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November 2002 News Archives


 

  • (11-30-2002)

  • Schrader Fourth-Quarter NMPA Award Winner: Ken Schrader has been selected as the fourth-quarter NMPA/Pocono Spirit Award winner for his contribution in helping out his fellow Winston Cup competitor Kyle Petty and Petty’s Victory Junction Gang Camp. Schrader and friends raised more than $112,000 to help build the charity that will provide care for critically ill children. The NMPA/Pocono Spirit Award recognizes character and achievement in the face of adversity as well as sportsmanship and contributions to motorsports.(Insider Racing News)(11-30-2002)
  • World Cup of Motorsports UPDATE 2 Team USA wins: U.S. Joins Eight Countries for World Cup of Motorsports the 2002 Michelin Race of Champions Nations Cup. Team USA was among the first to announce involvement in this year’s Michelin Race of Champions Nations Cup, the annual contest that puts the world’s fastest rally, motorcycle and circuit racers against one another in fierce head-to-head competition. Representing the U.S. is four-time NASCAR Winston Cup Champion Jeff Gordon, Winston Cup rookie sensation Jimmie Johnson and World Superbike Champion Colin Edwards. This year’s ROC Nations Cup promises to be the most hotly contested in the event’s four year history, as the Americans take on the fastest drivers and riders from France, UK, Spain, Finland, Sweden, Germany, Brazil and Italy. Many recently-crowned champions are among the international cast, including this year’s World Rally champ Marcus Gronholm (Finland), CART’s Cristiano da Matta (Brazil), Formula 3000’s Sebastien Bourdais (France), 250cc MotoGP Champion Marco Melandri (It), European Rally victor Renato Travaglia (Itay), European Touring Cars champion Fabrizio Giovanardi (Italy), World Enduro’s Kari Tiainen (Finland), 125cc Motocross champ Mickael Maschio (France) and Speedway GP winner Tony Rickardsson (Sweden). Rounding out the rosters will be Formula One stars Fernando Alonso (Spain) and Nick Heidfeld (Germany), CART driver and former Indy 500 winner Kenny Brack (Sweden) as well as MotoGP riders Carlos Checa (Spain) and Alex Barros (Brazil).
    Supported by Michelin since the inaugural event in Paris in 1988, The Race of Champions was conceived, and remained for the first eleven years, a rally-only event that invited drivers to race head-to-head, side-by-side in exactly the same cars and on a figure-eight parallel-track. The premise was simple: using identical equipment and circuit, drivers could prove themselves based on their talent alone. In 1999, event promoters, seeing the potential for a World Cup of racing, introduced The ROC Nations Cup as a means of expanding that unique concept to other disciplines of motorsport and to allow racers to compete for their flags. In this event, three-man national teams, each comprising the country’s best rally (or off-road), motorcycle and circuit racers’ face off against one another in a series of 1-lap heats, quarter-finals and semi-finals leading up to the climactic final (this year, Saturday November 30th). The ROC Nations Cup is now a highlight of The Michelin Race of Champions weekend (November 29th – December 1st), which is hosted by the Circuito Ciudad Deportiva rally circuit in Gran Canaria and is largely responsible for the recent explosive growth in media coverage of this weekend of racing: the event is now televised in more than 187 countries. The nine countries in this year’s ROC Nations Cup will be divided into three groups: each country will compete against all others in its group, with rally, circuit and motorcycle racers competing against their counterparts.(Golin Harris PR), no word on if any of the race will be televised.(11-28-2002)
    UPDATE: Sweden’s Kenny Brack collected the honours in today’s ROC America challenge beating NASCAR ace, Jeff Gordon, in an exhilarating two-lap Final. The inaugural ROC America pitted US based open-wheeled stars, Kenny Brack and Cristiano da Matta against tin-top racers, Jeff Gordon and Jimmie Johnson. Racing in the unfamiliar hardware of the Michelin Race of Champions unique ROC Cars, the CART star powered past Gordon in a time of 1:56.45 – the fastest lap of the competition. The four-time NASCAR Champion had initially blitzed his way into the lead only to crash heavily into the barrier in the closing stages. He said: “The first lap was my best of the day, but I really messed up at the end. Even so, it was great fun.” On his way to the Final, Brack notched up convincing victories over 2002 CART Champion, da Matta and Gordon. The eagerly awaited contest between Gordon and NASCAR rookie sensation, Jimmie Johnson, saw the former take the flag a mere sixteen hundredths of a second ahead of his protégé. Gordon quipped afterwards: “I’m gonna be proud of that moment for a very long time.”(ROC Site) see more and pictures at the Jeff Gordon site.(11-29-2002)
    UPDATE 2: USA clinched the fourth Michelin Race of Champions Nations’ Cup in Gran Canaria today. Colin Edwards, Jeff Gordon and Jimmie Johnson triumphed in dramatic fashion over the Italian bike, racing and rally trio of Marco Melandri, Fabrizio Giovanardi and Renato Travaglia by three heats to two. An ecstatic Jimmie Johnson said afterwards: “Admittedly, this is a big surprise but it feels great. We came here wanting to win, and to have some fun, and we had both. It’s a truly awesome feeling.” Four time NASCAR Champion, Jeff Gordon paid tribute to the dominance of Colin Edwards in the Honda Blackbird powered ROC Cars – the 2002 Superbike World Champion won every race: “He was the key player for us. Having been here a couple of years ago, he had the experience that helped make a difference. He was just so smooth.” Edwards may have controlled both his heats, and Gordon may have scored a memorable victory over 2002 European Touring Car Champion, Giovanardi, but Johnson’s six tenths of a second loss to Travaglia was the most exhilarating contest. On their way to the Final, the USA eliminated previous winners France (2000) in the Semis and Spain (2001) in the Opening Group Stages.
    The story of the day: Group Stages:
    After rolling his Peugeot 206 WRC in practice on Friday, Marcus Gronholm led Finland to victory in Group A over fellow Scandinavian’s Sweden and the UK.
    Italy emerged triumphant from Group B wining 5 Heats to 3 over second placed France, with F1 driver, Nick Heidfeld scoring the only success for Germany.
    Group B was also the scene of the closest race in Nations’ Cup history, where Frenchman Sebastian Loeb beat former double World Rally Champion, Walter Rohrl by just six ten thousandths of a second.
    Group C witnessed some of the most entertaining clashes with USA’s Gordon spectacularly crossing lanes in his unsuccessful pursuit of Brazil’s, Cristiano da Matta.
    Although Spain completed a white wash over Brazil to finish joint top with 4 Heat wins, the American triumvirate recorded the fastest collective time to book their place in the Semis.
    Much to the disappointment of the home crowd, 2001 Nations Cup winners, Spain, failed to clinch the last Semi-Final berth, which is allotted to the fastest runner-up. Group B’s France registered a time of 5mins 47.11secs – over three seconds quicker than Spain.(ROC Site) and see more and some images at the Jeff Gordon site.(11-30-2002)


