be in place.(ThatsRacin.com)(5-20-2003)
  • Staubach/Aikman looking for shop in NC: Former NFL quarterback Roger Staubach and fellow retired Dallas Cowboys QB Troy Aikman are said to be eyeing a Concord business park for a 70,000-square-foot race shop to house the NASCAR team they’re forming, called Hall of Fame Racing. The Staubach-Aikman group is on the hunt for real estate, but its first order of business is signing a sponsor. Bill Saunders, a Hall of Fame Racing partner, says the field of potential sponsors has been narrowed to five, but he declines to identify them. Sean Helda, president of Corinthian International Inc., owner and developer of Concord Airport Business Park, confirms his company has had contact with the Staubach-Aikman group, but no details have been finalized.(Charlotte Business Journal), see past news on Hall of Fame Racing on my New Teams page, last rumors I heard about sponsors were Pizza Hut, Radio Shack and/or Acme Brick – note the Aikman connection on their site – [is that the brick Wylie E uses against the Road Runner?].(5-20-2003)
  • Bob Jenkins Receives Award: Eddie Sachs Jr., whose father, Eddie Sachs, was killed at the speedway in the 1964 race, was back at the Brickyard over the weekend to present ESPN [and former NASCAR broadcaster] race host Bob Jenkins the “Michigan Media Achievement of Excellence” award before the start of the Infiniti Pro Series race. The award is presented on behalf of the Michigan Automobile Racing Fan Club each year.(MotorsportsTV)(5-20-2003)
  • Penske Racing on Junkyard Wars:Junkyard Wars, the television show on The Learning Channel, will air a contest recorded after the 2002 racing season ended. The ‘war’ was between the Penske Racing NASCAR Team, the Penske Racing IRL Team, and Don Prudhomme’s drag racing team. The show will air on Sunday, May 25th from 9:00-11:00pm/et (re-air dates/times: May 26, 12:00mid/et; May 28, 9:00pm/et; May 29, 12:00mid/et and June 1st at 6:00pm/et).
    From their website: They don’t speak to each other — much less compete in the same race! But Junkyard Wars has done the impossible. Never before have the three main auto-racing sports competed against each other on such a uniquely level playing field. It’s a tough challenge, but the three car-crazy teams are up to it. The teams must build a vehicle from the ground up, from only junkyard parts, and then compete against one another on three courses: a drag strip, twisting road track and half-mile oval — all to win Junkyard Mega-Wars’ Triple Track Trophy. The Triple Track Challenge was held at Irwindale Speedway in California. For each of the three challenge stages, a different driver was at the controls. The junkyard race cars will be tested on acceleration, maneuverability and overall racing performance. The first race was held on the 1/8-mile-long drag strip and the teams went for the fastest time from a standing start to the finish line. Next, the cars tackled a tricky figure-8 course in which they had to navigate their way around various cones. Finally, the teams took on the banked 1/3-mile oval circuit. Each car completes 10 laps. The fastest 10-lap time will win this stage. A combined score for all three events will determine the Triple Track Trophy winner. Keeping an eye on the proceedings is veteran dragster driver and builder Pat Foster, who lends his expertise as judge. Tyler and Karyn are also joined by former host Cathy Rogers to make the occasion special. This one-of-a-kind event will bring auto-racing’s “backroom boys” — the brains and muscle behind racing heroes — into the spotlight. But these teams are no strangers to success: they’ve put drivers like Rusty Wallace, Larry Dixon and Helio Castroneves into the winner’s circle. See the website: tlc.discovery.com for more info.(5-20-2003)
  • Circle K Transitioning Away from NASCAR: On Wednesday, a series of television and radio commercials developed by Dailey & Associates of West Hollywood, Calif., will mark the move of Circle K convenience stores in a new marketing direction, company officials said. “With our NASCAR sponsorship ending this year, we are transitioning away from our positioning as The Official Pit Stop of NASCAR,” said Kathleen Grodsky, director of retail advertising and brand management for ConocoPhillips, Circle K’s parent company. “We were excited by the challenge of repositioning the brand. Our new tagline “What else do you need?” addresses both our selection and services and can be implemented operationally and across all consumer and internal communications,” said Grodsky.(MotorsportsTV)(5-20-2003)
  • New Books: J and B Racing Publications is proud to announce to the racing public the release of the 2nd Edition of “FAST MONEY: How to put your racing merchandise business in the pole position”. This is the very 1st book of its kind about this billion dollar business and is packed with over 200 pages of priceless information about this business. Learn how to sell the items of such top names as Dale Earnhardt, Dale Jr, Jeff Gordon, Jimmy Johnson, Mark Martin, Tony Stewart, Dale Jarrett, and many other NASCAR racing drivers. This book also has valuable information on Action Performance, Revell, Racing Champions, and other companies in the racing industry. FAST MONEY is your complete guide to setting up and running a successful racing merchandise business.
    AND Las Vegas Sun cartoonist Mike Smith, who is responsible for the popular weekly “StockcarToons” feature on this page, has just released his second collection of memorable NASCAR cartoons. “StockcarToons No. 2 — More Grins and Spins on the Winston Cup Circuit,” published by Sports Publishing, LLC, is available at Borders and Barnes & Noble bookstores and on the Internet at Amazon.com. The 136-page book features a foreword by NASCAR on Fox announcer Mike Joy.
    More info and links on my Racing Bookstore page.(5-20-2003)
  • Among Safety Projects Underway by the NASCAR R&D Center:
    — Testing continues on the addition of a third roof flap, to help prevent cars from becoming airborne during accidents.
    — A study of head and neck restraint systems and the development of standards to measure the effectiveness of new devices.
    — Continued development of “soft wall” technology and the SAFER (Steel and Foam Energy Reduction) system. Testing was recently completed on SAFER systems similar to walls used at tracks like Richmond and Loudon
    — Continued work on “aero matching” – getting different manufacturers body styles to produce similar aerodynamic results. Nelson said the Winston Cup and Busch series are fairly “aero-matched,” but the NASCAR Truck series “still needs work.”
    — An investigation into driver Jerry Nadeau’s accident at Richmond earlier this month. Nadeau hit the wall on the driver’s side and remains hospitalized in Richmond in fair condition and semi-conscious.
    — A side impact study and testing of possible new aluminum inserts in the sides of cars.(ThatsRacin.com)(5-20-2003)
  • 160 G’s? UPDATE so what the heck is a G-FORCE? Sources say Jerry Nadeau’s wreck at Richmond registered 160 G-forces, double the hardest hit recorded since NASCAR started using black boxes in 2002. That Nadeau survived is a testament to safety enhancements made since Dale Earnhardt’s death in February 2001. Nadeau remains hospitalized; he is semiconscious and in fair condition.(Sporting News)(5-19-2003)
    SO WHAT IS G-FORCE: was asked a few times about this, had no clue, so checked out a Jayski fave site: howstuffworks and…..One G is the force of Earth’s gravity — it is this force that determines how much we weigh. Back in 2001 CART cancelled a race at the Texas Motor Speedway because the drivers experienced dizziness after as few as 10 laps. The combination of high speeds and tight turns at Texas Motor Speedway produces forces of almost 5 Gs in the turns. the space shuttle only develops 3 Gs when it takes off. See the full story at howstuffworks: How do you calculate G-forces?.(5-20-2003)
  • Speaking of Nadeau: [Jerry] Nadeau, one of the bright new stars on the stock-car tour, has been only semi-conscious and is still unable to talk or communicate except with a squeeze of the hand. Doctors are keeping a tight lid on medical information about Nadeau, and NASCAR officials too are keeping quiet about what they have learned in their accident investigation. All that secrecy has led to rampant speculation in the Winston Cup garage about Nadeau, about whether he will ever race again, about how long his recovery might take. And there are more safety questions being leveled at NASCAR: Will the sanctioning body ever release any crash data on the Nadeau wreck or just try to keep it covered up? Will the sanctioning body improve its crash data recording system by adding more sophisticated sensors, like the IRL-approved G-force head sensor that would seem ripe to become a standard item in NASCAR helmets?(Winston Salem Journal), past news on Nadeau’s condition below or on my #01 Team News and Links page.(5-20-2003)
  • Testing at Dover: #22-Ward Burton and #25-Joe Nemechek tested at Dover International Speedway on Monday, along with Busch Series drivers #23-Scott Wimmer, who is also supposedly testing the #27-Dodge for the Cup race too, and #18-Coy Gibbs. All will return for more testing on Tuesday. The MBNA Armed Forces Family 400 runs on June 1st.(Delaware News Journal), no speeds reported.(5-20-2003)
  • Bigger for Ganassi: Chip Ganassi Racing with Felix Sabates and its trio of [#40, #41, $2] teams now based in Mooresville’s Lakeside Business Park, is looking for an $11 million facility that would more than double the size of its operation, says Gene Haskett, executive vice president. Haskett recently gave a serious look at the vacant, 427,000-square-foot former Matsushita Electric Industrial Co. Ltd. building, also in Mooresville, but found it too large. “We are still looking,” he says. Ganassi needs about 220,000 square feet for its three Winston Cup teams — featuring drivers Sterling Marlin, Casey Mears and Jamie McMurray.(Charlotte Business Journal)(5-20-2003)
  • Drivers beat Media UPDATE: A team of drivers and athletes from other sports defeated a media team 59-38 in the Hoops for Hope charity basketball game hosted by Elliott Sadler at UNCC’s Halton Arena Thursday night. The event raised money for the Autism Society of America.(ThatsRacin.com), see photos of the event at The Sadler Bother Fanclub site.(5-17-2003)
    UPDATE: Pit 10 professional athletes against 15 unfit media types in athletic competition and what do you get? A blowout. So went the inaugural M&Ms Hoops for Hope charity basketball game Thursday evening at the University of North Carolina Charlotte, in which host Elliott Sadler stole the show by scoring a game-high 15 points.(NASCAR.com)(5-20-2003)


    (5-19-2003)

  • Museum in Elliott’s hometown in trouble: When Thunder Road USA (www.thunderroadusa.com) opened last year, many envisioned an economic windfall for this small northeast Georgia town known for breeding NASCAR winners. The $12 million, 40,000-square-foot auto racing museum was expected to attract up to 250,000 visitors a year, generate hundreds of jobs and increase sales tax revenues. One year later, Thunder Road USA is struggling with $10 million in debt and poor attendance. Only about 48,000 visitors came to the museum last year, forcing staff cutbacks and shorter operating hours. Officials are now considering plans to sell nearby land to help pay off its debt. General manager Tom French said they may also try staging live music and targeting corporate meetings and birthday parties. The museum, which includes Georgia’s racing hall of fame, features memorials to NASCAR’s racing greats, interactive games, a track for remote-controlled cars, racing simulators, a theater, gift shop and diner. Museum board member Russ Wallace said it’s still the pride of Dawsonville, home to NASCAR greats Bill Elliott, Gober Sosebee and Lloyd Seay. Wallace said he is confident the museum will rebound financially in the coming months and denied talk that it will close down.(Charlotte Observer/AP)(5-19-2003)
  • Special for Marlin in the Coke 600 UPDATE: Coor’s has decided to race a #40 Brooks & Dunn themed car with Sterling Marlin at the Coca-Cola 600 next week. The paint scheme will be solid silver with B&D decals. They are promoting the upcoming Neon Circus concert tour, which is sponsored by Coors. Being told, no diecast will be produced for this scheme.(5-16-2003)
    UPDATE: Country duo, Brooks & Dunn are once again bringing some country charm to the Winston Cup Series. Sterling Marlin’s #40 Coors Light Dodge will feature a Brooks & Dunn paint scheme for the Coca-Cola 600 at Lowe’s Motor Speedway. “Chip Ganassi racing and Brooks & Dunn are two of our longest running sponsorships and are our two most valued partners,” said Pat Ramirez, Director of Sales Services for Coors Brewing Company. “Kix and Ronnie will be performing in Charlotte on June 13, and their new album, Red Dirt Road, will be in stores in mid July, so it made sense to put their logos on the car for this race. We know the fans and the race team will enjoy this special paint scheme.” The special paint scheme will feature logos of the Neon Circus tour as well as the Red Dirt Road logos to help promote the tour and the new release. Sterling Marlin will race his Brooks & Dunn Coors Light Dodge in the Coca-Cola 600 on Sunday, May 25.(Chip Ganassi Racing with Felix Sabates PR)(5-19-2003)
  • TRAC News: Team Sports Entertainment, Inc. announced the addition of two individuals to its Board of Directors. Terry Hanson is the current President and Chief Operating Officer of Team Sports Entertainment, Inc. and its wholly owned subsidiary Team Racing Auto Circuit (TRAC). Dr. Jay Klompmaker is a former member of Team Sports Entertainment Inc.’s Board of Advisors, former Academic Program Director of the Kaiser-Permanente Leadership Program, and retired Professor of Business Administration at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.(TRAC PR), see more info on my TRAC page.(5-19-2003)
  • Latest on Simpson vs NASCAR Trial: When Halifax Medical Center trauma specialist Dr. Steve Bohannon said Dale Earnhardt would have had a better chance to survive if his seat belt didn’t separate in the 2001 Daytona 500, he was just trying to answer a question during a news conference. Now that answer is the crux of an $8.5 million defamation lawsuit Bill Simpson has filed against NASCAR. In documents filed earlier this month in U.S. District Court in Indianapolis, Simpson attorney Robert Horn argues that NASCAR had reason to be afraid of Simpson. He says NASCAR’s failure to acknowledge that Earnhardt’s belt system was improperly installed, along with the comments by Bohannon and others, harmed Simpson. Bohannon, who serves as the director of emergency medical services at Daytona International Speedway, spoke during a news conference five days after the death of the seven-time Winston Cup champion. A jury trial in the case is tentatively scheduled for September. The judge can rule on NASCAR’s motion for summary judgment — a ruling in its favor without trial — anytime before then.(Daytona Beach News Journal), see past news on my Lawsuit page.(5-19-2003)
  • Fellows to run #1 at road courses UPDATE: Jeff Green said Ron Fellows will race the #1 car at both road course events, Infineon Raceway and Watkins Glen. Green said he was a bit disappointed, but understands the decision. He will still travel with the team to help in any way he can. Fellows was slated to run a 4th DEI car, #81.(PRN’s Garage Pass Radio Pass)(5-8-2003)
    UPDATE: DEI will take Ron Fellows out of the Chance 2 Racing #81 Chevy and put him into the #1 Pennzoil Chevy for Cup races at Sonoma, CA, and Watkins Glen. The change is the latest fallout in the the wake of the firing of Steve Park and the hiring of Jeff Green on the #1 team two weeks ago. Green, who was released from the #30 RCR team the same weekend as Park’s DEI firing, has little road-racing experience in Winston Cup. Fellows already has tested in the #1 car on a road course in Indiana last week with crew chief Tony Gibson and engineers from DEI in attendance. When Fellows made his deal with DEI earlier this year, plans were for him to drive the #81 entry –co-owned by Dale Earnhardt Jr. and his step-mother Teresa Earnhardt — on both Cup road courses. But when DEI and Park parted ways the team was left without its top road racer. Park is a past winner at Watkins Glen. “The plan for DEI to field a fourth car for me has changed a little bit,” Fellows said. “We went to Infineon Raceway (Sonoma) with two brand new cars and the tests were great.” Fellows bettered the California track record by four-tenths of a second. Next on the schedule for Fellows, however, is a trip to France to defend his back-to-back 24 Hours of Le Mans GTS class titles with the factory Corvette C5-R team.(Toronto Sun)(5-19-2003)
  • Pearson Wins: A wet track proved no match for the three-time NASCAR champion David Pearson as the “Silver Fox” outclassed the field in the Legends II rematch in Spartanburg SC on Saturday. The Piedmont Interstate Fairgrounds played host to the 15 lap feature in which Pearson displayed the reasons why he is the holder of 105 Winston Cup victories. Pearson won the feature event in the from the pole position. When asked about his 1937 Ford Coach replica Pearson replied, “Yeah, it’s a little bit different from the car I ran in last year.” Running a car which was reportedly down on power in 2002, Pearson was determined to set the record straight in the legends II rematch of 2003. “I had so much fun at last year’s race, I decided to build me one. So I just got an old body and started working on it. It was a humpback. I cut the back end off and made a straight back out of it.” Local NASCAR racing legend Cotton Owens was lapped near the end of the event as the hard charging Pearson put the whipping stick on all comers. “We won the Grand National championship in 1966 when he (Pearson) drove for me,” said Owens, “He was driving the No. 6 car then, red and white, just like the car here.”(Insider Racing News)(5-19-2003)
  • Rumblings – The Winston: They billed this The Winston as the “Survival of the Fastest”….well, a whole bunch of the fastest didn’t survive. When the final 20 lap shootout was in the books, if was Jimmie Johnson who got to do the donuts and spray the champagne in Victory Lane. It’s always hard to tell who has the strongest car in these “invert” events (we’ve been known to find a little sand coming out the tailpipes in these races), but we do know who’s gonna get to cash that check. And for Johnson, the payoff was a smooth $1,017,604.
    This was the 5th “The Winston” win for Hendrick Motorsports. Jeff Gordon has three of ’em and Terry Labonte won one as well. Johnson was clearly the best in the final segment, holding off Kurt Busch (who was strong as well) and Bobby Labonte. We were supposed to have 14 cars in the final, but a sizeable wreck at the end of the 30-lapper middle segment reduced the field to only 12.
    We had the usual temper displays associated with this event. Ryan Newman was mad at Tony Stewart, Ward Burton was mad at Jeff Gordon, Terry Labonte was mad at the red-flag….just good ole boys having fun on a Saturday Night.
    Jeff Burton won the Open and advanced to The Winston….he managed to stick around and finish 9th for his efforts.
    Tony Stewart won the $50K that went with Segment #1 (40 laps).
    Kurt Busch won the $50K that went with Segment #2 (30 laps).
    Jimmie Johnson won the final 20 lapper for a cool $1M.(Stockcarfans.com)(5-19-2003)
  • AOL will be back in 2004: [#29, 30, 31] Owner Richard Childress says rumors that he will field only two Winston Cup cars next season are “absolutely not” true. There have been questions about the financial stability of AOL, the primary sponsor for Childress’ #30 car [now Steve Park driving], but Childress says AOL is committed to honoring the final year of its contract, which ends after the 2004 season. “Not only will we have three full-time Cup teams and two Busch teams, we’ll run seven or eight cars at some tracks next year,” he says.(Sporting News)(5-19-2003)
  • The Visa Cup? UPDATE maybe not: The latest on NASCAR’s search for a new series sponsor to replace R.J. Reynolds Tobacco: According to industry sources, Visa officials have reportedly given NASCAR a deadline for accepting the company’s offer, which other sources have put at $80 to $85 million a year for the next 10 years. That deadline is believed be within the next 60 days, meaning NASCAR executives would have to make a call by July 1 or so.(Winston Salem Journal)(5-18-2003)
    UPDATE: In the middle of last week it was not hard to find people around NASCAR who thought VISA was the leading candidate to replace R.J. Reynolds as title sponsor of the Winston Cup series. The trail on that story cooled off quickly, however. While VISA is still believed to be one of the companies being talked to by NASCAR about its most important sponsorship tie, there does not yet appear to be a clear lead horse in the race. One potential hurdle in a deal with VISA could be a $3 billion settlement of an antitrust lawsuit filed against Visa USA and MasterCard over debit card payments. VISA’s portion of the settlement must still be approved by a federal judge, would be $2 billion over 10 years. The suit was brought by some of the country’s largest retailers, Wal-Mart and Sears among them, who said that VISA and MasterCard had pressured them into allowing customers to pay with credit or debit cards requiring their signatures. Merchants protested since signature-authorized debit cards carry higher processing fees than cards using personal identification numbers, or PINs.(ThatsRacin.com)(5-19-2003)
  • Tire’s at Lowe’s: Goodyear’s new combination of right-side tires selected for Lowe’s Motor Speedway threw off some teams’ setups during The Winston. Kurt Busch, who was runner-up to winner Jimmie Johnson, complained that with the softer right-side tires, he couldn’t “approach the corner as quickly” because it made his Ford loose. Most drivers got enough laps on the tires in The Winston or Winston Open to get a feel for them going into the Coca-Cola 600 Sunday.(Sporting News)(5-19-2003)
  • Snap-on Tools and RCR Announce New Deal: Snap-on Tools and Richard Childress Racing (RCR) announced a new three-year sponsorship agreement that extends the unique partnership into the 2006 season. The announcement comes as Snap-on Tools and Richard Childress Racing celebrate the 10th consecutive season they’ve raced together at tracks literally around the world. The agreement, which includes full-season endorsement and associate sponsorships with each of the RCR Winston Cup and Busch series teams, was announced at a press conference just a few hours before the start of the 2003 Winston. Snap-on is celebrating 10 years of partnership with RCR through a special “Decade of Dedication” initiative that featured the special-edition #29 car raced in “The Winston” and a host of new racing-themed tool and equipment products. During 2003, for a limited time Snap-on will offer commemorative tool storage units, as well as shop equipment, hand and power tools to automotive technicians and race fans. Tool storage units, for example, will feature special graphics that depict the 10 cars raced at The Winston and include Snap-on Racing and RCR logos. Decade of Dedication apparel and collectibles (including die-cast pit wagons, cars, haulers and trailers), are available through local Snap-on dealers. During 2003, Snap-on and the #29 car primary sponsor GM Goodwrench are also working together on an initiative called the “GM Powertrain Clinics with Snap-on” to bring Snap-on customers to GM-sponsored technical instruction clinics where they learn about GM Powertrain products and warranties. The program also includes tours for automotive technicians of GM dealerships and often #29 show car appearances. Clinic attendees see demonstrations of the latest Snap-on products and receive tool certificates redeemable through Snap-on dealers with the purchase GM Goodwrench engines and transmissions.(PR)(5-19-2003)

 


 

  • (5-18-2003)

  • Atwood in the Navy? UPDATEs and a combo of stories: hearing the U.S. Navy will sponsor a Winston Cup team in some capacity and an announcement will come soon. The Navy sponsors Jon Wood in the #50 Roush Racing Ford in the Truck Series.(5-13-2003)
    UPDATE: Roush Racing announced today that the U.S. Navy will not continue its sponsorship of driver Jon Wood and the #50 Truck Series team. “We are extremely disappointed that the Navy elected to withdraw from the Craftsman Truck Series in the middle of the year,” said Jon Wood. “Our team has really jelled this year, and I hope that someone will step in to help keep us going.”
    “The Navy, through General Motors’ lead agency, Campbell-Ewald, submitted bid criteria to us only two weeks ago, that had no chance of being fulfilled by the Jon Wood’s Craftsman Truck team,” said John Miller, director of sponsor development for Roush Racing. “The criteria were clearly targeted to allow the winning bidder to be only by a Winston Cup or Busch team.”(Roush Racing), looks like maybe a GM Cup or Busch team?(5-13-2003)
    AND Atwood up for a Busch ride? Casey Atwood may be a candidate for a Busch Series ride as FitzBradshaw Racing studies the possibility of adding a partial schedule for a second team, this week’s NASCAR Winston Cup Scene reports. Busch Series Editor Rick Houston reports that team owner Armando Fitz has talked to Atwood, who has been out of racing since leaving the joint Winston Cup effort of Jim Smith and Ray Evernham last year. The story says former Busch Series competitor Tim Fedewa is another possibility for the car that would be sponsored by JaniKing in at least five races. The story goes on to say that rumors say Kerry Earnhardt job has been rumored to be in jeopardy but owner Fitz denies it, also the story says Earnhardt may be looking elsewhere for a ride in 2004.(Winston Cup Scene Daily Newsletter)(5-15-2003)
    UPDATE: hearing the US Navy will sponsor a 2nd FitzBradshaw Racing Busch Series team with Casey Atwood as the driver, not sure if it is a limited or full time schedule, if it happens of course.(5-16-2003)
    UPDATE 2: The Navy recruiting effort now appears to be directed toward the next NASCAR levels, either Busch and/or-eventually, Winston Cup. Word on the street is that FitzBradshaw Racing, which fields the No. 12 Busch cars for Kerry Earnhardt, could inherit the Navy sponsorship, under the assumption that Campbell-Ewald steps it up to the $4m annual Busch level. Casey Atwood, in limbo after a poor rookie season with Ray Evernham, is believed to be the top candidate for the Navy sponsorship, which naturally targets young men of about Casey’s age.(Speed Channel)(5-17-2003)
    UPDATE 3: Two-time Busch Series race winner Casey Atwood is expected to return to the series this season driving a second entry fielded by FitzBradshaw Racing, ThatsRacin.com has learned. Sources said the team is also the likely new home for the Navy sponsorship, which earlier this week pulled out of the Roush Racing NASCAR Truck series team driven by Jon Wood. “I have no comment other than that nothing has been signed with a sponsor or a driver,” said team publicist Tara Gudger. FitzBradshaw currently fields the No. 12 Chevrolets in the series driven by Kerry Earnhardt. Atwood did not return calls for comment.(ThatsRacin.com)(5-18-2003)
  • Former Philly Eagle to be involved in NASCAR former Philadelphia Eagle [Jayski team] and Green Bay Packer [booo] Reggie White and one of his old rivals announced a partnership on Saturday they hope will increase minority involvement in motorsports. With the financial backing of Joe Gibbs Racing, Gibbs and White said they will start looking for promising young minority drivers, mechanics and crew chiefs to run Late Model Sportsmen races at Charlotte-area tracks in 2004. “Black kids haven’t had a chance to get into this sport,” said Gibbs. “We want to do what’s best for young people and for the sport.” NASCAR hasn’t traditionally been a large draw to blacks – either as fans or participants. A team that was to be owned by former NFL player Joe Washington and the NBA’s Julius Erving never got off the ground. The late Wendell Scott won a race and a pole in the 1960s and was followed by Willy T. Ribbs, who experienced limited success. Bill Lester was the first black to win a pole for a modern-era NASCAR race when he qualified first for Friday’s inaugural Truck Series event at Lowe’s Motor Speedway. Gibbs said he has already identified a few young black drivers and is looking for more. He also said that while he will concentrate on finding black drivers, he won’t ignore other minorities. “That’s our push,” he said. “But we’re not restricting it (to blacks).” Gibbs said he hoped to begin with two to five teams in 2004. His team will fund the operations – each costing between $50,000-$100,000 a year – whether sponsors step forward or not. “I’m intrigued by this,” said White, who lives in the Charlotte area and got interested in racing after he played for the Carolina Panthers in 2000. “I think it boils down to black children not being able to afford getting into the sport. Look at golf, where there was the same situation. Tiger Woods helped there, and maybe we’ll find the next Tiger Woods in NASCAR.” Said Gibbs: “I think it’s coming. This should be a sport for all Americans, for everybody. When you go to a race track, there should be huge following of all kinds of cultural backgrounds, I think. Because everybody loves cars.”(in part from ThatsRacin.com)
    AND Former NFL rivals Joe Gibbs and Reggie White announced yesterday they will field several Late Model cars at short tracks in the Charlotte, NC, area next season in hopes of fostering minority involvement in NASCAR. White and Gibbs had talked over the past 18 months about White’s hopes to form a NASCAR team. But because sponsors were difficult to find, Gibbs decided on a grass-roots approach. “This will be good for Reggie because he’ll get in on the ground floor,” Gibbs said. “We’re looking for sponsors, but it isn’t subject to it. We’ll start immediately, spend our own money and go full speed ahead.” White became hooked on NASCAR only recently but is interested in being an owner. “I’m really intrigued by the opportunity to get into sport and help minorities,” said White, a star defensive end who played for Green Bay, Philadelphia and Carolina. “I know it’s been a big concern for NASCAR. One of the things I’m excited about is it also gives inner-city kids a chance to make contacts with corporate America. We could raise up a kid who could be the next Tiger Woods in NASCAR.” Gibbs and White are soliciting applications from potential drivers and crew members who are at least 18 and have a high school diploma or equivalent. Resumes should be mailed to Joe Gibbs Racing Diversity Program, c/o Steve de Souza, 13451 Reese Blvd. W, Huntersville, NC 28078.(Richmond Times Dispatch)(5-18-2003)
  • Sad News: The Auburn family lost a true friend Thursday when lead announcer Jim Fyffe passed away from a brain aneurysm at Jackson Hospital in Montgomery. He was 57. He is survived by his wife, Rose, five children, five grandchildren and one great grandchild. Donations can be made to the American Diabetes Association in the name of Jim Fyffe. Fyffe spent 22 seasons as the play-by-play announcer for Auburn football and men’s basketball games. Fyffe, who called games for the Auburn Network, was employed by WACV-AM in Montgomery. He also served as the play-by-play voice for the USFL’s Birmingham Stallions and Columbus Steeldogs arena football team. He was also public address announcer at Talladega Superspeedway.(Sand Mountain Reporter)(5-18-2003)
  • Roof Hatch – Day III: NASCAR drivers could be riding in cars equipped with roof exits before the end of this season. Gary Nelson, NASCAR’s managing director of competition, said recent developments have put the roof hatch program on the fast track. “We made a big step in the last week or so,” Nelson said. “What we hope to have happen is to make it optional [for teams] very soon.” Nelson said the hatch will open from several directions, allowing drivers to escape no matter how the car lands after a crash. He also said the hatch, which is designed to be easily operated by rescue workers as well as drivers, could be used for routine entry and exit from the car. “One of our engineers said that if we get this thing right, it’ll be so slick that a lot of drivers will just put one foot on the door and jump through the top,” he said. Nelson also is working on energy-absorbing materials that can be placed between the door bars and the sheet metal on the driver’s side door. That would offer protection in crashes like Jerry Nadeau’s at Richmond and Kyle Petty’s at Bristol. In those wrecks, the driver’s door slammed squarely into the wall, creating the highest impact readings since NASCAR began equipping cars with “black box” impact data recorders. “They were just flush hits, and we haven’t seen many like that,” Nelson said. “That got us stirred up to where we’re putting a lot of resources into that area.”(Atlanta Journal-Constitution), see past news about this on my Safety Page.(5-18-2003)
  • Mural at LMS: David Arrigo, the artist who painted a mural of Wayne Gretzky at the Hockey Hall of Fame in Toronto, is working on a mural on the concourse at the entrance to the Ford Grandstand at LMS. The 16-feet by 6-feet painting will take six days to complete. It will depict scenes of drivers like Rusty Wallace, Dale Jarrett, Jimmie Johnson, Ryan Newman and others. Race fans attending events this week can watch Arrigo work on the painting. After it is finished, it will be moved to Charlotte Douglas International Airport for permanent display.(NASCAR.com)(5-18-2003)
  • 3rd Davis Team at Dover: Bill Davis Racing will field a third [#27] Winston Cup entry at the June 1 race at Dover, Del., for its Busch series driver Scott Wimmer, team officials confirmed Saturday. BDR currently fields the #22 Caterpillar Dodges for Ward Burton and the #23 Stacker 2 Dodges for Kenny Wallace. Wimmer is scheduled to test his Cup car Monday and Tuesday at Dover.(ThatsRacin.com)(5-18-2003)
  • Flyboy: #31-Robby Gordon completed five laps at Indianapolis Motor Speedway yesterday before rain ended practice and sent Gordon to Lowe’s Motor Speedway for last night’s Winston Open. Gordon is attempting to run the Indy 500 and Coca-Cola 600 on the same day for the fourth time. He has signed a deal with jet and helicopter companies to ensure swift transportation from the Brickyard to Lowe’s Motor Speedway.(Richmond Times Dispatch)(5-18-2003)
  • Park tested by Childress..passes: Richard Childress said he has no qualms about hiring Steve Park to replace Jeff Green: ‘Steve is a proven winner. We tried to pick him back when Dale (Earnhardt) was looking at him. We just want consistency from Steve. We told him, ‘Don’t go out there and put a bunch of pressure on yourself. Just race and have fun. If you do that, the rest will come. Don’t let the pressure get to you.” On the medical issue, Childress says ‘We’ve talked to the doctors and he’s in real good shape, his reflexes and everything are perfect. He’s already got a baseline (mental agility exam at Wake Forest’s Bowman Gray School of Medicine). We may end up getting a new one, but we feel good about where he’s at.'(Winston Salem Journal)(5-18-2003)
  • No More Free Fuel? The identity of the official fuel of NASCAR for 2004 is still not known, but whatever company it is, the gasoline may no longer be free.(Winston Salem Journal)(5-18-2003)

    (5-17-2003)

  • #09 Car? Who drives? been asked, have not heard who will drive the #09 Phoenix Racing Dodge in future races [Daytona and Talladega, maybe Homestead] since Mike Wallace is now with the #01 US Army car.(5-17-2003)
  • Rusty to be on Beyond the Glory: Fox Sports Net will profile Rusty Wallace in an episode of its documentary series “Beyond The Glory.” The one-hour biography of Wallace will premiere Sunday, June 1, at 8:00pm. Fox Sports Net is in the process of putting the finishing touches on the show. It delves into Wallace’s youth growing up and racing cars in St. Louis, his beginnings in NASCAR as a Midwesterner in a Southern sport and his rivalries with Dale Earnhardt and Jeff Gordon. “Beyond The Glory” is a weekly Emmy-nominated sports documentary series that profiles many of the biggest names in the contemporary sports world. The subjects profiled in the series tell their own story in a unique format. Other drivers who have been the subject of “Beyond The Glory” profiles include Dale Earnhardt, Dale Jarrett, Sterling Marlin, Mark Martin, the Petty family and the Waltrip family.(St. Louis Post Dispatch)(5-17-2003)
  • Sad News: Leo “Mac” McCullough, injured April 18 when his car hit a wall head-on after a collision in a stock car race at Ocala (Fla.) Speedway, died May 9, according to news reports. He was 74. Since 1990, there have been at least 306 people killed in U.S. auto racing, according to an Observer study. He is at least the eighth person to die in 2003, and is the oldest driver in the newspaper’s study to die. He is survived by his wife, three children, five grandchildren and one great-grandchild.(ThatsRacin.com)(5-17-2003)
  • Panther Power: The Jasper Motorsports Panther Power paint scheme that will compete at Lowe’s Motor Speedway for the Winston weekend was designed by Timothy G. Freed for Freed Motorsport Designs. Freed Motorsport Designs have been designing unique and distinctive paint schemes and promotional items for race teams since 1996. You can see his work in every major racing series this year with the Jasper Panther Power car in NASCAR, the Roush Racing Odoban car in the Busch Series, the Kenny Brack Pioneer/Miller Lite car in the Indy Racing League, the Michel Jourdain Jr. Gigante car in the CART series, and the Danica Patrick Argent car in the Toyota Atlantic Series.(see the image on my Paint Scheme Gallery Chart/Page)(5-17-2003)
  • Testing to be banned in 2004? Bruton Smith believes NASCAR will ban testing next year to help contain costs. NASCAR limited teams to five tests this year at Winston Cup tracks, sending many to ovals in Lakeland, Fla., and Sparta, Ky. “It’s very simple,” said Smith, whose company owns six tracks that play host to Winston Cup races. “If you’re going to California and you want to test, you come in one day early so you don’t make another trip. That would free up these teams an awful lot and save millions and millions of dollars. This sport is expensive to begin with. You can’t continually add expense to it.”(Richmond Times Dispatch)(5-17-2003)
  • More on Carbon Monoxide Filter System: NASCAR is close to approving a carbon monoxide filter system for Winston Cup cars as well as escape hatches on the cars’ roofs. Gary Nelson, NASCAR’s managing director of competition, said Friday he believes the carbon monoxide system, called a catalyst and based on space technology used to clean air, will be available for use in the Winston Cup series in the coming weeks. Nelson would not put a definite timetable on approval, but said drivers wanting to test the system in a race leading up to its official approval were welcome to do so. Track safety workers at all NASCAR tracks are also being trained on detecting symptoms of carbon monoxide poisoning, so drivers can be treated effectively, Nelson said.(ThatsRacin.com, see past news on my Safety News page)(5-17-2003)
  • More on Roof Hatches: Roof escapes, which have been promoted by some of the series’ larger drivers who have a more difficult time exiting cars following crashes, should be available for use by the end of the season, Nelson said. One of Nelson’s engineers at NASCAR’s research and development center came up with the idea currently being tested on the escape hatch, which utilizes a pull-cord to allow two different ways of opening the hatch. The roof hatch will be optional, not required.(ThatsRacin.com, see past news on my Safety News page)(5-17-2003)
  • Drivers beat Media: A team of drivers and athletes from other sports defeated a media team 59-38 in the Hoops for Hope charity basketball game hosted by Elliott Sadler at UNCC’s Halton Arena Thursday night. The event raised money for the Autism Society of America.(ThatsRacin.com), see photos of the event at The Sadler Bother Fanclub site.(5-17-2003)

    (5-16-2003)

  • Data Wanted from NASCAR: Dan Davis, the head of Ford’s racing division, said he still hasn’t been told what happened in Jerry Nadeau’s crash at Richmond two weeks ago, and he’s calling for a more open investigation, including a complete reconstruction of the accident and a computer analysis of the possible G-forces on Nadeau’s head and body through computer simulation. “What I would like to do with the Nadeau thing – and we have not been involved up ’til now in any great degree – is let’s go analyze what happened,” Davis said yesterday during a tour of NASCAR race shops. ‘Let’s computer-model that situation. “I don’t know how his head hit, I don’t know the actual physics of what occurred. But it would seem to me it would be important to understand the physics of what occurred. I have a vested interest, no matter who the driver is. We will do everything we’re allowed to do, and we will push as hard as we can.”(Winston Salem Journal)(5-16-2003)
  • Air Bags? Would side impact air bags have helped protect Jerry Nadeau better? “We did look at air bags about six or seven years ago, in TransAm, and there are a lot of issues,’ Dan Davis, the head of Ford’s racing division, said. “The more you tried to make that work, the more you found there were situations where it didn’t work. There was a crash test done, there were systems being designed. But the further we got into the program the more nervous we got about it working. For example – multiple hits. How does the bag react?”(Winston Salem Journal)(5-16-2003)
  • Drivers May Soon Have Cleaner Air in Their Cars: NASCAR is close to approving an air-purifying system for racecars to reduce the carbon-monoxide fumes to which drivers are exposed. Gary Nelson, NASCAR’s managing director for competition, said today [Thursday] that a new system, called a catalyst, could be installed in the passenger compartments of cars in time for the Coca-Cola 600 on May 25 here at Lowe’s Motor Speedway. NASCAR began studying carbon-monoxide exposure when Rick Mast, a longtime driver, stopped racing last year after learning he had chronic and acute carbon-monoxide poisoning, which causes headaches, nausea and dizziness. Nelson said some details must be worked out before the system was approved, but he said he wanted the catalysts available by the Coca-Cola 600. It is the only 600-mile race on the schedule and exposes drivers to carbon monoxide for a longer period. Even if the catalysts are available, Nascar officials will make them optional, not mandatory. NASCAR also will continue to test drivers’ carbon-monoxide levels before and after races. The tests are voluntary, with 5 to 10 drivers tested each race. Nelson said that he would not reveal the results of the tests until Nascar’s study is complete, but that carbon-monoxide levels found in drivers were not dangerously high.(New York Times may be to register to read)(5-16-2003)
  • 2003 Legends in Racing Inductees: The dean of American motorsport journalists leads a class of six inductees into Legends in Racing, the hall of fame of the American Auto Racing Writers and Broadcasters Association (AARWBA). Also elected is a man who set several land speed records and was a drag racing pioneer, the only one of the Chevrolet brothers to race in the Indianapolis 500, a pre- and post-war sprint car builder, a three-time Winston Cup champion, and the King of the Outlaws. The six inductees: Chris Economaki, Art Arfons, Arthur Chevrolet, Floyd “Pop” Dreyer, Darrell Waltrip and Steve Kinser. Economaki and Arfons both easily won election this year. The other four made it in under “Rule Two” which elects the one top vote-getter in a category under a reduced minimum if nobody in that category meets the first standard. Both Chevrolet and Dreyer were elected because they tied in the Historic Non-Driver vote. Unusual this year was that someone was elected in each of the five categories.(AARWBA PR)(5-16-2003)
  • Stewart, Earnhardt Jr., 3 Doors Down music video: on Monday night, March 10th in Concord, NC, Dale Earnhardt Jr. and Tony Stewart filmed a music video for the band 3 Doors Down. 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 red Jeep Wrangler when Earnhardt Jr. 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 [along with a late model race]. They circle the track a few times and tear off into the woods again. For the links to the video (Real Audio or Window’s Media formats) see the Drivers/NASCAR Personalities On TV section of my Driver Appearances page(pretty cool video by the way).(5-16-2003)