    (11-29-2002)

  • Beam to ppc Racing #10? former #32 PPI Motorsports Cup crew chief, is expected to announce a move to the ppc Racing [BGN] team of Scott Riggs [#10] in the upcoming weeks.(Winston Cup Scene need subscription and Acrobat to read online)(11-29-2002)
  • Stewart Wins Sprint race but hurt in Midget race: Tony Stewart won the 40-lap Sprint car Turkey Night Grand Prix race before a sellout crowd of 6,500 at Irwindale Speedway on Thanksgiving, but was involved in a fiery Turn 3 crash in the Midget car race, won by Michael Lewis. Lewis, from Noblesville, Ind., held off a desperate challenge from Kasey Kahne, who finished second in the race for the second time in three years. Kahne tried going outside of Lewis on the last five laps of the 100-lap race, but to no avail. Stewart crashed when the throttle of Aaron Fike’s car, running one spot behind Stewart, was stuck and he plowed into the rear of Stewart’s car, sending both into the Turn 3 wall. Both were shaken up with Stewart sitting in his car … the one he brought from his museum for the race … for a long time before finally emerging. Both refused transport to an area hospital. Stewart was complaining of a sore ankle. Stewart, who won the Winston Cup title last week in Miami, dominated the Sprint car race. “I came out and won on Turkey Night again,” Stewart said of his half-lap victory in the 40-lap main event. “It’s great to be back in a real race car and out of those taxi cabs for a little bit,” he said. “You guys are the real race fans. It’s not about a signature. You want real racing. Everyone tells me to change. I won’t change if you won’t change. You’ve come here to see real racing.” Stewart, who won in his last appearance at Irwindale, in the 2000 Turkey Night Grand Prix, is the first driver to win in three different cars on Turkey Night. It was only his second time in a Sprint car this year; he won at Tracy. His Sprint car bore the number 20 and was orange, the same as his Cup car.(in part from the San Gabriel Valley Tribune), Stewart did not require hospitalization.
    AND Tony Stewart returned to his midget racing roots for the USAC Turkey Night race at Irwindale (Calif.) Speedway and had Craftsman Truck Series regular Terry Cook serving as his crew chief. “Basically they put me in charge of the car to make sure everything’s running properly and to make sure Tony has what he needs to race with,” said Cook, whose father-in-law, Bob East, is a prominent Indiana-based midget builder. “Crew chief is really an overrated title for me because I’m just there to help out.” The two teamed to win the event in 2000.(Milwaukee Journal Sentinel), see many photoss of the event and accident at www.wideopenphoto.com(11-29-2002)
  • Sad News: condolences go out to Andy Graves of Ganassi Racing who recently lost his grandfather.(11-29-2002)