    (5-15-2003)

  • Going to Charlotte for the races? check out Sam Bass and…: The walls of the Sam Bass art gallery, located less than a lap away from Lowe’s Motor Speedway’s high-banked oval, are alive with vivid recollections of racing’s most exciting and endearing events. Visitors are often overcome with a sense of time frozen in place as they view the paintings – as if Jeff Gordon’s first win were only yesterday; Richard Petty’s seventh championship had just happened; and Mark Martin is just beginning to celebrate his $1 million victory in the Coca-Cola 600. Individual moments, protected from the present behind the glass plates of their frames, hang in anticipation of being freed by the imagination of race fans. The Sam Bass Gallery displays dozens of examples of team graphics packages and car paint schemes he has designed. The 10,000-square-foot building on Performance Drive in Concord that is currently home to the Sam Bass collection of original paintings and fine art, limited-edition prints also gives visitors a look at some of the artist’s rare personal racing mementos such as historic sheet metal, driver helmets and uniforms. A tour of the Sam Bass Gallery is a pilgrimage thousands of race fans a year eagerly anticipate. Adjacent to Lowe’s Motor Speedway, the gallery is open from 10:00am to 5:00pm/et, Monday through Saturday, year round. Visit www.sambass.com on the Internet or phone 800/556-5464 for more information. Admission is free. Tours may be arranged through the gallery coordinator.
    ALSO: check out the North Carolina Auto Racing Hall of Fame and Memory Lane Museum, both in Mooresville, NC (15-20 minutes from the track) and to check out Team Race Shops, see my Team Address page.(5-15-2003)
  • North Carloina Governor declares May ‘Motorsports Month: Gov. Mike Easley declared May “Motorsports Month in North Carolina” on Thursday, another gimmick in the state’s campaign to keep NASCAR from moving its annual all-star race. The Winston has been held at Lowe’s Motor Speedway 16 straight years, and all but once in event history. But NASCAR has been toying with the idea of rotating the non-points race to other venues. So city and business leaders launched a $650,000 campaign this spring aimed at convincing NASCAR the event should stay where it is.(Charlotte Observer/AP)(5-15-2003)
  • Escape Hatch Proposed: The extensive injuries suffered by Winston Cup driver Jerry Nadeau in a crash at Richmond International Raceway this month have some of the series’ physically bigger drivers talking to NASCAR about escape hatches. Similar to the setup found in the roofs of NHRA Funny Car bodies, the hatch idea for NASCAR was proposed last summer by native Texan Bobby Labonte. #38-Elliott Sadler, who is 6-foot-2 and 195 pounds, said the idea definitely has merit. “I would really like to see that come, being a big guy,” said Sadler, driver of the No. 38 Ford Taurus at Robert Yates Racing. “I cannot sit here and tell you that if my car hits driver-side and catches on fire, that I can get out of the right side. It’s an easy thing to do in the shop when there is no panic, but if there’s a fire or something going on, I think it would be hard to do that. I would really like to see the hatches be put in place.” Exiting a Cup car in duress has become increasingly difficult since NASCAR mandated use of the HANS Device.(Fort Worth Star Telegram)(5-15-2003)
  • RCR Museum Opens Friday: North Carolina Governor Mike Easley will give remarks and make presentation to Richard Childress Thursday afternoon as part of opening ceremonies for RCR Museum & Gift Shop, which opens to the public Friday, May 16, at 9:00am/et at Richard Childress Racing, 239 Industrial Drive, Welcome, N.C.. (336) 731-2208, see past news on this and what the museum will be like at my Hall of Fame/Museum Links and News page.(5-15-2003)
  • NASCAR says deal on title sponsor isn’t close: A NASCAR spokesman said Wednesday it would be premature to name any company as a leading candidate to replace R.J. Reynolds Tobacco as title sponsor of the Winston Cup series. “In terms of finalizing any kind of a deal, I see another 60 days minimum,” said Jim Hunter, vice president of corporate communications for NASCAR. “There are serious conversations going on, but as far as putting a timetable on it, I don’t think we can.” Earlier this year RJR officials confirmed they had told NASCAR that if another title sponsor could be found the tobacco company would step aside despite the fact it last year signed a five-year contract extension. Discussion about a new sponsor will likely be part of the upcoming weekend at Lowe’s Motor Speedway, where RJR is also the sponsor of The Winston all-star race scheduled for Saturday night. McDonald’s, Coca-Cola, Gillette and Visa are among the companies that have been named as possible candidates to replace RJR in the title sponsor’s role. Speculation that VISA has emerged as a front-runner has picked up in recent days, but Hunter said Wednesday that was not true. A Visa spokesperson declined to comment. Dean Bonham, president of The Bonham Group, a Denver-based sports-marketing agency, said he thinks NASCAR offers a potential sponsor on of the most attractive demographics in professional sports. “The NASCAR demographic is more diversified than many people realize,” Bohnam said. “It’s broad in terms of age, income and education, and its fans are much better educated and have a higher income than most people realize.”(ThatsRacin.com)(5-15-2003)
  • Jesse Jackson Defends NASCAR Work: The Rev. Jesse Jackson tells NASCAR Winston Cup Scene this week that he got involved with NASCAR to help bring more diversity to the sport and says the sanctioning body has shown a commitment to providing more opportunities to minorities. “We reached out to [NASCAR] because of so many black drivers and engineers who couldn’t get in,” the civil rights activist says in an exclusive interview with contributing writer Doug Johnson. “We wanted to open up the industry…. Race car driving is an American sport. And African-Americans are part of that one big tent of American interest…. I think that there is now a very definite commitment [by NASCAR]. I think they appreciate the undercapped market and the untapped talent.”(Winston Cup Scene Daily Newsletter, there is also a full column by Doug Johnson in this weeks magazine)(5-15-2003)
  • Buyout of RJR? The latest on the rumored buyout of R.J. Reynolds Tobacco by British-American Tobacco – RJR has been cutting back considerably on its sports marketing and has also shut down what it has termed “lifestyle” marketing, promotions in places such as bowling alleys, pool halls and bars. RJR has also shut down its convenience-store program, where a customer in to buy Marlboros, for example, would be offered free packs of Winstons as an incentive to change brands.(Winston Salem Journal)(5-15-2003)
  • Atwood up for a Busch ride? Casey Atwood may be a candidate for a Busch Series ride as FitzBradshaw Racing studies the possibility of adding a partial schedule for a second team, this week’s NASCAR Winston Cup Scene reports. Busch Series Editor Rick Houston reports that team owner Armando Fitz has talked to Atwood, who has been out of racing since leaving the joint Winston Cup effort of Jim Smith and Ray Evernham last year. The story says former Busch Series competitor Tim Fedewa is another possibility for the car that would be sponsored by JaniKing in at least five races. The story goes on to say that rumors say Kerry Earnhardt job has been rumored to be in jeopardy but owner Fitz denies it, also the story says Earnhardt may be looking elsewhere for a ride in 2004.(Winston Cup Scene Daily Newsletter)(5-15-2003)
  • GM Boss to Retire: General Motors announced Wednesday that Herb Fishel, executive director of GM Racing, will go on special assignment to GM Service and Parts Operations on June 1 and retire Sept. 1. Doug Duchardt, group manager for GM Racing’s oval track group, will assume Fishel’s responsibilities at GM Racing effective June 1. Pat Suhy Jr., an engineer at GM Powertrain, will replace Duchardt. Duchardt, 39, has been responsible since 1999 for all program management and technical development for engines, chassis and aerodynamics for the Chevrolet and Pontiac entries in NASCAR’s Winston Cup, Busch and Craftsman Truck series.(Winston Cup Scene Daily Newsletter)(5-15-2003)
  • Cleaning Up: Clean Control Corp., which manufacturers a disinfectant called OdoBan Odor Eliminator, sent all Winston Cup and Busch series teams its product to help battle viruses. As the world deals with the threat of SARS, the company, which sponsors Stanton Barrett’s car on the Busch Series, decided it would be good business to give its racing competitors gallons of the product.(Augusta Chronicle)(5-15-2003)
  • Alcohol to be watched: Law enforcement officials plan to crack down on alcohol and drug violations during the upcoming races at Lowe’s Motor Speedway, sources said. The Alcohol Law Enforcement Agency, the Cabarrus County Sheriff’s Department and the Concord Police Department will target vendors selling alcohol to minors and bartenders who over-serve patrons. Alcohol Law Enforcement Agency Agent Joe Barringer said ALE plans to use at least four teen-agers to be sent in to local businesses to try and buy alcohol from vendors.(Independent Tribune)(5-15-2003)
  • CART Driver to NASCAR: Confirming months of speculation about his future in motorsports, Toyota Atlantic star driver Rocky Moran Jr. has signed a management contract with Motorsports Management International, all but assuring that a move to NASCAR is in the cards for the two-time Toyota Atlantic race winner. Moran, Jr., son of multiple Indy 500 starter and CART veteran Rocky Moran, Sr., has been in the news lately for his essays on the state of American open-wheel racing. His views, shared by a majority of drivers, express the difficulty for a young American to break into CART because of a growing sentiment of car owners to accept money from less talented foreign drivers, leaving many young Americans out of a ride for the 2003 racing season. For Moran, Jr., he now looks to NASCAR as his next home. Moran, Jr., who has finished in the top-five in the Toyota Atlantic Championship, the top feeder system into CART, two of the last three years has already fielded opportunities from Trucks and Busch Series teams.(Insider Racing News)(5-15-2003)
  • Testing at Kentucky UPDATE: on Wednesday, May 14th four drivers will test. Two Cup drivers: #30-Steve Park and Hank Park Jr in an Evernham Motorsports Dodge. And two testing Busch cars: #23-Scott Wimmer and Eric McClure for Morgan McClure Racing. On Tuesday, #88-Dale Jarrett tested two cars at Kentucky, one of which will be on the track at Charlotte in The Winston. The team also documented aero performance notes for the upcoming Coca-Cola 600 to be held at Charlotte in two weeks.(Kentucky Speedway PR)(5-14-2003)
    UPDATE: Drivers making Winston Cup Series research and development runs at Kentucky Speedway included Scott Wimmer in the Bill Davis Racing R&D #23 Dodge, Eric McClure in the #4 Kodak R&D machine, Damon Lusk in the Ultra Motorsports #7 Sirius Dodge and Hank Parker, Jr., in the #91 Evernham Motorsports R&D Dodge.(Kentucky Speedway PR)(5-15-2003)
  • Going to Charlotte for the race? check out Sam Bass and…: The walls of the Sam Bass art gallery, located less than a lap away from Lowe’s Motor Speedway’s high-banked oval, are alive with vivid recollections of racing’s most exciting and endearing events. Visitors are often overcome with a sense of time frozen in place as they view the paintings – as if Jeff Gordon’s first win were only yesterday; Richard Petty’s seventh championship had just happened; and Mark Martin is just beginning to celebrate his $1 million victory in the Coca-Cola 600. Individual moments, protected from the present behind the glass plates of their frames, hang in anticipation of being freed by the imagination of race fans. The Sam Bass Gallery displays dozens of examples of team graphics packages and car paint schemes he has designed. The 10,000-square-foot building on Performance Drive in Concord that is currently home to the Sam Bass collection of original paintings and fine art, limited-edition prints also gives visitors a look at some of the artist’s rare personal racing mementos such as historic sheet metal, driver helmets and uniforms. A tour of the Sam Bass Gallery is a pilgrimage thousands of race fans a year eagerly anticipate. Adjacent to Lowe’s Motor Speedway, the gallery is open from 10:00am to 5:00pm/et, Monday through Saturday, year round. Visit www.sambass.com on the Internet or phone 800/556-5464 for more information. Admission is free. Tours may be arranged through the gallery coordinator.
    ALSO: check out the North Carolina Auto Racing Hall of Fame and Memory Lane Museum, both in Mooresville, NC (15-20 minutes from the track) and to check out Team Race Shops, see my Team Address page.(5-15-2003)


    (5-14-2003)

  • What happens to Park and Chance 2? Been asked….UPDATE Park out, Parker In: Steve Park’s departure last week from DEI has created a chance for another driver in DEI’s affiliated Busch Series team. When Park was released it created a four-race vacancy in the seat of #8/81 Chance 2 Motorsports’ Chevy that owners Teresa Earnhardt and Dale Earnhardt Jr. field in select Busch Series events. A DEI spokesman said that the organization was close to naming a driver for the next race the team was supposed to do, the CARQUEST Auto Parts 300 next week at Lowe’s Motor Speedway. Chance 2 started the season with an approximate 14-race program: Three races for Earnhardt, five for Park (Las Vegas, Michigan in August [Tont Stewart?], Kansas and Atlanta), and six for Martin Truex Jr.(ran #81 at Richmond, others scheduled: Dover in June, Richmond, Charlotte in Oct, Rockingham and Homestead). Hermie Sadler is mentioned as one possible driver for Lowe’s as is Hank Parker Jr.(NASCAR.com)(5-13-2003)
    UPDATE: Chance 2 Motorsports, the team co-owned by Teresa Earnhardt and Dale Earnhardt Jr., will enter driver Hank Parker Jr. in the Charlotte Busch race. Parker Jr. also is scheduled to be in the car for three other Busch races this season, ThatsRacin.com has learned. Former Dale Earnhardt Inc. driver Steve Park was scheduled to run four races in that car, but was released from the team last week.(ThatsRacin.com), should call it Team Junior: Dale Jr, Martin Jr and Hank Jr.(5-14-2003)
  • Biffle to run Lowe’s Busch race: Roush Racing confirmed that reigning Busch Series champion Greg Biffle would be in the Carquest 300 at Lowe’s Motor Speedway in the #9 Ford. That car was fielded with Winston Cup driver Jeff Burton last season in Busch competition.(ThatsRacin.comAND Greg Biffle is set to make his first Busch Series start since wrapping up the 2002 championship at Homestead-Miami Speedway on Nov. 16. The event: the Carquest Auto Parts 300 at Lowe’s Motor Speedway on May 24. The car: the #9 Uh-Oh! Oreo Ford prepared by Roush Racing. Kraft Foods North America is extending its partnership with Roush Racing, taking the opportunity to introduce one of its newest products to race fans with a one-race sponsorship of the #9 Uh-Oh! Oreo Ford Taurus. Kraft Foods’ involvement with Roush Racing also consists of the Team Kraft sponsorship, which includes an associate sponsorship of Biffle along with teammates Mark Martin, Matt Kenseth, Jeff Burton and Kurt Busch in the Winston Cup Series. The #50 Craftsman Truck Series team will setup the car and service it throughout the weekend with Jon Monsam performing the crew chief duties.(Roush Racing PR)(5-14-2003)
  • NHRA hires from DEI: Last week, defending NHRA Pro Stock champ Jeg Coughlin Jr., brought a new research and development expert aboard. The new employee brings a wealth of racing knowledge with him — especially in the NASCAR Winston Cup Series. Jim Gamache will head up Team Jeg’s R&D efforts and attempt to bring a much-needed boost to their lukewarm season to date. Gamache most recently served as Engineering Manager for Dale Earnhardt Inc., where he and Team Manager Steve Hmeil supervised the engine, vehicle dynamics and powertrain elements for the organization. Gamache also brings an impressive drag racing background to the table, having worked for long-time Pro Stock engine supplier Reher & Morrison some 20 years ago.(ESPN)(5-14-2003)
  • Leather at DEI: Wilsons Leather announced that it will unveil an exclusive line of Dale Earnhardt Incorporated products, beginning today in all of its 478 mall stores and 111 outlet stores. The products, including leather jackets and accessories bearing the marks of Dale Earnhardt Jr., the Dale Earnhardt Legacy program and NASCAR, will be sold exclusively through Wilsons Leather stores nationwide as well as on its website www.wilsonsleather.com.(NewsStream)(5-14-2003)
  • Bodine’s at The Glen… Native sons Geoffrey and Brett Bodine will return to Watkins Glen International to co-drive a Daytona Prototype in the June 20-22 Sahlen’s Sports Car Grand Prix. The pair will join Darren Law in the 95.1 The NerVe/Sahlen’s G&W BMW Picchio for the Sahlen’s Six Hours of The Glen, marking the first time the Chemung drivers have driven together in their careers. The Daytona Prototypes are the Grand American Rolex Sports Car Series new lead class and will be coming to Watkins Glen International for the first time. Geoffrey won in his first sports car race at The Glen, joining Jack Baldwin behind the wheel of a Camaro in taking GTO honors in the 1986 Camel Continental. Brett’s first trip around The Glen was as driver of the Ford pace car for the 1985 New York 500. His best finish in 14 Winston Cup races here was a third in 1990, trailing only Ricky Rudd and his brother, Geoffrey. Tickets for the Sahlen’s Sports Car Grand Prix, as well as the entire 2003 racing season at Watkins Glen International, are now available by calling The Glen’s ticket office at 607-535-2481 or online at www.theglen.com.(Watkins Glen International PR)(5-14-2003)
  • Tennesse NASCAR Tags: A NASCAR-themed specialty license plate that will give a bulk of its proceeds to the Tennessee State Museum is racing toward becoming reality in the legislature. Already approved by the House, the plate gained unanimous approval of the Senate Finance Committee yesterday. Now it needs only full Senate approval. Under the unusual arrangement, the Tennessee State Museum would get 65% of the plate’s annual proceeds: at least $22,750 a year. A minimum 1,000 people must sign up and pay in advance for the plates before they are designed and sold. The bill is sponsored by Sen. Micheal Williams, R-Maynardville, a NASCAR fan, and by Sen. Douglas Henry, D-Nashville, a patron of the museum. The museum is looking for money after losing $228,500 to budget cuts, including $92,100 that it said it needs to buy artifacts to preserve the state’s history. Museum executive director Lois Riggins-Ezzell said the match may be a stretch but is not that unnatural. The museum helped build the Tennessee Sports Hall of Fame at the downtown arena and owns the sports collection there, she said.(Tennessean), past info on this at my Collectible Links/News page.(5-14-2003)
  • Casey Mears to run four ARCA races Chip Ganassi Racing with Felix Sabates driver #41-Casey Mears will compete in four ARCA races starting at Lowe’s Motor Speedway on May 21, 2003. The remaining three races will include Pocono (June 7), Michigan (June 14), and Pocono (July 26). Mears will drive a Target Dodge in all four races. In order to obtain existing owner’s points, Braun Racing will enter Mears’ #77 Target Dodge for the ARCA races. Matt Chambers, CGR test team manager, will serve as crew chief and the crew will be compiled of the CGR test team.(Chip Ganassi Racing with Felix Sabates PR)(5-14-2003)
  • Announcement ‘Fuels’ Speculation: With NASCAR’s current fuel supplier announcing intentions to make its way out of the sport at the end of this year, there’s little wonder that the engine builders in the sport are showing some early anxiety signs. Fuel, which in NASCAR-style racing dictates engine builds, is one of the often-overlooked commodities in racing. Tosco [76], the current supplier, offers remarkable consistency from track-to-track. Therefore, it’s very easy for engine builders to take the engine to the limit every week. In this costly process, all of the fuel used in NASCAR’s top series is made in one Texas-based refinery, then shipped directly to each track for dispensing to the teams gives the teams. But with a new entry on the horizon, that could change. However, NASCAR Winston Cup Director John Darby gives an emphatic “No” to a change in blending from the new official supplier, which is scheduled to be named sometime later this year. “Our goal in bringing a new fuel supplier on board would be that the competitors realize there’s a different sign at the fuel pumps and everything else is the same as it’s always been,” Darby said regarding his goals for the supplier change. “A lot of that process is going on now with the fuel suppliers that we’re talking to, which there are a number of right now,” said Darby. “One of things they’re most amazed about is the accuracy and consistency of our current fuel from track-to-track-to-track all the way across the country. Darby told TFR that NASCAR hasn’t given out a recipe or formula for the fuel to any possible supplier, adding, “We’re not chemists. Anybody can go get a fuel sample from any one of our race tracks and they can figure that out. We don’t need to do that for them.” Darby added a “No,” reply to a possible switch to a no-lead blend during the changing of the fuel guard.(Ford Racing)(5-14-2003)
  • Testing at Dover: A trio of racers (one Winston Cup and two Busch Series), will be testing at Dover International Speedway on Monday and Tuesday, May 19-20. #22-Ward Burton of the Winston Cup Series, and #23-Scott Wimmer and #18-Coy Gibbs of the Busch Series will be on the Monster Mile those two days. No word on if testing is open to the public.( Dover International Speedway PR)(5-14-2003)
  • Chevy TV Commercial: hearing that filming of a new Chevrolet commercial wraps up this week at Atlanta Motor Speedway. The commercial will prominently feature the #8, #18, #24, & #29 Chevys. The commercial should begin airing sometime this summer.(5-14-2003)
  • Shepherd on TV: A filmed segment featuring veteran race car driver, Morgan Shepherd [#89 Ford in Cup], will be aired on Wednesday, May 14th on the ABC Family Channel on the 700 Club television show, which is part of The Christian Broadcasting Network. Shepherd, who has been a Christian since 1979, uses his race car and truck to display his love of God with “Racing With Jesus” in bold letters on the hood. Recently Shepherd has been competing in the NASCAR Busch Series, driving for team owner Johnny Davis but plans to run at Charlotte in his own Winston Cup car in the Winston Open. This TV special on Morgan will air at 10:00am/et, 11:00pm/et and again at 2:00am/et [the 15th] and on the Trinity Broadcasting Network (TBN) at 3:00pm/et.(Catchfence)(5-13-2003)
  • NASCAR fan pleads in e-mail barrage: A NASCAR fan who flooded Fox with angry e-mails after a Red Sox game pre-empted an auto race pleaded guilty to a misdemeanor charge Tuesday. Michael Melo acknowledged that he fired off more than a half-million e-mail messages to WFXT-TV 25 in Boston after the Red Sox game was broadcast instead of a NASCAR race in 2001. The e-mail messages were automatically forwarded to Fox-25’s Los Angeles parent company, Fox Entertainment. The network, thinking it was a hacker attack, shut down Internet communication with the affiliate and was forced to spend about $36,000 to clean up the barrage. Melo pleaded guilty to a federal misdemeanor charge of damage to a protected computer system. Under a plea agreement, the government recommended a sentence of six months’ confinement in a halfway house. Melo’s sentencing is Aug. 12. After the hearing, Melo and his lawyer, Andrew Good, declined comment.(ThatsRacin.com/AP)(5-14-2003)
  • Where’s Mongo Contest: You, your dog and a guest could win a VIP weekend at MIS for the SIRIUS 400 NASCAR Winston Cup Series event on Father’s Day weekend, June 14-15. The lucky winner will enjoy a VIP weekend at MIS which includes: A chance to be a part of pre- and post-race ceremonies for the June 15 SIRIUS 400, passes to the SIRIUS luxury suite, hotel accommodations, an opportunity to meet Jimmy Spencer and the entire #7 SIRIUS crew, SIRIUS gear to wear all weekend and kennel accommodations for “Mongo” during the weekend.(MIS PR), see more on the contest on my Racing Contest page.(5-14-2003)
  • CITGO Launches Peel Out, Reel In and Win! Million Dollar Challenge: CITGO Petroleum Corporation announced plans to roll out its second annual “Peel Out, Reel In & Win! Million Dollar Challenge” that could result in two grand prize winner millionaires in the fall of 2003. More than $250,000 in additional consumer prizes will be awarded in the national promotion, which runs from May 23 through July 6, 2003. The grand prize winner will be drawn on September 15, 2003, to participate in the selection of one of the challenges, and the big chance to win the $1,000,000.(Cox Marketing PR), for more info on the contest, see my Racing Contests page, also a special paint scheme will be run, not sure what, see an image of the car on my Paint Scheme Gallery.(5-13-2003)
    UPDATE: the scheme will be run in the Coca-Cola 600 at Lowe’s Motor Speedway on May 25th.(5-14-2003)


    (5-13-2003)

  • Humpy Picks Johnson: H.A. “Humpy” Wheeler, president and general manager of Lowe’s Motor Speedway, today predicted #48-Jimmie Johnson will win Saturday night’s 19th running of The Winston and claim the $1 million first-place prize. Wheeler, known for his promotional flare and Karnac-type ability, has correctly picked the winner of NASCAR’s all-star event eight times in the past 14 years. “I’m going to ruffle some feathers on this,” said Wheeler. “These picks are not pulled out of some black hat. During the recent test session, I watched guys run into the corners and studied where they got back on the throttle. Most any idiot can run down a straightaway! But this is a real tough track and past winners of The Winston know how to get into the turns with a bunch of guys breathin’ hot radiators down their back,” Wheeler explained. “There are guys that can get in and out of the turns fast by themselves and are good qualifiers but don’t do so hot when the big-toothed dogs are bitin’ at ’em.” Johnson and his Lowe’s Home Improvement Warehouse team had an impressive test at the 1.5-mile superspeedway two weeks ago, posting the second-fastest speed during the two-night session. In addition, the young California native was impressive in last May’s events, including The Winston. “All of that is why I’m picking Jimmie Johnson to win this year,” Wheeler said. “He runs very strong here and was one of the fastest in testing. I liked the way he dug into the turns. He looked like Jeff Gordon-running deep and keeping it smooth.” Though not really a dark horse, Wheeler said #8-Dale Earnhardt Jr. is his “Wildcard” pick if Johnson doesn’t get the job done. For The Winston Open, the final transfer spot into The Winston, Wheeler predicts veteran #99-Jeff Burton will win and move into the big show.(LMS PR)(5-13-2003)
  • Special Paint for the #22 at The Winston: This year’s Winston All-Star event will mark the fourth straight season that Ward Burton, driver of the #22 Caterpillar Dodge, will compete in the race that features NASCAR’s most recent winners from it’s elite series – Winston Cup. Burton earned his place in the event through his wins last season, the Daytona 500 and the New Hampshire 300. It is typical of most teams to use the Winston to showcase a special paint scheme and the Caterpillar team is no different. The #22 will showcase ACERT Technology, a standard feature being offered by the CAT Engine division. ACERT Technology is a breakthrough technology for on-highway diesel truck engines that meet compliant emissions regulations while maintaining reliability, durability and fuel economy. It is comes standard on five engine models in a range of 190-550 H.P. When the line of engines meets full production in October, it will culminate over 10 million miles of testing. The #22 Caterpillar Dodge will sparkle with silver and black as it competes in NASCAR’s All Star event under the lights at Lowe’s Motor Speedway.(Bill Davis Racing PR), see images of the car and other special Winton and Winston Open schemes on my Paint Scheme Gallery.(5-13-2003)
  • #11 Crew Member Injured: #11 Hooters crew member, Brent Glastetter was injured Friday evening while racing in a dirt modified event at Buffalo, SC. He is in Carolinas Medical Center awaiting surgery for injuries to his arm.(BBR PR)(5-13-2003)
  • Kenseth Commercial: #17-Matt Kenseth will be featured in television commercials to promote responsible drinking. The Smirnoff Ice Triple Black spots begin Monday. The commercials depict Kenseth arriving at a party in his #17 Ford. He slides out the window and reaches back to grab a six-pack of Triple Black. As he walks away, his pit crew rushes to the car, strips off the tires and places it on blocks. The pit crew then leaves, rolling the tires and carrying the steering wheel.(Rocky Mountain Times)(5-13-2003)
  • Future Cup team? TWG Motorsports, owned by Wright Group Event Services of Denver, has its sights set on joining the Winston Cup Series in a few years. President Tom Wright, president of both companies, said he hopes to move Tim Schendel, currently on the International Truck and Small Engine Tour, into the Craftsman Truck Series next year, then the Busch Series and, finally, Winston Cup. “We are putting together the marketing partners to make that all work,” Wright said. “We want to move him up to Busch within two years minimum, then Winston Cup. We’re shooting for within two years to do that. So we’re pretty aggressive.”(Rocky Mountain Times)(5-13-2003)
  • TRAC gets some funding:Team Sports Entertainment, parent company of Team Racing Auto Circuit (TRAC), announced today that it has completed a private placement of $900,250 in convertible notes. To date the company has received $376,000 of the $900,250 financial commitment with the balance due on May 31, 2003. The notes can be converted, at the holder’s option, into common stock at a conversion price of $0.20 per share. The financing announced today was completed under the same terms as the note holder agreement announced on August 26, 2002. With the financing announced today and the amount raised last August, the total raised pursuant to the convertible notes is $3,170,250. The net proceeds of the offering will be used to fund working capital requirements of the company pending the anticipated receipt of cash proceeds from the sale of team operating rights over the next several months.(TRAC PR), see more on my TRAC page.(5-13-2003)
  • Woman wins breakfast with the King: Marie Mullins, 38, is one of two national winners who will be having breakfast Thursday with NASCAR legendary driver-owner Richard Petty in his hometown of Level Cross, NC. “It was a total shock,” Mullins said. “I really didn’t think it was possible to win.” Mullins won the Pillsbury Grands! Biscuit contest after submitting an entry before December. She said she saw the contest advertised in a Port Charlotte [FL] Publix. She was notified in a March 5 letter that she had won the contest, which allows her to treat three guests — sons Christopher, Michael and Timothy — to breakfast with the 65-year-old champion, nicknamed “The King” by his peers during a driving career that ended after the 1992 season. Then they will tour Petty Enterprises and the Petty Museum. According to the itinerary provided by Pillsbury, Mullins said, a limousine is scheduled to pick up her and the boys from the hotel at 6 a.m. for the 7:45 a.m. breakfast. “From what I understand, his (Petty’s) whole team is going to be there,” she said. “The boys are going absolutely crazy over it.” Mullins used some of the $1,000 in spending money she received to spring for an airplane ticket to fly husband Sid to North Carolina to enjoy the family vacation as well. All will attend The Winston at Lowe’s Motor Speedway on Saturday, which she said includes a tour of the pit before the race. The five regularly watch races on television and have their favorites: Richard Petty’s son, Kyle, and John Andretti, both drivers for Petty Enterprises. Andretti drives the #43 Dodge car owned by Richard Petty.(See full story at the Sun Herald)(5-13-2003)
  • Bodine Announces Licencing Partner: Romawat Racing, makers of one-of-a-kind, custom stained glass artwork, is pleased to announce a licensing partnership with Brett Bodine Racing. As a result, they are now able to offer a beautiful stained glass panel of the NASCAR Winston Cup #11 Hooters Ford driven by Brett Bodine. The design shows the #11 Hooters Ford set into a checkered flag backdrop. The entire piece is constructed of high-quality art and cathedral glasses which were selected for their color, pattern, and reflective qualities. All work is done by hand and no piece gets released unless its meets meticulous standards. Because each glass is constructed by hand with carefully selected art glass, each piece is individually numbered and will be a unique and special work of art. More information at www.romawat-racing.com.(PR)(5-13-2003)

    (5-12-2003)

  • Mayfield to drive truck at Charlotte: Ultra Motorsports owner Jim Smith announced that Jeremy Mayfield will drive the team’s third Dodge Ram entry in the inaugural Truck Series race at Lowe’s Motor Speedway this Friday night. Mayfield tested the #7 Dodge for Ultra Motorsports last week at the 1.5-mile speedway. Jimmy Spencer, who drives Smith’s #7 Winston Cup Dodge Intrepid, was scheduled to drive, but soreness in his ribs from a hard crash at Richmond International Raceway two weeks ago prevented him from testing the truck last week. Mayfield will be driving the #7 American Tire Distributors Dodge, the third truck in an elite lineup of Ultra Motorsports entries. Friday night’s Hardee’s 200 is slated to start at 8:30pm/et and will be televised live on SPEED.(Golin Harris PR)(5-12-2003)
  • Park and Green short timers only? Silly Season doesn’t get any better than this: Steve Park and Jeff Green, released last week, were hired almost immediately by each other’s former car owner. Now Park is in the #30 AOL Chevy, owned by Richard Childress, and Green is in the #1 Pennzoil Chevy, owned by Teresa Earnhardt of Dale Earnhardt Inc. So who gets the best of this embarrassing blockbuster, a trade of two drivers outside the top 30 in points? The boys in the fabrication shop at DEI — because Green doesn’t have a history of crashing cars on his own. Crunch these numbers: Since returning from a head injury last year, Park finished 20th or worse in 34 of 43 races in the #1. Green ran 20th or worse in 32 of 56 races for Childress dating to 2001. Sponsorship for both cars is in question for next season, and it would be a surprise if either driver returns. Green’s contract with DEI runs through the end of September. Expect a Busch Series driver such as Jason Keller or Shane Hmiel to run the last seven races of the season. They, along with IRL driver Sam Hornish, might be candidates for the ride in 2004. Road racing ace Ron Fellows will take over for Green in the two races on road courses.(Sporting News)(5-12-2003)
  • Vasser to Winston Cup in 2004? UPDATEs NOPE: AutoRacing1.com is reporting that CART driver Jimmy Vasser signed last week to run a full season of Winston Cup for 2004.(AutoRacing1.com – need subscription to read), didn’t say which team.(5-7-2003)
    UPDATES: AR1 has learned that the Johansson American Team Spirit Champ Car team has an option on Vasser for next year. Therefore, we [AutoRacing1.com] are downgrading this rumor to speculation. AND[AutoRacing1.com] are downgrading this rumor to ‘false.’ [AutoRacing1.com] spoke to Vasser today who told them that he would love to drive in Winston Cup someday, but right now he is committed to CART and his team and he has not signed a contract to race in Winston Cup in 2004. He reiterated that the Johansson team has an option on him for next year.(AutoRacing1.com)(5-12-2003)
  • Pit Instruction and Training: Pit Instruction and Training, L.L.C. (PIT) announces the acquisition of 5 Off 5 On Race Team Performance in Mooresville, N.C. 5 Off 5 On specializes in training pit crew personnel and offers reality experience packages. Principles from PIT involved in the acquisition include Tom DeLoach, former CFO of Mobil Corporation and President of Global Midstream, Michael Dryman, founder and CEO of IMPACTSports and Jeff Hammond, former NASCAR Winston Cup championship crew chief and current analyst for NASCAR on FOX. The founder of 5 Off 5 On, Breon Klopp, will continue with the organization as Senior Director of Motorsports Development. In addition to training teams and pit crew personnel, 5 Off 5 On also offers a school for those interested in becoming pit crew members. 5 Off 5 On also offers corporate and fan based reality experience packages including special programs for youth. PIT will begin construction of a 24,000 sq. ft. building on 5.5 acres located adjacent to the NASCAR Technical Institute in Mooresville, NC. after finalizing the investor group. The PIT facility will feature a state-of-the-art physical conditioning and rehabilitation facility, multi-purpose training room, therapy room, steam room, motorsports training shop, 98-person auditorium, merchandise shop, locker rooms, catering kitchen, classrooms, offices and more. The PIT campus will include a 1/4-mile track and pit road with six pit stalls, eight-lane competitive running and jogging track, 1/2-mile natural terrain fitness trail, regulation beach volleyball court, natural turf multi-sport training area and 15 garage stalls to store and maintain racing vehicles and equipment. Those interested in pit crew training, a reality based experience or investment opportunities should call (704)799-3869.(Byrnes Enterprises PR)(5-12-2003)

 


 

  • (5-11-2003)

  • Robby Gordon to start 3rd in the Indy 500: Robby Gordon, who will run the ‘double’ – Indy 500 and Coca-Cola 600 on May 25th, qualified 3rd for the Indy 500 at Indianapolis Motor Speedway, with a four lap average of 230.205mph [four laps were 228.829, 230.529, 230.687, 230.778], 24 drivers have made the field…so far. Two time Indy 500 winner Helio Castroneves won the pole with a speed 231.725mph. Qualifying will continue next Sunday to fill the 33 car field.(5-11-2003), wanna go on the double with Robby? check out the Robby Gordon site.
  • Nadeau’s hit the hardest: #01-Jerry Nadeau’s driver’s-side crash didn’t resemble the head-on impacts involving Bobby Hamilton, Derrike Cope and Sterling Marlin last year at Richmond International Raceway. The accident, which put Nadeau in critical condition with head, rib and lung injuries, also was unique for its violence. The wreck ranked as the highest G-force spike reported by one of NASCAR’s “black boxes,” the data recorders installed at the beginning of the 2002 season to measure the impact of crashes by the force of gravity. “It was easily the hardest hit,” said Jim Hunter, NASCAR’s executive vice president for communications. “It was a whopper.” NASCAR doesn’t release the numbers recorded in impacts, but Nadeau’s crash easily exceeded the previous hardest hit of a reported 80 Gs by Kyle Petty’s car at Bristol Motor Speedway in March. The RIR wrecks involving Cope and Marlin reportedly topped 60 Gs, and Hamilton said he was told his truck crash into the Turn 1 wall at the 0.75-mile oval last September registered a hit of 58 Gs. “Jerry’s car did not have any chance to scrub off any speed,” Hunter said. “Normally you hit with a corner of a car. Kyle Petty hit with one corner and then the other before hitting sideways. In Jerry’s case, the car almost hit perfectly flat against the wall.” The driver’s side is one of the most vulnerable areas during a crash because there is little separating the cockpit from the concrete. Gary Nelson, who runs NASCAR’s Research and Development Center in Concord, N.C., is working on a method to cushion the blow. Nelson is building a crash pad at the R&D Center to help gather data.(Richmond Times Dispatch)(5-11-2003)
  • Kenseth wins at Madison: Roy Kenseth’s voice cracked with emotion moments after his son, Matt Kenseth, won the Blain’s Farm and Fleet/Dewalt 100 Friday night at Madison International Speedway. “This is like winning a Cup race. I can’t explain it,” Roy Kenseth said of Matt’s victory in front of about 10,000 spectators at the one-half mile oval. Matt Kenseth, a Cambridge [WI] native and the Winston Cup Series points leader, led 83 laps and took home a $3,000 award. The victory was his 25th at the track and first in seven years. He started sixth in a car built by Kevin Laatsch of Janesville and took the lead from Sun Prairie’s Scott Ollerman on Lap 17. Kenseth’s main competition came from Ollerman and Dave Feiler, former MIS track champions, who had raced against Kenseth before at MIS. Kenseth returned to help MIS celebrate its grand re-opening. Roy Kenseth is the track promoter and Matt was more than happy to help his father pack the stands.(Capital Times)(5-11-2003)
  • Benson wins at Berlin: Johnny Benson Jr. won Saturday night’s Todd Senneker Memorial Race, beating Randy Sweet in a grueling 75-lap shootout at the Berlin Raceway in Marne, MI. It was the second win for Benson at his home track in less than a year since he also won a special event this past August. Sweet, a five-time Berlin track champion, took the lead away from Benson in lapped traffic on lap 49. However, Benson used the lapped car of Dick Trickle to reclaim the lead for good on lap 56. “Obviously, our thoughts are with the Senneker family, and my teammate, Jerry Nadeau. I just feel really fortunate to be able to come here and do something that I really love to do. We have two more races to go this season, and I’m looking forward to them,” Benson said. Benson made his first of three Berlin appearances this weekend. He will return for the June 10 shootout in a field that will include defending Winston Cup champion Tony Stewart. In addition, he will race in Marne on June 28. Todd Senneker was killed in a snowmobiling accident in Feb. of 2002. Saturday’s races also served as a fund raiser for the Todd Senneker Memorial Foundation, and the event raised $5,000. Senneker was the 2001 Berlin Sportsman Rookie of the Year, and the foundation awards a college scholarship to a graduating senior at Wayland High School, where he graduated. His brother, Terry Senneker Jr., found himself without a ride this season, however, his cousin, Rick Senneker, turned his car over to Terry for the race. Terry finished 12th overall.(Michigan Live)(5-11-2003)
  • Offweek – Ramblings: Not much going on with Mr. Lead Lap, tho. When last we checked (it was just two weeks ago) he was in 10th. Well, he ran poorly at California and Richmond but moved into 9th in the standings. He’s got 1282 points and an average finish of 15.6 thus far this season, and when you compare that to 13th in the standings last year at this time (and a 17.3 average finish), their team in on the improve. Don’t look for them in next week’s The Winston, tho…some silly little thing about winning a race or something.
    NASCAR (just to see if we’re paying attention) had over 20% of the field scored in a different position when the results become official on Monday. Do you know what that does to a stats guy? After scratching my head for awhile (and there’s not much up there to prevent bleeding), we can figure it out, but when you’ve got nine drivers with a different point totals it kinda stretches things. Oh, and when we told you last week that Tony Raines had his career-best finish at 15th, you can add a spot to that. He was credited officially with a 14th place effort at Richmond.(more at StockCarFans.Com Winston Cup Newsletter)(5-11-2003)


    (5-10-2003)

  • Softball League Returns: NASCAR race teams prepare for competition in The Race City Resumes.com Totally Racin Softball League. Local Charlotte and Mooresville, NC race teams compete on the softball diamond every Tuesday night at North Mecklenburg Park in Huntersville, NC. The Race City Resumes.com Totally Racin Softball League is heading into its sixth consecutive season of competition with their first games scheduled for Tuesday night May 13 at 6:30pm/et. The Ultra Motorsports Truck Team is looking to defend their 2002 Season Title. The league started in the spring of 1999 with (9) teams, fall 1999 with (7), Spring 2000 with (9), Summer 2001 with (13), Summer 2002 with (16) now Summer 2003 they have (18 and two divisions). The teams are BACE Motorsports, Braun Racing, Chip Ganassi Racing, DEI-Dale Earnhardt, Inc., Hendrick Motorsports, Jasper Motorsports, Joe Gibbs Racing, JR Motorsports, MB2 Motorsports, Race City Resumes, Inc., Robert Yates Engines, Robert Yates Racing #38 & #88, Roush Racing (Winston Cup) Roush Racing (Busch & Truck) Speed Channel, Carolina Camera NASCAR-Media, Ultra Motorsports (Truck) and Champion Tire & Wheel/Sirius Racing. More info at NASCAR Softball League/Racing Resumes site.(5-10-2003)
  • Gordon fastest in Friday’s testing at Indy UPDATE Rain: Add Robby Gordon’s name to the crowded ring of MBNA Pole contenders for the 87th Indianapolis 500, as he led the final practice before qualifications with a lap of 231.362mph on May 9 at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway. Gordon turned his top lap in the #27 Alpine/Archipelago/Motorola Dallara/Honda/Firestone in sunny, warm conditions during the last 30 minutes of practice. He became the fifth different driver to lead one of the six practice days leading up to Pole Day. Qualifying for the MBNA Pole starts at 1:00pm/et Saturday [and will be televised on ABC 1:00-300pm/et, then ESPN 5:00-6:00pm/et, then ESPN2 6:00-700pm/et]. Robbie Buhl is the first driver in the qualifying line – determined in a blind draw after practice Friday – in the #24 Purex/Aventis/Dreyer & Reinbold Dallara/Chevrolet/Firestone. Gordon’s speed was the fifth fastest of the event, marking him as a strong contender for the pole and the accompanying $100,000 bonus.(IRL Site)
    UPDATE: qualifying has been postponed due to rain, they will try again Sunday(5-10-2003)
  • Softball League Returns: NASCAR race teams prepare for competition in The Race City Resumes.com Totally Racin Softball League. Local Charlotte and Mooresville, NC race teams compete on the softball diamond every Tuesday night at North Mecklenburg Park in Huntersville, NC. The Race City Resumes.com Totally Racin Softball League is heading into its sixth consecutive season of competition with their first games scheduled for Tuesday night May 13 at 6:30pm/et. The Ultra Motorsports Truck Team is looking to defend their 2002 Season Title. The league started in the spring of 1999 with (9) teams, fall 1999 with (7), Spring 2000 with (9), Summer 2001 with (13), Summer 2002 with (16) now Summer 2003 they have (18 and two divisions). The teams are BACE Motorsports, Braun Racing, Chip Ganassi Racing, DEI-Dale Earnhardt, Inc., Hendrick Motorsports, Jasper Motorsports, Joe Gibbs Racing, JR Motorsports, MB2 Motorsports, Race City Resumes, Inc., Robert Yates Engines, Robert Yates Racing #38 & #88, Roush Racing (Winston Cup) Roush Racing (Busch & Truck) Speed Channel, Carolina Camera NASCAR-Media, Ultra Motorsports (Truck) and Champion Tire & Wheel/Sirius Racing. More info at NASCAR Softball League/Racing Resumes site.(5-10-2003)
  • Not NASCAR but: Trans-Am and sometime NASCAR driver Boris Said, the runner-up in this year’s Grand Prix of St. Petersburg, has been suspended for 45 days by Trans-Am after comparing series operator Paul Gentilozzi and his sons to Saddam Hussein and his sons.(Tampa Tribune)(5-10-2003)

    (5-9-2003)

  • Sadler leaving #54? UPDATE 2 Sadler leaves Busch ride, will focus on Cup team: hearing that Hermie Sadler asked for and was given his release from his contract to drive for #54 Team Bristol Motorsports. No word on his future plans or those of Team Bristol Motorsports.(5-6-2003)
    UPDATE: also hearing Team Bristol will not go to the race at Gateway and that sponsor Toy-R-Us may be leaving the team.(5-7-2003)
    UPDATE 2 – Sadler leaves Busch ride, will focus on Cup team: Hermie Sadler has left the #54 Busch Series team, which is on hiatus for at least four races after apparently losing its primary sponsor. “The money hadn’t been there all year to do what we needed,” said Sadler, ranked 25th in the points standings through 10 starts with a best finish of 11th at Richmond. “They said they needed to take four to five weeks off, so I asked them to release me.” Sadler is focusing on his #02 Winston Cup team and will drive a Virginia Tech-emblazoned car in The Winston Open on May 17 at Lowe’s Motor Speedway. He is hunting for another Busch ride but didn’t rule out a return to the #54 if the team’s funding problems are resolved.(Richmond Times Dispatch)(5-9-2003)
  • Sad News: Jim Kent passed away on May 7th. Kent was with NASCAR before joining the NASCAR Craftsman Super Truck Series in its inaugural year. He became the chief tech inspector and held that position until 2001.(RacingWest.com)(5-9-2003)
  • DEWALT Extends Sponsorship with Kenseth and the #17: Roush Racing announced that DEWALT Industrial Power Tool Co. has signed a multi-year extension to continue as the primary sponsor of the #17 DEWALT Tools Ford driven by current point leader Matt Kenseth in the NASCAR Winston Cup Series. “The race program with Matt Kenseth and Roush has become a focal point for DEWALT’s relationship with our customers and end users,” stated Chris Allen, DEWALT’s Vice-President of Marketing. “We’re really excited by the marketing gains the DEWALT team has helped us achieve and we look forward to several more years of on and off-track success with Roush and Matt,” he added. In keeping with the practices of both companies, financial terms were not disclosed. “The extension of the DEWALT relationship means a lot to me,” said the Cambridge, Wisconsin native. “DEWALT has been my primary sponsor since I began in the Busch Series and I’m happy to know that we’ll be together many more years in the Winston Cup Series. I think we’ve gotten off to a great start this year with our consistency and our goal is to do our best week in and week out in order to put ourselves in position to bring DEWALT and Jack Roush a Winston Cup Championship,” he added.(DeWalt Site)(5-9-2003)
  • Governor loses control of race car, wrecks at Lowe’s Motor Speedway, Not Injured: North Carolina Governor Mike Easley, who was turning practice laps in a Winston Cup car at Lowe’s Motor Speedway Friday morning, lost control of the car while exiting Turn 2 and wrecked on the backstretch. Easley was not injured, speedways officials confirmed. The accident occurred about 11:45am.et and Easley’s car – a #48 Chevy from Hendrick Motorsports – was the only car on the track at the time. Easley was wearing the HANS device, one of two head-and-neck restraint systems mandated by NASCAR in October 2001. After the wreck, Easley stood by the car joking with his staff and track officials and even autographed the crumpled car before it was towed away. Easley drove two laps behind the pace cars for two parade laps before last October’s Winston Cup race at Charlotte. He’d planned to run three laps in honor of the late Dale Earnhardt, but a rain delay and damp track conditions spoiled those plans. Easley was at the track Friday to practice in preparation of reprising that role during May race activities at the speedway.(ThatsRacin.com)
    AND A close call this morning for North Carolina Governor Mike Easley at Lowes Motor Speedway. Driving an old Jimmie Johnson #48 Lowes Chevy The Governor lost the handle coming out of turn 2 then crashed.along the backstretch wall while practicing for a pre-race event for The Winston All-Star race next weekend. Easley, who was clocked at just over 165 miles per hour when the accident occured was not injured. After autographing pieces of the wrecked car he continued his pace laps in an old Terry Labonte #5 Kelloggs Monte Carlo.(PRN’s Garage Pass)(5-9-2003)
  • Mario on TV: Auto Racing great and winner of the Indy 500 and Daytona 500, Mario Andretti will be the guest on Speed Channel’s Wind Tunnel with Dave Despain tonight [May 9th] at 11:00pm/et. More info on the show at the Speed Channel site.(5-9-2003)
  • Panther Power at The Winston: Dave Blaney and the #77 Jasper Motorsports team will run the special “Panther Power” scheme on the #77 Jasper Engines and Transmissions Ford during competition at The Winston at Lowe’s Motor Speedway in Charlotte. The design is one of three special paint schemes to be used during the next three months by Blaney and the #77 team [not sure what the other two are…yet]. The Panther Power die-casts—both 1/24 and 1/64 scale—will be available June 9 at all NASCAR at-track and retail outlets as part of the Team Caliber Pit-Stop Series.(Jasper Motorsports PR). See a drawing of the car on my Paint Scheme Gallery.(5-9-2003)
  • Gordon 9th overall at Indy practice: Robby Gordon returned to the Indianapolis Motor Speedway in fast fashion Thursday, posting the ninth-fastest lap at 230.214mph (39.0941 seconds). Gordon strapped back into the #27 Archipelago/Motorola Dallara/Honda/Firestone yesterday after taking Wednesday off for a previous engagement.(RCR PR)(5-9-2003)(5-9-2003)
  • SAFER Tests Goes Well: NASCAR managing director of competition Gary Nelson said Tuesday’s test of the impact-absorbing SAFER barrier wall “went well,” but it will be 20-30 days before engineers will tell NASCAR if it is ready to be installed on the turns of Richmond International Raceway and New Hampshire International Speedway. Engineers at the University of Nebraska’s Midwest Roadside Safety Facility crashed a used Winston Cup car into a modified version of the original SAFER barrier that was fitted to a mock-up of one of Richmond’s turns. SAFER, which stands for Steel and Foam Energy Reduction, was installed on the outside retaining walls at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway last May; NASCAR and Indy Racing League drivers said the barrier significantly cushioned the impact of crashes. The modified barrier is similar to the original but comes in much shorter sections so it can curve to fit tight-radius turns at short tracks. Dean Sicking, who is in charge of the SAFER project, and his engineers will review computer data gathered during the test to determine if it is ready. Even if Sicking approves it within 30 days, it is unlikely to be installed at New Hampshire for its July 21 Winston Cup race. However, it could be in place in time for the September races at Richmond and New Hampshire. (USA Today)(5-9-2003)
  • Drivers to be inducted at Thunder Road: On Friday, May 9th [Tonight] at Thunder Road in Dawsonville, GA, eight auto racing legends will be inducted into the Georgia Automobile Racing Hall of Fame – 2nd annual HoF Induction Ceremony: Mechanic Henry Jones, 1960 Winston Cup champion Rex White, promoter Alf Knight, announcer Jimmy Mosteller and drivers Bob Flock, Frank Mundy, Ed Samples and Jack Smith. More info at the Georgia Automobile Racing Hall of Fame Association site.
    AND Thunder Road U.S.A. may run out of gas without financial assistance. The entertainment complex/Georgia Racing Hall of Fame has fallen on hard times since it opened its doors a year ago. Thus during a spiraling economy, Thunder Road has not been the destination of the estimated 350,000 people expected to visit the complex annually. To date, only 5,865 visitors have made the trip to the racing Mecca in 2003. Scheduled to celebrate its second birthday Friday, Thunder Road’s financial setbacks may be too much to overcome to prop the doors open without a financial boost. A meeting of the Joint Development Authority of Dawsonville/Dawson County is scheduled for 10:00am on Friday at Thunder Road U.S.A. to discuss the crisis. The public is invited to attend.(Dawson News & Advertiser)(5-9-2003)


    (5-8-2003)

  • Looks like Steve Park to the #30 AOL car UPDATE 4 It’s Official: hearing Mike Wallace could drive the #30 AOL Chevy at Lowe’s Motor Speedway for the Winston Open and Coca Cola 600 and could be the driver for the rest of 2003. Other rumors have RCR’s Busch driver, Ron Hornaday, former RCR dirver, Mike Skinner [unlikely] and Busch Driver, Stacy Compton as possible drivers in the car.(5-6-2003)
    UPDATE: hearing it could be a driver swap, with Steve Park in the #30.
    UPDATE 2: Steve Park, released Tuesday from Dale Earnhardt Inc., is the leading candidate to take over the #30 Chevys for Richard Childress Racing, ThatsRacin.com has learned. Sources confirmed Wednesday the deal is “all but done” for Park to take over the ride in time for next weekend’s Winston all-star activities at Lowe’s Motor Speedway. Park would replace Jeff Green, who was released Monday from RCR and, ironically, hired Tuesday to drive Park’s former ride at DEI.(ThatsRacin.com)(5-7-2003)
    UPDATE 3: Steve Park told Fox Sports Net’s Totally NASCAR’s Sean Pragano Wednesday afternoon that he has several opportunities to consider after being released by DEI on Tuesday. Park will talk to Pragano on Thursday’s Totally NASCAR for an update.(Fox Sports)(5-8-2003)
    UPDATE 4: Steve Park has been named the driver for Richard Childress Racing’s (RCR) #30 America Online Chevrolet team. He will make his RCR debut May 17 in The Winston Open at Lowe’s Motor Speedway in Concord, NC. “Steve is going to give the America Online team a fresh start going into the summer months of the season,” said Richard Childress, president and CEO of Richard Childress Racing. “He’s a proven winner in Winston Cup and I know he has what it takes to work with Mike Beam (crew chief) and the rest of the AOL team to get the program headed in the right direction. I’ve talked with Kevin (Harvick) and Robby (Gordon) and they’re both excited about him driving for RCR. ”
    “America Online is committed to winning and we’re proud to have Steve Park in the driver’s seat,” said Richard Taylor, Senior Vice President of Brand Promotions for America Online. “To have the opportunity to drive for RCR and America Online is exciting,” said Park. “A mentor like Richard and a change of scenery is something I’m really looking forward to. I’m lucky to have a primary sponsor like AOL with their marketing power behind me. My goal is to build consistency and to revitalize the AOL/RCR NASCAR Winston Cup program so we can finish the season on a high note.”(RCR Site)(5-8-2003)
  • Fellow to run #1 at road courses: Jeff Green said Ron Fellows will race the #1 car at both road course events, Infineon Raceway and Watkins Glen. Green said he was a bit disappointed, but understands the decision. He will still travel with the team to help in any way he can. Fellows was slated to run a 4th DEI car, #81.(PRN’s Garage Pass Radio Pass)(5-8-2003)
  • Cogswell doing fine: #66 Crew Chief, Gary Cogswell, recently underwent surgery and was back at work and recovering well. It was reported that he had more testing to go thru, but he has no more testing to go through and all is fine. Cogswell had an ablation procedure to correct a heart arrhythmia that he has had for ten years and the procedure appears to have been a success and no more tests are scheduled.(5-8-2003)
  • Parker to be Jarrett’s new crew chief? Makar NOT leaving Gibbs UPDATE 3 Parker named, new car chief too: Shawn Parker could become Dale Jarrett’s new crew chief, according to sources close to the Robert Yates team. And crew chief Greg Zipadelli says that there is nothing to the rumors that his own boss, General Manager Jimmy Makar, might move on to join the Yates team to work with Jarrett. Parker is a chassis specialist for the Elliott Sadler-Raymond Fox half of the Yates team. Parker was once a key member of the Jack Roush operation before moving on.(Winston Salem Journal)(4-26-2003)
    UPDATE: hearing shawn Parker has been named as the crew chief of the #88 UPS Ford and driver Dale Jarrett.(5-7-2003)
    UPDATE 2: Shawn Parker, former car chief for Winston Cup driver Elliott Sadler’s #38 Fords, is the new crew chief for Salder’s Robert Yates Racing teammate, Dale Jarrett, ThatsRacin.com has learned. An official annoucement of Parker’s promotion is expected Wednesday afternoon, but sources confirmed the move has been completed. Parker joined Sadler’s team this season from Roush Racing, where he served as car chief for driver Kurt Busch. Parker has no previous experience as a Winston Cup crew chief. The team released crew chief Brad Parrott last month and team manager Todd Parrott took an indefinite leave of absence. Garth Finley, who has served as interim crew chief for Jarrett since Brad Parrott’s departure, is expected to return to the role of team manager.(ThatsRacin.com)(5-7-2003)
    UPDATE 3: Also announced was the return of Jason Burdett to RYR as the #88’s car chief. Burdett previously worked with the team and was a part of the 1999 championship team. He left RYR following the 2000 season and joined the No. 24 Hendrick Motorsports team and helped contribute to its 2001 championship effort. Burdett served as the car chief for Hendrick’s #48 car since 2002.(Ford Racing), former #88 car chief, Darrell Morrow, was named the Shop Forman, Pit Crew Chart has been updated.(5-8-2003)
  • Cogswell doing fine: #66 Crew Chief, Gary Cogswell, recently underwent surgery and was back at work and recovering well. It was reported that he had more testing to go thru, but he has no more testing to go through and all is fine. Cogswell had an ablation procedure to correct a heart arrhythmia that he has had for ten years and the procedure appears to have been a success and no more tests are scheduled.(5-8-2003)
  • Roush Street: NASCAR multi-team owner Jack Roush was the keynote speaker during a luncheon Wednesday for the Motorsports Madness 2003 event held at Concord Regional Airport by the Cabarrus Regional Chamber of Commerce. The event unites businesses related to motorsports. Roush’s company employees about 1,800 people in five states, 350 of which are employed in this region. With Roush moving his world headquarters and museum to Cabarrus County, many more jobs are expected. Concord Mayor Scott Padgett honored Roush Wednesday by designating the road that leads to Roush Headquarters as Roush Place NW. It was formerly Downwind Boulevard.(Independent Tribune)(5-8-2003)
  • Mayfield to run a Truck? Among the quickest of the more than 30 Truck Series teams testing Wednesday at Lowe’s Motor Speedway was surprise visitor and Winston Cup veteran Jeremy Mayfield, who joined Ted Musgrave and Jason Leffler in a trio of Ultra Motorsports Dodges. The same #7 Mayfield piloted was driven by Stuart Kirby on Tuesday and, at this point, there has been no announcement of who will actually be in the seat for the May 16 Hardee’s 200.(Lowes Motor Speedway PR)(5-8-2003)
  • Bruton Smith to sponsor IROC? Bruton Smith confirmed that one of his companies, zMAX, is negotiating to become the sponsor of the International Race of Champions series. The True Value chain of hardware stores will end its association with IROC after this season. “I am not interested in buying IROC,” Smith said. “But I do have people who I’m quite sure have talked a couple of times about maybe becoming a sponsor. We are discussing that with them.” Smith said that while he would leave the management of the series up to IROC president Jay Signore and his team, that does not mean Smith wouldn’t have ideas for possible changes in the series. “We might have some suggestions,” Smith said. “I would like to see it really be an international race of champions. It doesn’t seem they ever quite get that.” Smith said he thinks a “consolidation” of the IROC schedule might be necessary “if you really want to have a championship,” but would not elaborate further. The potential sponsor, zMAX, is a line of engine lubricant products made by a company Smith bought in 1997.(ThatsRacin.com)(5-8-2003)
  • Johnson Grand Marshal: The entertainment lineup for the ninth annual Speed Street, sponsored by Food Lion, was also announced Wednesday. The event opens at noon on May 22 and concludes Saturday evening with 10 p.m. concerts headlined by David Lee Roth, Aaron Tippin and The Presidents of the United States at three separate stages in a eight-block area in uptown Charlotte. A fireworks display will follow those shows. Racing legend Junior Johnson will be the grand marshal for the annual 600 Festival parade on May 20 in uptown Charlotte.(ThatsRacin.com)(5-8-2003)
  • Get Well: RJR’s/Winston’s Denny Darnell had a heart attack yesterday while attending Church on Sunday. Fortunately, they were about 10 minutes from the hospital. They arrived at the emergency room at 12:00noon, and he was in the operating room by 1:00pm. Turns out, he had three blocked arteries which were treated with stents and a balloon. He does have some light to moderate damage to the wall of the heart, but he seems to be doing well. Last night, they said he’d be in CCU for at least one night, and he was moved to a private room this morning. Darnell will be in the hospital until Wednesday or Thursday before going home. Get well Denny.(5-5-2003)
    UPDATE: Darnell is getting out of the hospital around mid day today. He still has a somewhat irregular heart beat, but after three hours of tests yesterday, the cardiolgists feel it will be normalized in time. No word yet on how long he will be out of work It depends on how quickly the heartbeat gets back to normal.(5-8-2003)
  • Park Released? UPDATE 4 YES and Green in the #1 thru Sept: hearing from sources that Steve Park and Dale Earnahrdt Inc have parted ways or that Park will step out of the #1 Pennzoil ride for a few races.(5-6-2003)
    UPDATE: Steve Park has been released by Dale Earnhardt Inc., reports ESPN’s Mike Massaro. No word yet on who’ll replace him in the #1 Pennzoil Chevy.(ESPN), rumors I have posted in the past month (see my #1 Team News and Links page) include Jason Keller and Sam Hornish, which both have been denied.
    No word on if Park will still drive Dale Earnahrdt Jr’s Chance 2 Busch Series cars which have been quite heavily marketed.
    UPDATE 2: Dale Earnhardt, Inc. has released Steve Park from his driving duties of the #1 Pennzoil Chevrolet. Steve, DEI’s first full-time Winston Cup driver, began driving for the team in the fall of 1996 before racing a full season in the NASCAR Busch Series in 1997. He contended for the NBS Championship that year, finishing third in the series point standings and clinched the Rookie of the Year title. He went on to compete in the NASCAR Winston Cup series beginning in 1998, where he made 157 starts and had two victories and three poles. His best finish in the points standings was 11th in 2000. “Steve was instrumental in DEI’s first NASCAR Winston Cup program,” stated Teresa Earnhardt. “Our loyalty to each other was hard to overcome. However, the time came where we simply had to make a change. We wish Steve the best in his future endeavors.”(DEI PR)
    UPDATE 3 – Jeff Green in: Just one day after Richard Childress Racing released driver Jeff Green, Dale Earnhardt Inc. has decided to release Steve Park has names Green as his replacement.(ThatsRacin.comAND Dale Earnhardt Inc. announced on Tuesday that NASCAR veteran Jeff Green will take over the driving duties of the #1 Pennzoil Chevrolet starting with the Winston Open at Lowe’s Motor Speedway on May 18th. Green will drive the #1 Pennzoil Chevrolet on an interim basis.(DEI PR)(5-6-2003)
    UPDATE 4: Fox Sports Net’s Totally NASCAR’s Krista Voda reported that Jeff Green will be in the Dale Earnhardt Inc. #1 Pennzoil Chevy at least until September. Green was released from the Richard Childress Racing #30 AOL Chevy on Monday.(Fox Sports)(5-8-2003)
  • Park’s Comments: Driver Steve Park told PRN’s Garagepass his release from DEI: “Feels like this big weight has been lifted off my shoulders”. Park said, “I really thought I was shouldering things pretty well and was trying not to let the pressure get to me, I really didn’t feel it, but I guess it’s one of those things were you wanna perform and you want things to get better, but if you look at the last year with coming back from being hurt and Paul Andrews leaving and getting new people we’ve been through a tremendous amount”. Park says he has no regrets about his time with DEI and that he was very happy with sponsor Pennzoil, his fans, and teammates. “Getting the opportunity to go to work for who I felt was a mentor to me the late-great Dale Earnhardt is something that I’ll never regret and that I’m very glad and very positive that it lasted five years. I got to spend a large amount of time not only with him (Dale Earnhardt). But got to meet Teresa and spend time with Dale Earnhardt Jr. and Michael Waltrip, winning races and poles. It’s just a shame the last year, year-and-a-half it’s just kinda gone downhill, but I wouldn’t trade it for nothin’ in the world.” Park added, “The one thing I want to see is the Pennzoil team to be successful and if it’s with my departure, so be it, but the biggest fan they’ll have is me. It appears Park will be named this week to drive the AOL Monte Carlo vacated when Jeff Green was let go on Monday.(5-8-2003)
  • Some Paint Scheme Stuff: Rusty Wallace’s #2 Dodge did not carry the 600th consecutive start logo on the rear quarter panel at the Richmond race last weekend. Wallace plans to run it at the Coca Cola 600 at Lowe’s Motor Speedway. Also the #30 RCR Chevy was to run a Kraft scheme in honor of the 100th Anniversary of Kraft, with the driver change, the program has been put on hold.(5-8-2003)
  • New Car Chief for the #48: Team Lowe’s Racing and Hendrick Motorsports announced today it has promoted Ron Malec to car chief of the #48 Lowe’s Chevy effective immediately. Malec, 28, has been with Hendrick Motorsports and Team Lowe’s for the past two seasons as a team mechanic and rear tire carrier on race day. He replaces Jason Burdett, who recently left the team to pursue other racing interests [car chief of the #88].(See my #48 Team News and Links page for the full PR)(Golin Harris PR)(5-8-2003)
  • Richmond Broadcast #1 on Cable: The FX broadcast of the Winston Cup race from Richmond was last week’s highest-rated broadcast on cable television. The race garnered a 4.1 rating, drawing 3.3 million homes. This is even with last year’s 4.1 rating, but is an increase of 200,000 households due to more homes that receive FX. The telecast averaged 5.3 million viewers for the race. The demos were strong, with #1 wins for the week in Adults 18-49 (2.9 million), Adults 25-54 (3.3 million), and Men 25-54 (2 million). The other programs in the top five for the week on cable were two WWE broadcasts, the Presidential Address, and Spongebob Square Pants.(MotorsportsTV)(5-8-2003)
  • Congrats: Veteran Busch Series Marketing and PR person for Camp and Assocates, Charlies Roakes and wife Grace welcomed a new arrival on Wednesday, Tyler McKay Roakes was born at 1:59pm, Tyler weighed 7 pounds 9 ounces and is 20 1/2 inches long.(5-8-2003)
  • NASCAR Executive to Address Symposium: George Pyne, NASCAR’s chief operating officer, is scheduled to address the Global Automotive Aftermarket Symposium in Dearborne, Mich., Thursday as part of a NASCAR awareness program. NASCAR’s “unperformed maintenance” awareness program is designed to help fans maintain their vehicles and add value to the more than 30 aftermarket sponsors who back NASCAR. “Research shows that NASCAR fans own more vehicles, drive more miles, are more likely to own older vehicles and buy more auto parts to service their vehicles,” Pyne said in advance of his address. “Using our media properties and relationships to encourage fans to take good care of their vehicles is good for them and our automotive sponsors.”(Winston Cup Scene Daily Newsletter)(5-8-2003)
  • Justin Timberlake NASCAR Reporter: N’sync’s Justine timberlake can add sports reporter to his entertainment resume. Timberlake is joining Turner Sports as a special correspondent. He’ll contribute features and make appearances on a variety of the network’s sports programs including NBA events, NASCAR and professional golf tournaments.(KLAS-TV)(5-8-2003)

    (5-7-2003)

  • Mike Wallace to sub for Nadeau: Mike Wallace will be the substitute driver for Jerry Nadeau in the #01 U.S. Army/MB2 Motorsports Pontiac, it was announced. Wallace, 44, will be filling in for Nadeau, who is recovering from injuries sustained in a practice crash last Friday at Richmond International Raceway. His first race in the U.S. Army car will be The Winston Open, May 17 at Lowe’s Motor Speedway.  “We’re appreciative that Mike has agreed to drive the U.S. Army car during Jerry’s absence,” said Jay Frye, general manager of MB2 Motorsports. “Mike has a vast amount of experience and we’re confident that he will do a great job. This is a difficult time and we are fortunate to have a veteran like Mike, who will help all of us get through it.” In two Winston Cup starts this season with #09 Phoenix Racing, he recorded a ninth-place finish at the Daytona 500. Additionally, in 2003, he has competed in the Busch Series with the #4 Biaggi Brothers car. After 10 starts, he’s 12th in the points with one top-five and two top-10’s to his credit. “First, let me say how much we’re all hoping for a speedy recovery for Jerry,” offered Wallace after accepting the U.S. Army ride. “I’m looking forward to helping this team out. It’s a very good, quality race team. I fully understand that I’m helping out on an interim basis. The goal is to keep this car good in the points until Jerry comes back. Perhaps, we can even win a few races along the way.”(US Army Racing PR)(5-7-2003)
  • Steve Park Quotes Regarding Release: “Monday afternoon I was released by Dale Earnhardt, Inc. from my contract. I wanted to let everyone know that there are no hard feelings between myself and DEI; companies make decisions like this since that is the nature of the racing business. I will always look back on my years of driving for DEI with much happiness. Together the Pennzoil team and I shared many great memories of winning races and pole positions. It will always be an honor for me that I was the first Winston Cup driver for owner Dale Earnhardt. With my departure from the team, I wish Tony Gibson and the rest of the guys on the crew and at the shop great success. I have enjoyed working with them and know I will see them at the track very soon. I would also like to thank all of my loyal fans who have stood by me through the years, and hope to get all of us back in victory lane very soon.”(Steve Park Site)(5-7-2003)
  • Driver Doing Better: Melvin “Puddin” Swisher, who was badly injured in a crash during a Modified stock-car race at Caraway Speedway on March 29, continues to improve, his son, Curtis Swisher, said yesterday. Swisher was in critical condition for nearly a month, recovering from a broken wrist, broken ribs, facial fractures and head injuries. Swisher is now out of intensive care and was moved to acute care over the weekend at Wake Forest University Baptist Medical Center. “That’s a good step,” Curtis Swisher said. “He’s doing a whole lot better.” Curtis Swisher said that his father is “talking and communicating.”(Winston Salem Journal)(5-7-2003)
  • Looking at a ‘Bigger’ Car in the future: NASCAR is testing crushable metals, such as aluminum foam, which could help absorb some of the shock of a crash. “On the advice of our two outside experts and car manufacturers, they said about 80 percent of what we could do to improve things would be inside the cockpit and the other 20 percent would be with the rest of the car,” NASCAR’s Jim Hunter said. He added that NASCAR is designing a “car of the future,” which will be bigger and feature a larger cockpit area. “We have to do that over a period of years so we don’t (make everything in the garage) obsolete overnight,” Hunter said.(Daytona Beach News Journal)(5-7-2003)
  • Chase Vehicle Added: NASCAR’s Jim Hunter said NASCAR recently has added a “chase” vehicle to its emergency crew lineup. The vehicle is the first on the scene of an wreck with a NASCAR official at the wheel and an EMT in the passenger seat. “Our position on the medical end is well known,” Hunter said. “We prefer to use local EMTs who do that every day as a line of work. We always felt having a local group who does it every day is better than having somebody travel who does it so many weekends a year.”(Daytona Beach News Journal)(5-7-2003)
  • NASCAR Safety Process: For those who watched the Richmond International Raceway event last week you might have noticed that the drivers were either fetching their helmets and Head And Neck Safety or Hutchins device, or having them brought to them following the various incidents of the night. This process, which has become part of ritual of a post-incident ride to the infield care center since 2002, gives attending doctors more information as they check to see if a driver might have sustained injuries during the course of a wreck. After the physicians are done with the helmet and head restraint it is turned over to NASCAR’s chief accident investigator, Jerry Kaproth. Kaproth and his accident investigators inspect the driver safety devices and take digital photos of them if there are any issues of merit with the pieces. NASCAR, with each accident, takes a full set of digital photos of the car, which provide a visual record of what worked and areas of the car that might need closer review. This data, along with the “Independent Witness”, the black box data recorder information is then entered into a incident data file. NASCAR routinely reviews these data sets with safety experts to see if there’s an immediate fix required, or if the car acted in a predictable fashion. Men, including General Motor’s Tom Gideon and NASCAR safety consultant, John Melvin, review the data upon NASCAR’s request.(Ford Racing)(5-7-2003)
  • Vasser to Winston Cup in 2004? AutoRacing1.com is reporting that CART driver Jimmy Vasser signed last week to run a full season of Winston Cup for 2004.(AutoRacing1.com – need subscription to read), didn’t say which team.(5-7-2003)
  • Cheeiest Car: He may not have won Saturday’s Pontiac Excitement 400, but race car driver Terry Labonte has a distinction no other competitor can tout — a replica of his car made entirely out of cheese. The American Dairy Association unveiled a large scale model car made out of cheese at Richmond International Raceway on Friday in Virginia. It was modeled after Labonte’s No. 5 Chevrolet and carved from 3,500 pounds of yellow cheddar cheese.(see full story and an image at CNN.com)(5-7-2003)
  • Shawna to run ProChallange race: Shawna Robinson will be competing in.a ProChallange series race Saturday evening May 10, 2003 at the Senoia Speedway in Senoia, Georgia. More info on my Driver Appearances page.(5-7-2003)
  • Gordon 23rd fastest Tues: Robby Gordon had the 21rd fastest car at Indy, a speed of 226.607mph in the #27 Dallara/Honda, fastest speed was turned in by his teammate, Dan Wheldon at 231.108. A.J. Foyt’s grandson, A.J. Foyt IV had the 15th fastest car.(Indianapolis StarAND Gordon posted the 23rd-fastest lap of the day yesterday in preparation for the Indianapolis 500 with a best speed of 226.607 miles per hour (39.7163 seconds) among his 85 laps run.. The Archipelago/Motorola team concentrated on the car’s race balance for the third day in a row, focusing on different downforce levels. Once satisfied with the race set-up, Gordon’s team began changing the car over for a simulated qualifying run. (RCR PR)(5-7-2003)

    (5-6-2003)

  • Positions Changed: When the finals results came out today for the Richmond race, nine finishing places were changed, #10-Benson from 14th to 15th, #74-Raines from 15th to 14th, #16-Biffle from 16th to 17th, #24-Gordon from 17th to 16th, #54-Bodine from 22nd to 23rd, #42-McMurray from 23rd tro 22nd, #45-Petty from 28th to 27th, #41-Mears from 29th to 28th, and #23-Wallace from 27th to 29th. Why did the positions change? No idea. NASCAR reviews the video and scoring results Monday mornings and makes adjustments as necessary.
    For the official results from NASCAR, see my Jayski’s Pontiac Excitement Results page, for points, see Jayski’s Driver/Owners Points standings after Richmond page. This is why I wait until the Official Results come out to do most my Stats.(5-6-2003)
  • More Green Comments: Jeff Green says he probably shouldn’t have gone to Kevin Harvick’s pit following.Saturday night’s on-track incident in Richmond.involving his former RCR teammate, however he said. “To do it over again I’d.probaby do exactly the same thing…I don’t have any regrets for it.” Green says he hates it for sponsor AOL and the crew, but the way the year has gone it’s been mounting. “To have teammates you gotta be able to work together and you’ve gotta want to help each other and some of the things I’ve seen.throughout the last year and half things.wasn’t going that way so.it’s just time for a change.” .What also concerned Green was that he felt car owner Richard Childress didn’t see.the 30 team as important as his other Winston Cup teams. Green says he and Childress talked and that he can see both sides of the situation and hopes Childress can see his side. Green said the two years with RCR are two years he’ll always remember and be grateful.Richard Childress gave him the opportunity.(PRN’s Garage Pass Radio Show)(5-6-2003)
  • Biffle to run Truck race UPDATE deal squashed: Winston Cup rookie and former NASCAR Truck series champion Greg Biffle has entered the inaugural Truck race at Lowe’s Motor Speedway, ThatsRacin.com has learned. Biffle, the 2000 series champion, will drive the #7 Dodge for Ultra Motorsports, which fields Dodges for #1-Ted Musgrave and #7-Jason Leffler. Biffle, 33, is expected at the speedway Tuesday and Wednesday for an open test in preparation for the May 16 Hardee’s 250, sources said. Biffle’s last appearance in the series came in November 2001, when he won the race at Phoenix driving the #99 Ford for Roush Racing. He now drives the #16 Ford for Roush in Winston Cup. In 80 career Truck starts, Biffle has 16 wins, 12 poles, 42 top-five and 53 top-10 finishes.(ThatsRacin.com)(5-5-2003)
    UPDATE: Greg Biffle’s one-race deal to run the inaugural Truck series race at Lowe’s Motor Speedway has come to an abrupt end. Unforeseen sponsor conflicts will prevent Biffle from driving the #7 Dodge for Ultra Motorsports in the May 16 Hardee’s 200, team officials confirmed Tuesday.(ThatsRacin.com)(5-6-2003)
  • Green relased from RCR #30 ride UPDATE 2 Green reacts; Hornaday in?: Richard Childress Racing (RCR) has ended the contract of Jeff Green as the driver for RCR’s #30 AOL NASCAR Winston Cup program, effective immediately. “Our relationship was not where we had hoped it would be at this point so we decided to make this move now,” said Richard Childress, president and CEO of Richard Childress Enterprises, Inc. “Jeff is a very good race car driver but sometimes change can be good for everyone involved. I’ll always be grateful to him for what he accomplished for RCR in both the Winston Cup Series and the Busch Series.” Green was the driver for the #30 America Online team since its inception for an eight-race schedule in 2001. He finished 17th in the 2002 NASCAR Winston Cup Series final point standings and is currently in 32nd place after the first 11 races this season. He earned two pole positions during his tenure at RCR, for this season’s Daytona 500 and the August 2001 race at Bristol. He also earned two Busch Series victories for RCR’s #21 team in 2002. A replacement driver will be announced at a later date.(RCR PR)(5-5-2003)
    UPDATE: Jeff Green will reunite with his former championship crew chief, Harold Holly, to try to win his third straight CARQUEST Auto Parts 300 at Lowe’s Motor Speedway later this month and will race a car for Team Amick Motorsports. The deal with team owner Amick, who has a great reputation as a Busch Series engine supplier, was a ray of sunshine for Green, who struggled to find a feel at RCR similar to what he had known at ppc. “I don’t know if it’s the latest step in a great, big chemistry experiment at RCR,” Green said, chuckling, of his demise. “I think all of us have tried to do the best job we could, to win races, and I’ve tried to do the darnedest job I could in the seat. Things just got in our way to be able to reach our goals, and I guess Richard wanted to make a change. It’s very surprising (because) we’ve had some good moments, but we had some bad ones, too, and it was time to try something different. I don’t think the drivers are the problem why they’re not winning and I don’t think it’s the crew chiefs,” Green said. “It’s not any body else — it’s just a combination of everything and competition is tough.” An RCR spokesperson said the team had until The Winston weekend, May 16-17 at Lowe’s Motor Speedway, to settle on a driver. Green isn’t sitting still, either, as his deal with Holly displayed. He acknowledged his frustration at having his potential season best finish eliminated when teammate Kevin Harvick ran into him from behind after 267 of 400 laps in the Pontiac Excitement 400 at Richmond International Raceway. He said he’d had no indication his job was in jeopardy, prior to the blow-up after that wreck, in which he confronted Harvick on the race track while his teammate circulated under caution, then went to the pits to berate Harvick’s crew chief Todd Berrier. Green said he had not had a chance to talk with Harvick since Saturday night — at least not on the level that he expected. “No, I guess he does all his talking with his bumper, I don’t know,” Green said, chuckling again. “Any time that I’ve got into somebody and was sorry for it I’ve tried to call them and at least give them an opportunity to hear their side of it. I don’t know — I guess that’s just part of it. I’ve had some good teammates in the past that I enjoyed being around and I enjoyed being around Kevin and Robby (Gordon). It’s not like they’re going anywhere and hopefully we’ll be racing together soon and not miss a beat — just a little bit different perspective.” Green said he was sensitive to the issue surrounding the concern over Jerry Nadeau’s recovery after his serious crash last Friday during practice at Richmond, which leaves MB2 Motorsports and its general manager, Jay Frye in need of a driver at least for the short term. However, he said he would be working the phones, as well. “I’m not going to sit back and wait for them to call me (because) everybody knows about it, now,” Green said. “I’ve already talked to a few people and I would love to drive for Jay and those guys over there would be a great opportunity — to be associated with the U.S. Army would be pretty awesome. But we’re all thinking about Jerry and I don’t want to overshadow what he’s got going on in the next no-telling how long to get back to where he needs to be.(more at NASCAR.com)
    UPDATE 2 so who is in the #30 car for the Winston Open? hearing it could be RCR Busch Series driver Ron Hornaday [which makes sense] or Mike Skinner [which makes no sense]
    UPDATE 3: Ron Hornaday says he has not been contacted about the #30 AOL ride and is Busch testing at Chatlotte.(XM Satellite- NASCAR Radio – Subscription Required)(5-6-2003)
  • Gordon moves up the speed charts at Indy; Herta to stand by: #31-Robby Gordon was 8th fastest in Tuesday Indy 500 practice with a speed of 227.735mph in his Dallara-Honda. Tora Takagi was the fastest at 229.019.(Indianaplis Star)
    AND Andretti Green Racing got two replacements in one driver Monday when it hired former Championship Auto Racing Teams driver Bryan Herta. Herta will be the backup for Robby Gordon, who is Dario Franchitti’s fill-in at the Speedway, should rain delay the start of the 500 and Gordon have to leave early for the NASCAR race in Charlotte. The team’s plan is to test Herta on Wednesday. After the 500, Herta will be Franchitti’s replacement in the IRL’s races at Texas and Pikes Peak. He will test at the two tracks in the next two weeks.(Indianapolis Star)(5-6-2003)
  • Realtree and the #29? UPDATE 2: 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)
    UPDATE 2: now have an image of the scheme, see my 2003 Winston Cup Paint Schemes – Cars #’s 24-99 page for the image.(4-10-2003)
    UPDATE 3: hearing this scheme has been cancelled.(5-6-2003)
  • More Keller and DEI: Jason Keller has been linked to DEI’s #1 Chevrolets, currently driven by Steve Park. Park has not performed well since returning from a head injury, and Keller’s name has been mentioned as a replacement if Park is booted. Keller and DEI officials deny that any such move is planned, but the fact that both drivers’ contracts expire at the end of the season only adds fuel to the fire of speculation. “I would love the opportunity to drive a DEI car for more races,” Keller said. “If you ask anybody in this (Busch) garage, they’d tell you the same thing. I would love to do that, but I still say it’s premature that people are thinking it’s going to happen.” DEI official Ty Norris said there has been no discussion about Keller and the No. 1 team.(Greenville News)(5-6-2003)
  • Action Problems: After a string of disappointing financial results, NASCAR merchandiser Action Performance Cos. is out of the winner’s circle on Wall Street. Analysts and investors who cheered the Tempe company’s strong rebound and bid up the stock early last year now are questioning management’s credibility and the strength of the souvenir boom for stock-car racing. The most nagging issue has been production delays on 2003 replica cars because of body-style changes in the Pontiac and Monte Carlo. The so-called retooling hurt results in three quarters. The company says the retooling is complete. A big concern now among investors is with demand, especially for Action’s line of lower-priced souvenir NASCAR cars sold in stores such as Wal-Mart. The company shocked analysts last week when it reported a significant drop-off in orders from retailers for its fiscal third quarter.(Arizona Republic)(5-6-2003)
  • Marcis Racing plans to race: hearing that #71 Marcis Racing has a car currently at Richard Childress’s shop having the body put on. No driver, track or sponsor has been finalized as of yet.(5-6-2003)
  • Benson Returns To Michigan For Fan Club Open House, Late Model Race: Johnny Benson will attend the annual Johnny Benson Fan Club Celebration at Berlin Raceway with more than 2,000 fan club members who will meet for the first time since Benson’s his first career victory at Rockingham in October. The 6,700-member fan club run by Benson’s sister is one of the largest in the Winston Cup Series. Benson’s father John Benson, a Michigan Racing Hall Of Fame member, will join his son at the fan club meeting. See more info (many appearances at tracks on May 10th) on my Driver Appearances/Chats/TV page.(5-6-2003)

    (5-5-2003)

  • Sad News: Rudolp C. Hillman, the Father of Mike Hillman, crew chief, #11 Hooters Ford and grandfather of Mike Hillman, Jr., crewman and tire changer for #16 Ford – passed away from cancer on 5/4.
    Rudolp C. Hillman
    Prudden & Kandt Funeral Home
    242 Genesee St.
    Lockport, NY. 14094
    716/433-6300
    Visitation:… Tuesday. 7-9pm; Wednesday.. 2-4pm and 7-9pm
    Funeral Services:. Thursday (5/8). 9:30am followed by mass of Christian burial at 10am at St. Mary’s Church.(5-5-2003)
  • Biffle to run Truck race: Winston Cup rookie and former NASCAR Truck series champion Greg Biffle has entered the inaugural Truck race at Lowe’s Motor Speedway, ThatsRacin.com has learned. Biffle, the 2000 series champion, will drive the #7 Dodge for Ultra Motorsports, which fields Dodges for #1-Ted Musgrave and #7-Jason Leffler. Biffle, 33, is expected at the speedway Tuesday and Wednesday for an open test in preparation for the May 16 Hardee’s 250, sources said. Biffle’s last appearance in the series came in November 2001, when he won the race at Phoenix driving the #99 Ford for Roush Racing. He now drives the #16 Ford for Roush in Winston Cup. In 80 career Truck starts, Biffle has 16 wins, 12 poles, 42 top-five and 53 top-10 finishes.(ThatsRacin.com)(5-5-2003)
  • Rusty to Retire in 2005? He didn’t say it in so many words, but in the pre-race notes for Saturday night’s race at Richmond, Rusty Wallace hinted he might retire from driving in the Winston Cup Series at the end of the 2005 season, or at least cut back his schedule. Wallace, 46, celebrated 600 consecutive Winston Cup starts at Richmond, and has 609 total starts. “700 straight?” Wallace asked rhetorically. “I honestly don’t think I’m going to make 700 straight, but it’ll be probably 675.” If he stays on his current pace, Wallace would be 49 years old at the end of the 2005 season, would have 687 consecutive starts if the schedule remains at 36 races a season and would amass 697 total events.(NASCAR.com Buzz)(5-5-2003)
  • Gordon practices at Indy: Robby Gordon jumped into one of Andretti/Green Racing’s Indy cars and laid down a lap at 220.636mph [25th of 29th] on Sunday’s opening day of practice for the Indianapolis 500. Although that was pretty far down the speed list, Gordon’s agenda was to get acclimated to the high-speed machine after finishing fourth in Saturday night’s race at Richmond. After returning to Charlotte, NC from Richmond, VA at 2:00am/et, Gordon got to bed a few hours later and was up at 7:00am to fly to Indianapolis. “I normally only sleep about five hours a night, so today was no problem,” Gordon said. “I had a good run last night. We have a great team at Richard Childress Racing. We have our short-track and superspeedway programs figured out, but we struggle on the intermediate ovals. We kind of threw it away at California and let it slip away. It was good to come back and be as strong as we were at Richmond.” Gordon, who has done the Indy 500-Coca-Cola 600 double twice in his career, is driving in the IRL for Michael Andretti, who used to be his adversary when both were competing in CART. Gordon and Paul Tracy once wore T-shirts that said, “Michael Andretti Driving School for the Blind – If you can’t see them, hit them” into a CART driver’s meeting. Andretti was not happy about that, but over the years, the son of 1969 Indy 500 winner Mario Andretti has become a little more forgiving. “I think it’s definitely amazing,” Andretti said. “You have to do what is best for the team and we feel that Robby can win the race. His association with Cingular is definitely good for Motorola, so it’s all about what is best for the team.” Gordon has an ideal schedule to participate in both Winston Cup and the Indy 500 this year. Next weekend, there are no Winston Cup races, so Gordon’s Pole Day is unencumbered. He can also practice for a few days the following week but will participate in The Winston at Lowe’s Motor Speedway on May 17. The driver from Orange, California will be able to participate in Carburetion Day — the final practice session before the Indy 500 — on May 22 before returning to Charlotte for practice and qualifications for the Coca-Cola 600. Gordon will attempt to race in both the Indianapolis 500 and the Coca-Cola 600 in the same day for the third time in his career.(CNNSI)(5-5-2003)

 


(5-4-2003)

 

  • Rudd Voted Best Race: More than 3,000 fans recently went to Richmond International Raceway’s Web site and voted for the best race in its 50-year history. Their choices: September 1972, when Richard Petty rallied to win after a Bobby Allison bump sent him atop the guardrail; February ’86, when Kyle Petty won after Darrell Waltrip and Dale Earnhardt crashed late; September ’91, when Harry Gant won the first night race in the track’s modern history; or September 2001, when Ricky Rudd won with a late-race bump-and-run pass of Kevin Harvick. The winner, with more than half the votes, was Rudd’s victory two years ago. Kyle Petty’s victory got the second-most votes, with Gant’s victory third and Richard Petty’s fourth.(Daily Press)(5-4-2003)
  • Green not a happy camper: #30-Jeff Green, running in the top five of Saturday night’s race at Richmond, was hit from behind by Richard Childress Racing teammate #29-Kevin Harvick on Lap 268 of 400, bringing a premature end to a strong run by Green’s team. Green was upset after the incident, and following a radio interview, walked hurriedly down pit road to Harvick’s pit. Green first confronted Harvick’s crew chief, Todd Berrier, on top of the team’s pit box, than had a heated exchange with team owner Richard Childress, who was standing in the pit area. The incident lasted only a few moments before Green left the area and returned to the garage, where his #30 AOL Chevy had been towed. “We’re supposed to be teammates, but it doesn’t seem that way right now,” Green said. “It’s one thing to get spun out, it’s another to get spun out by your teammate.”(ThatRacin.com)(5-4-2003)

    (5-3-2003)

  • Nemechek wins at Richmond: #25-Joe Nemechek wins a slightly rain shortened Pontiac Excitement 400 at Richmond International Speedway, his first win in 45 races when he last won at Rockingham in November 2001. #18-Bobby Labonte was 2nd, his third 2nd place finish in a row. The race was rain shortened by 7 laps [393 run of 400 scheduled]. The win puts Nemechek in The Winston [23 drivers eligible + the Winston Open winner]. #31-Robby Gordon [4th] and Nemechek get their first top fives of 2003. Jason Keller finished 32nd in the #01 US Army Pontiac subbing for injured Jerry Nadeau. Ironically it was the first win for the #25 team since Nadeau won at Atlanta in 2000.
    See my Pontiac Excitement 400 Info page for my race rundown, with cautions and why, lap leaders, dnf’s, and Notes.
    Race Results at Jayski’s Pontiac Excitement Results page and at:
    ThatsRacin.com or NASCAR.com or MotorsportsOne.(5-3-2003)
  • BAM Racing Friendly: BAM Racing will carry the colors of Friendly’s Ice Cream at Richmond. BAM is doing it for free. Friendly’s normally sponsors #37-Derrike Cope, but Cope failed to qualify Friday. So BAM owner Beth Ann Morgenthau decided to put Friendly’s on Ken Schrader’s #49 Dodge for the race. And she’s not charging Friendly’s a dime. Some race-to-race sponsorships can cost as much as $200,000. “We just like Derrike,” Morgenthau said. “He had a bad break, and we could help him out. So we did.”(NASCAR.com)(5-3-2003)
  • Keller in the #01 for Nadeau: Jason Keller will drive for the injured Jerry Nadeau in Saturday’s Pontiac Excitement 400, a spokesperson for Keller said after Friday night’s Hardee’s 250 NASCAR Busch Series race. Keller practiced Nadeau’s #01 U.S. Army Pontiac car in Happy Hour on Friday afternoon. Keller, who has competed in 298 Busch Series races, will be making his Winston Cup debut.(NASCAR.com)
    UPDATE: MB2 Motorsports announced that Busch Series driver Jason Keller will substitute for the injured Jerry Nadeau in tonight’s Pontiac Excitement 400. It will be Keller’s first Winston Cup start. He spent approximately 20 minutes in the U.S. Army backup car during Saturday’s final practice session. “While our thoughts are with Jerry during his recovery, we also want to express our appreciation to Jason for filling in on a short notice,” said Jay Frye, CEO/general manager of MB2/MBV Motorsports. “Jason has proved himself in the Busch Series and we know he can get the job done.” Keller, 33, is in his 10th season as a Busch Series driver and is currently sixth in the Busch point standings. Last year, he finished second in the Busch season point standings and was third in 2001. Keller, his wife, Deborah, and two children – Joe (6) and Jade (4) reside in Greenville, SC.(US ARMY Racing PR), see Nadeau story and updates below….(5-3-2003)
  • Ramblings – Richmond: #5-Terry Labonte”s last top-spot was at Texas Motor Speedway in March of 2000, and before that you’ve got to go back to Sears Point International Raceway (it was called that then) in May of 1996.
    When Labonte leads ’em down Saturday Night for the Pontiac Excitement 400, he’ll be the 9th different drvier to start from the pole this season.
    Front Row Joe Nemechek, it’s the first time he’s been on the front-row since he had the pole at Talladega in October of 2000.
    #45-Kyle Petty (8th) has his best starting spot since he started 6th here in this event last year.
    STREAKIN….#12-Ryan Newman has 9 Top-10 starts in a row.
    #24-Jeff Gordon has 6 Top-10 starts in the last 7 races. Joev #25-Nemechek has 4 Top-10 starts in the last 5 races. Jimmie
    #48-Johnson has 4 Top-10 starts in the last 5 races.
    (StockCarFans.com Winston Cup Newsletter)(5-3-2003)
  • NASCAR’s talks on title sponsorship continue: Jim Hunter, NASCAR vice president for corporate communications, said Friday there are “four or five” companies involved in discussions about eventually replacing R.J. Reynolds Tobacco as title sponsor of the sport’s top series. Hunter also said, however, that some of companies mentioned as possible candidates in published reports – Anheuser-Busch, AT&T and UPS and others – may not be among them. “McDonald’s? Yes, we’ve talked to them,” Hunter said. “I’ve seen names like Coca-Cola, VISA, Microsoft, Gillette and maybe one or two others pop up. If you say those kinds or companies are included among the ones we’re talking to, that’d be accurate.”(The Charlotte Observer)(5-3-2003)
  • Yates in No Hurry: Robert Yates [#38 and #88 team owner] said Friday at Richmond that he prefers to keep Jarrett’s No. 88 team intact for the time being and let that group solve the team’s problems. Team engineer Garth Finley took over as interim crew chief after Robert Yates Racing general manager Doug Yates released Brad Parrott. Yates said he wants to give Finley and the rest of the crew “the room, the support, the time” to get Jarrett running well again. Yates said Doug Yates has talked to a few prospects, but “I don’t see anybody coming in the door tomorrow,” Robert Yates said. Yates said he hasn’t talked to Jimmy Makar, who has been in the rumor mill to move to Yates. Makar is the general manager of Joe Gibbs Racing after being moved form Bobby Labonte’s crew chief in the off-season.(NASCAR.com)(5-3-2003)
  • New York NASCAR’s #1 Priority: Over the weekend, Brian France, NASCAR senior vice president and a member of the organization’s board of directors, told a group of newspaper sports editors gathered in New York that he would love to see races in the New York and Portland/Seattle areas. France called staging a Winston Cup race near New York City a “No. 1 priority.”(Kansas City Star)(5-3-2003)
  • Atwood back with Evernham at Pocono UPDATE: Mountain Dew LiveWire, a new Dew that will be available from Memorial Day through Labor Day, is sponsoring the #91 Evernham Motorsports Dodge Intrepid for a one-race deal at the Pocono 500 on June 8, 2003, as part of its “summer-only” product launch. Casey Atwood has been selected by Evernham Motorsports to drive the #91 racecar for the June 8 event in Pennsylvania. In last year’s ARCA race at Pocono, Atwood took the checkered flag after starting from the pole position. Mountain Dew is currently an associate sponsor of Evernham Motorsports, driver Jeremy Mayfield and the #19 team known as the Dew Crew.(Evernham Motorsports PR)(5-1-2003)
    UPDATE: Ray Evernham said he would like to run his #91 Dodge, a research and development team, in four or five Winston Cup races this season. The team’s first race is the June race at Pocono, when former Evernham Motorsports driver Casey Atwood will return behind the wheel. Atwood, who won the ARCA race at Pocono with the same R&D team at Evernham Motorsports, remains without a full-time ride this season. “He’s still under contract to me, but he is allowed to do other things,” Evernham said. “I told him when stuff came up, when opportunities came up, we would help him. We got an opportunity to run this race at Pocono, which is one of Casey’s good tracks, and hopefully we can turn it into something more for him or us or both.” Evernham said he hoped Atwood, who drove the #7 Dodge for Ultra/Evernham Motorsports most of last season, would have found a new ride by now. Evernham would like to run the #91 at the July race at Daytona, as well as the Brickyard 400 at Indianapolis. Former Busch series driver Hank Parker Jr. is also slated run at least one race in the #91 this season.(ThatsRacin.com)(5-3-2003)


    (5-2-2003)

  • Numbers did ya know in 34 career Cup starts at Richmond #15-Michael Waltrip has NO top 10’s and his best finish is 12th. Four (4) is the number of charged provisional starting positions used in the season’s first 10 races by the #4 Morgan-McClure Motorsports and #49 BAM Racing teams. Those teams have only one provisional available until after they attempt to qualify for the 16th race of the season, at Infineon Raceway. 7 — The number of different Bud Pole Award winners in the last seven races at Richmond. 16 — The number of Winston Cup races at Richmond won from the pole position. 93 — The number of NASCAR point races, including three Convertible Division events, held at Richmond since 1953.(see many more ‘numbers’ atNASCAR.com)(5-2-2003)
  • BACE, Raines and the Special Olympics: Look for an extra man atop the box this weekend in the BACE Motorsports Winston Cup pit as Special Olympics athlete and ambassador, Paul Marretti serves as honorary crew chief for NASCAR Winston Cup driver Tony Raines. The #74 BACE Motorsports Chevy will carry the Special Olympics Virginia logo on its hood when Raines makes his first NASCAR Winston Cup Series start at Richmond. Marretti, a member of the Special Olympics Virginia Board of Directors as an athlete representative, is presently serving a two-year term as a Sargent Shriver Global Messenger. In this position, he has traveled to Canada, Peru and many US cities representing the interests of Special Olympics athletes. Marretti, 27, will tour Ireland in June as part of the Special Olympics World Games. He began as a basketball player and soon expanded to other sports, including bowling, tennis, soccer, skiing, softball, track, golf and swimming. Joining Marretti at RIR this weekend will be Special Olympics Virginia President, Rick Jeffrey.(Tony Raines site)(5-2-2003)
  • Craven is the First Quarter NASCAR USG Person of the Year: Despite temperatures in the single digits back on January 25, well over 500 winter weather enthusiasts joined NASCAR Winston Cup Series driver Ricky Craven in his home state of Maine to participate in the sixth annual Ricky Craven Charity Snowmobile Ride. The event totaled nearly $200,000 in contributions that were targeted to numerous charities, the most money raised in the history of the ride. For his efforts in staging the event and generating significant charitable funds, Craven has been named the 2003 First Quarter NASCAR USG Person of the Year. USG, the Official Building Products Supplier of NASCAR, is in its first year as sponsor of the NASCAR USG Person of the Year program. The award is designed to honor drivers, not only for their accomplishments on the track, but for their community service contributions and charitable efforts. For the purpose of determining the NASCAR USG Person of the Year Award winner, the NASCAR Winston Cup season has been divided into four quarters in which drivers are nominated for their off-track efforts. A select group of panelists will select one of the four quarterly finalists as the NASCAR USG Person of the Year. This award will be presented the week of the NASCAR Winston Cup Series Awards Ceremony in New York City, along with a prize of $100,000. The prize will be divided evenly between the driver and the charity of his/her choice. In addition to the NASCAR USG Person of the Year, USG also sponsors the Driver of the Race Award, which goes to the eligible driver who wins each of the 36 NASCAR Winston Cup championship events. Each USG Driver of the Race Award winner receives $2,500 with an additional $2,500 going to the charity of his/her choice.(NASCAR PR), this used to be the True Value Person of the Year.(5-2-2003)
  • Special Scheme for Busch at RIR: #97-Kurt Busch will don the yellow and black colors of Rubbermaid Commercial Products and Brute instead of the regular red and silver colors of the Rubbermaid Ford. Last year in Charlotte’s fall race, he finished 12th in a special Rubbermaid Commercial Products paint scheme. “Our entire team has shown that we are tough,” said Busch, currently fourth in the championship standings and coming off a victory at California Speedway last Sunday. “We went through a streak of races with some bad luck, but came back in style last week. I think we showed that just like Rubbermaid Commercial Products and Brute, my team is tough and durable! Maybe we can get yet another special paint scheme in victory lane.” The Brute brand, which features Brute Totes and Brute Containers, is known for its toughness and durability allowing consumers to work smarter and handle without care. Rubbermaid Commercial Products will begin a national advertising campaign focused on its Brute brand on May 12. Television advertising will be seen during NASCAR races as well as on other network and cable shows. For more information on Rubbermaid Commercial Products, go to www.rubbermaidcommercial.com.(5-2-2003)
  • Hornish to the #1? haven’t heard this one since last year….Autoracing1.com (need subscription to view/read) is reporting….Hornish to replace Steve Park: Pennzoil sponsors both Sam Hornish (IRL) and Steve Park (NASCAR). Rumors are rampant that Steve Park will lose his ride at DEI, possibly before the season is over. Sam Hornish is now rumored to be taking his place. Giving more weight to the rumor that Park is on his way out is the blatant berating he gave to the media after winning the pole last weekend at Fontana, then going out and crashing on the very first lap, taking Ryan Newman with him. Talk about making a complete and utter fool out of oneself.(Autoracing1.com -need subscription to view/read)(5-2-2003)
  • Been Asked many times: What ever happened to the ‘Hat Man’ who used to great the winning drivers in the winners circle? (answer on my NASCAR Frequently Asked Questions(FAQ)), the answer WAS: Well from what I hear, after Bill ‘The Hat Man’ Broderick was released of his duties when Tosco bought out Unocal he bought a restaurant or tavern in the Chicago area(6-16-1999) — UPDATE 1: some more tidbits, Broderick is the owner of a tavern near the Fox River in Algonquin, Illinois, in the Northwest Chicago suburbs, that he actually has owned for some time(6-17-1999)
    UPDATE 2: Broderick was interviewed by Claire B. Lang on XM Satellite- NASCAR Radio (Subscription Required) and is now working with the Busch Series team #27 of Brewco Motorsports and driver Joey Clanton and sponsor TrimSpa.(5-2-2003)
  • Final California TV Ratings: Nielsen Media Research figures show Fox’s broadcast of the Auto Club 500 from California Speedway was the most-watched sports program last weekend with 8.3 million viewers, according to today’s Sports Business Daily. Final figures show the race drew a 5.3 rating and 13 share to top the 4.9/12 ABC drew for the NBA’s Timberwolves-Lakers playoff game. The final figures represent a virtual reversal of the overnight results that had shown the race drawing a 4.9/11 and the game drawing a 5.3/12 from the nation’s largest markets. Despite the small-market boost, the race still fell short of the 5.9/13 it drew last year. The Daily says that so far this season the Fox results are down 3 percent from 2002 with an average of 6.0/14 this year versus a 6.2/15 last season.(Winston Cup Scene Daily Newsletter)(5-2-2003)

    (5-1-2003)

  • Special Schemes at Richmond: #31 Reverse, #5 Power of Cheese, #4 Kodak/Easyshare, #2 Miller Lite/600th Consecutive start. See images on my Paint Scheme Gallery.(5-1-2003)
  • Milestone for Rusty: Rusty Wallace will start 600th consecutive Winston Cup race at Richmond and run a special paint scheme (see my Paint Scheme Gallery), Ricky Rudd currently hold the all time racord at 690, Ken Schrader is 3rd at 569.(Stats Menu and Links page)(5-1-2003)
  • #600 for Hendrick: When the teams of the NASCAR Winston Cup Series take the green flag at Richmond on Saturday, it will mark the 600th race started in the storied 19-year history of Hendrick Motorsports. Hendrick teams have brought home 110 wins in 599 Winston Cup events [18.7%]. The four Winston Cup teams of Hendrick Motorsports [#5, #24, #25, #48] will display a special “600th Start” decal at Richmond. The artwork will take the place of the HMS logo on the “B-post” of each car.(HMS PR)(5-1-2003)
  • Petty Ride Update: The next time Winston Cup star Kyle Petty visits Southern California, he will be preparing to lead more than 200 motorcycle enthusiasts cross-country to raise money for children’s charities. The 2003 Kyle Petty Charity Ride Across America, featuring NASCAR celebrities, sponsors and fans, will kickoff on June 22 in Palm Springs, Calif. This year’s ride will take a southern route. ALSO there will be a Helmet Design contest, which ends on May 5th, for more info, links and phone numbers, see my Racing Charities page.(5-1-2003)
  • Fukuyama Celebrates ˜Children’s Day” in Richmond: While most NASCAR Winston Cup drivers are fortunate to travel the extensive schedule with their families, journeyman Japanese driver Hideo Fukuyama’s family is usually more than 1,800 miles away. That gap will be closed this weekend, however, when Fukuyama enjoys a rare visit from his wife at the Pontiac Excitement 400 at Richmond. Fukuyama’s wife, Tayomi, is coming to the U.S., to join him in celebrating a week of Japanese holidays, known as “Golden Week” which culminates on May 5 with “Children’s Day,” a day that Japanese families set aside to honor their children. Although Fukuyama’s two children, (Ryotaro, age 10, Saho, age 8) will remain in Japan for the holiday week, he will be recognizing them in a special way this weekend. “In Japan, Children’s Day reminds you of your goal to raise strong, healthy children,” explains the rookie Winston Cup driver. “I’ve always been appreciative of my family because they raised me to be strong and work hard to achieve my dreams. Now it’s my turn to do these things for my children. This year, because I am racing, I do what I can through email and phone calls. This weekend, I am going to send them a special message.” As a message to their children, Tayomi has brought the traditional and colorful carp banners (koinobori, pronounced KOY E NO BO RI) and windsocks that are usually displayed to wish children a good future. Fukuyama will be flying the carp, atop his #66 Kikkoman transporter during the race this weekend at the three-quarter-of-a-mile oval. Typically, the banners diminish in size from the top to the bottom of the pole, each child in the family represented by a different banner. According to Japanese beliefs, carp are the most spirited of fish, fighting their way up swift-running rivers. This quality makes them the ideal symbol of the courage and determination that children need to overcome life’s difficulties and attain their goals. “Being away from my children is difficult,” Fukuyama continued. “But, I know they support me and I am teaching them that if they have dreams, they should follow them — no matter where they take you.”(Cox Marketing PR)(5-1-2003)
  • Drivers visit wounded soldiers: Eight NASCAR drivers visited wounded soldiers at Walter Reed Army Medical Center today.. Jerry Nadeau, driver of the #01 U.S. Army Pontiac, was joined by teammate Johnny Benson as well as Dale Earnhardt Jr., Michael Waltrip, Ken Schrader, Kenny Wallace and Matt Kenseth. The drivers visited soldiers recovering from injuries sustained during Operations Iraqi Freedom and Enduring Freedom. “The soldiers we visited have demonstrated heroics far beyond most of our ability to imagine,” Nadeau said.. “It is their individual acts of bravery for the greater good that underline what the Army is all about – what ‘An Army of One’ is all about.” The drivers were in the Washington, D.C., area prior to the Pontiac Excitement 400 being run this Saturday night in Richmond. “This was an amazing opportunity for me, and I am sure for the other drivers, too,” said Earnhardt.. “I know that there are thousands of NASCAR fans among the Army ranks. I just let these soldiers know they have hundreds of thousands of fans in NASCAR and I am one of them.”
    “It was phenomenal. I really appreciate them,” Pfc. Dennis Wallace, an infantryman in the 3rd Infantry Division’s 1st Battalion, 15th Infantry Regiment, said of meeting the racers. “This experience is definitely a lifetime experience.” For more information about the U.S. Army and its racing programs, visit www.goarmy.com.(5-1-2003)
  • Robby Gordon responds: John Andretti made some comments last weekend that showed he wasn’t happy about his cousin, IRL team owner/driver Michael Andretti, selecting Robby Gordon to replace Dario Franchitti in the Indy 500. John thought Michael would select him to drive for the injured Franchitti, but John hasn’t driven in the Indy 500 since 1994 when he became the first person to complete the double of the Indy 500 and the Coca-Cola 600 in the same day. “I’ll be there that week and I’ll qualify the car, because he [Gordon] will be in the hospital by then,” John Andretti told Speed Channel. Gordon responded to John’s comment: “All I want to say is I never would wish one of my fellow competitors get hurt so I could get a ride.” Andretti realizes sponsor considerations were a factor in the selection of Gordon. Motorola, the sponsor on Franchitti’s car, supplies cell phones for Cingular Wireless, the sponsor of Gordon’s Winston Cup car.(Dallas Morning News – may need to register to read)(5-1-2003)
  • New Concussion test helps determine readiness: Concussions are a fact of life in automobile racing, where crashing into a concrete wall at high speed is relatively common. Until now, one of the most difficult decisions facing doctors who treat race drivers for concussions has been knowing when a driver is well enough to return to a race car. Now, thanks to Mark Lovell, director of the Center for Sports Medicine Concussion Program at the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center, there is a new, important tool. It’s call ImPACT, which stands for Immediate Post-Concussion Assessment and Cognitive Testing. That’s a formal way of describing a computer test devised by Lovell and Pittsburgh Steelers team neurosurgeon Dr. Joseph Maroon, in conjunction with several of Lovell’s former colleagues at Henry Ford Health System in Detroit. The test, which takes 22 minutes the first time and a little less in subsequent uses, measures memory, reaction time, mental speed, information processing, anticipation time and other functions of the brain affected by concussions. The idea is to administer the test while the subject is healthy — at the start of the season, preferably. That sets a “baseline” with which to measure further tests after a head injury. In auto racing, CART has been using the test since last year, all the Indy Racing League drivers will take the test as part of their physical for entering the May 25 Indianapolis 500, Formula One has the software and plans to implement the program as soon as possible, and NASCAR is studying it. Gary Nelson, managing director of competition for NASCAR, said some drivers are using it on a volunteer basis. Steve Park, who missed the last eight Winston Cup races of 2001 and the first four events of 2002, flew to Pittsburgh in February to take the ImPACT test. Park said he wishes he had known about the test before a crash, at Darlington in a Busch Series car, that temporarily left him with blurred vision and slurred speech.(full story at ESPN/AP)(5-1-2003)
  • Hiker to Help Out Victory Junction Camp: Ray Hudson, a shop fabricator at Petty Enterprises with over 25 years of work history at Petty, has embarked on his life-long dream to hike the Appalachian Trial while supporting Petty’s dream to build The Victory Junction Gang Camp. Hudson has received pledges for every mile he hikes on the Trail, all proceeds going to The Victory Junction Gang Camp. Hudson began the 2,171-mile hike from Springer Mountain, GA, on March 1, and hopes to reach the finish line at Baxter State Park, ME, by Aug. 1. Hudson could raise as much as $25,000 by completing the incredible journey. Leaving his family and job at Petty Enterprises for six-months in order to complete the trail, Ray has currently raised over $8,000 for Victory Junction. Friends and family from around the country have made donations and pledges based on the number of miles Hudson completes. Victory Junction Gang Camp, a Proud Charity of NASCAR, is a non-profit organization that will provide camp sessions year round for children ages 7-15 with life-threatening illnesses. The racing-themed camp is under construction in Randleman, NC. and will open in the summer of 2004. For more information or to make a donation to Victory Junction, visit www.victoryjunction.org or call (336) 398-9055.(5-1-2003)
  • Team Gordon Offers Ultimate Motorsports Experience to Fans: #31-Robby Gordon will continue his quest to claim victory at both the Indianapolis 500 and the Coca-Cola 600 on May 25 of Memorial Day Weekend. Gordon will run both events, marking the fourth time in his career he has attempted to complete the 1,100-mile endurance journey. Gordon has put together what he calls “The Double Duty Tour.” It is day-long trip that will provide motorsports fans the opportunity to witness two distinctively different forms of racing in one day. The Double Duty Tour was created for those who love racing, regardless whether the vehicle has fenders or not. For those who participate, the Tour will be an experience of a lifetime. Originating in Charlotte, NC, planes, buses and most importantly, police escorts, will help navigate Tour Fans through the logistical challenge of attending two races in two different places on the same day. Each fan gets transportation to and from the races, tickets for both events, a souvenir gift pack, a race scanner and some “up close and personal” time with Gordon before the Indy 500. Gordon wanted to make sure the package would put fans “in the middle” of the journey with him. For more information on The Double Duty Tour and pricing, please visit teamgordon.com.(5-1-2003)
  • Nadeau fastest in Weds teating at Lowe’s: #01-Jerry Nadeau marched to the top of the unofficial speed chart Wednesday night at Lowe’s Motor Speedway as NASCAR Winston Cup teams concluded preparations for The Winston on May 17 and the May 25 Coca-Cola 600. Nadeau ran 181.757 mph. The starter never unfurled the caution flag as the nine-hour testing session was run without an on-track incident. There was one minor accident in the garage area when a speedway security vehicle pulled in front Jeff Green’s #30 AOL Chevy, causing damage to both vehicles. Testing for Lowe’s Motor Speedway’s month of May activities continues Monday night when the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series drivers and teams take to the track in preparation for the inaugural Hardee’s 200 on Friday, May 16. The session runs from 3 to 10 p.m. and the main grandstand will be open to the public with no admission charge. Tickets for The Winston on May 17 and the May 25 Coca-Cola 600 are still available and can be obtained by calling 1-800-455-FANS.
    The unofficial speeds:
    #01-Jerry Nadeau, 181.757
    #48-Jimmie Johnson, 181.087
    #4-Mike Skinner, 180.481
    #6-Mark Martin, 180.192
    #8-Dale Earnhardt Jr., 180.180
    #43-John Andretti, 179.372
    #54-Todd Bodine, 178.324
    #30-Jeff Green, 177.579
    #88-Dale Jarrett, 175.484
    #11-Brett Bodine, 174.403
    #19-Jeremy Mayfield, 173.997
    #27-Kirk Shelmerdine, 173.533
    #74-Tony Raines, 173.355.(LMS PR)(5-1-2003)
  • Sponsorships Up: Roush needs 4? Pennzoil looking? UPDATE 2: Car owners working the sponsorship marketplace are starting to put offers on the table, and the next few weeks will likely be filled with rumors of possible driver and team changes, rumors based on some contract negotiating points. Jack Roush needs to lock up sponsors for four of his five teams, and DEI’s sponsorship deal with Pennzoil is up for renewal. The Pennzoil contract may be the hottest one at the moment, and it’s not at all clear if the company will remain with DEI.(Winston Salem Journal)(4-14-2003)
    UPDATE: my records show that only the #99 is unknown, the #6 is thru 2005, the #16 and #17 are at least thru 2004 and the #97 is supposedly thru 2006.(4-15-2003)

    UPDATE 2: Roush Racing’s president, Geoff Smith, spoke with Team Ford Racing regarding the status of the sponsorship deals on the five NASCAR Winston Cup cars his operation runs. Smith began by saying that of his five entries only Greg Biffle’s #16 Granger Ford is 100 percent locked-in with sponsorship, which spans through the 2005 season. Deals are pending with Matt Kenseth’s, Mark Martin’s, Jeff Burton’s and Kurt Busch’s existing sponsors, but are not complete, yet. Pfizer, via its Viagra brand, has a contract with Martin’s #6 team through the end of this year, with an option through the 2005 season. DeWalt, which sponsors Kenseth’s #17 Taurus, inked a one-year deal in 2002 for space. Burton’s #99 and Busch’s #97 both need renewals. Smith told TFR that he’s been “in detailed discussions for a period of time” with the four sponsors that are currently on Roush Cup entries and “in every case we’re past the stage of money.” Smith said that he hopes to have signed sponsors contracts near the end of May. His job is made somewhat easier, despite the tight economy, with programs among the strongest in the industry. As Smith works with potential sponsors the cars sit first (Kenseth) and fourth (Busch) in the point standings and the stable has two marquee drivers in Martin and Burton. Additionally, Smith said there is “interest in our programs beyond these [sponsors].”(Ford Racing)(5-1-2003)

  • #1 Rumors abound UPDATE 2 Keller Denies rumors: hearing that Steve Park could be replaced as the driver of the #1 Pennzoil Chevy before the races at Lowe’s Motor Speedway, sources have Jason Keller as the possible replacement driver. Keller is slated to driver the #81 DEI car at Checiagoland in July.
    AND The LTN HOUR radio show reports that Kurt Busch, driver of the #97 Rubbermaid/Sharpie Roush Racing Ford will drive the #1 DEI Chevy in 2004. However, last reports I have are that he is signed with Roush thru 2006.(4-21-2003)
    UPDATE: Steve Park’s comments after winning the pole at California on Friday: “Hopefully, this will quiet some critics a little bit,” said Park, whose lap bumped Bill Elliott’s Dodge to the outside of Row 1 for the Winston Cup season’s 10th race. “We’re fixing to start winning races.” Park, who now has three poles to go along with two career Cup victories, turned defiant as he said he remains confident that he can get the job done with his team. “All the hogwash I have to read that the press puts out there, I have broad shoulders,” said Park, whose best 2003 finish has been a 10th at Las Vegas. “Dish it out because I can take it all. When I am in victory lane winning races, everybody who’s had bad things to say about this race team is going to bite their tongues. I don’t race to finish 20th, I race to win. If I don’t have the confidence in my team to win, then I need to go somewhere else. But I do have confidence in (crew chief) Tony Gibson, all of the new people we’ve hired, our engine shop, the whole team that we have, that we can do stuff like this. We can win poles and win races and we’re not going to stop this year until we do that. That will quiet all of the critics that we have.” Ty Norris, executive vice president for motorsports at DEI, said he and Park sat down about three weeks ago to discuss the team’s slow start in 2003. “I said, ‘You’re reading a lot of things, but let’s focus about what happens inside these walls,'” Norris said. “‘Let’s come together as a group, believe in each other, pull for each other and help each other. When that happens, no matter what anybody says outside these walls, we’re not going to concern ourselves with it.'”(ThatsRacin.com)
    On top of that, the team’s Pennzoil sponsorship is up in the air. Ty Norris, who runs DEI for owner Teresa Earnhardt, says last month’s negotiations with sponsor Pennzoil in Texas were more of a learning experience than anything, because Shell’s buyout of the company has resulted in a major corporate shakeup, and only one of the men involved in the original sponsorship negotiations with the late Dale Earnhardt is still around. How the company’s new executives might view stock car racing as a marketing machine is unclear.(Winston Salem Journal)(4-26-2003)
    AND also hearing that Park recently made a new TV commercial for Food Lion featuring him and six other NASCAR drivers. Park is also featured on boxes of Milk-bone with his dog.(4-26-2003)
    UPDATE 2: Jason Keller denies rumors about replacing Steve Park, says DEI hasn’t contacted him and the reports of Keller in the #1 Pennzoil Chevy as early as Richmond and no later the Charlotte are unfounded. Keller says he wouldn’t leave his current Busch Series owner, Greg Pollex hanging. Keller will drive at Chicago for Dale Earnhardt Jr’s Chance 2 team.(Winston Cup Scene – need subscription to read)(5-1-2003)