    (11-28-2002)

  • Army Scheme change? hearing the #01 US Army scheme I have posted will change a bit, the shading around and behind the number will not be used and the words U.S. ARMY will be slightly larger. The red line around the base of the car will also probably be eliminated in favor of the yellow-gold color used elsewhare. The yellow will be closer to a yellow gold as it is in Army ads. See the drawing of the car (sent in by many diecast dealers) on my Paint Scheme Gallery.(11-28-2002)
  • APR news – theft, layoffs and 2003: On July 30, Andy Petree Racing suffered a financial blow when a safe containing cash [$291k?] was stolen from Petree’s office off Upward Road. An official with the State Bureau of Investigation office in Asheville said Wednesday that the SBI was still investigating the theft. When the theft happened, the Henderson County Sheriff’s Department and the SBI questioned everyone in the shop and even employees who were recently laid off, said Kevin Youngblood, who was the parts manager at APR and was laid off earlier this year. “They wanted to keep everything hush-hush there at the shop, and it’s no wonder,” Youngblood said. “I know that there haven’t been any charges filed, but I do know that everyone at the shop was questioned about the safe. It wasn’t just the money missing. It was the entire safe.” Petree was in Daytona Beach, Fla., on Wednesday spending time with his family for the holidays. He refused to comment on the missing safe, but did discuss the upcoming NASCAR season. Petree is still seeking more sponsorship dollars to help fund his #55 Chevy for next season’s NASCAR circuit and hopefully rehire several of the employees who have been laid off this year. Petree has had as many 110 employees working for APR, but as of Wednesday there are just 25 employees, he said. “If we don’t sign a sponsor in the next few weeks, (the layoffs) aren’t going to make a lot of difference. We haven’t closed the doors yet but we had to do layoffs to sustain our business,” Petree said. Petree said that Ken Schrader, who drove the #33 Chevy for Petree in the late ’90s, will be the driver of the #55 car in 2003 if the team can land more sponsors to help pay the bills in the coming year. Schneider Electric was the primary sponsor of the car in 2002 and plans on being the sponsor again in 2003. Petree said he still needs more sponsorship money for the #55 car to run the full Winston Cup schedule next year. He said the #55 team already has two 2003 Chevy Monte Carlos built, one for speedways and the other for tracks requiring more downforce. (Hendersonville Times News)(11-28-2002)
  • Atwood and Spencer News: Casey Atwood’s future in NASCAR remains somewhat muddled and doesn’t promise to get much clearer anytime soon. The former “can’t-miss” Busch Series star had two poor years in Ray Evernham’s Cup organization. He ended 2002 in an Evernham-owned Dodge while Jason Leffler took his seat in the primary #7 Evernham- Jim Smith Dodge. It’s unclear whether there is a place for Atwood in Cup next year since Evernham seems set with Bill Elliott and Jeremy Mayfield. Jimmy Spencer will join new crew chief Tommy Baldwin in Smith’s #7 Dodge.(Autoweek), supposedly Atwood will end up in the #37 Brewco BGN car.(11-28-2002)
  • EMPA Driver of the Year voting: The ballots are in the mail to the more than 200 professional media that make up the membership of the Eastern Motorsport Press Association. Members of the organization, now in its 34th year, will decide who be receive the Al Holbert Memorial EMPA Driver of the Year, the Richie Evans Memorial EMPA Northeast Driver of the Year and who will be inducted into the EMPA Hall of Fame.
    Five drivers have been nominated for the Al Holbert Memorial Driver of the Year award. Included are:
    ” Sam Hornish, 23 year old two time Indy Racing League champion
    ” Tony Stewart, NASCAR Winston Cup champion
    ” Steve Kinser, 17 time Pennzoil World of Outlaws sprint car champion
    ” Angelle Savoie, won her third consecutive NHRA Pro Stock Bike championship
    ” Frank Kimmel, four time champion of the ARCA RE/MAX Series
    There are also five drivers nominated for the Richie Evans Memorial EMPA Driver of the Year award. Nominees include:
    ” Brett Hearn, 42 Modified feature wins in 2002. Champion at Lebanon Valley Speedway and 358 Modified champion at Albany-Saratoga Speedway. In addition he finished second in the Mr. DIRT Motorsports Modified championship chase.
    ” Greg Hodnett, winner of 21 sprint features this season including wins against the World of Outlaws and the Gumout World of Outlaws II series.
    ” Chub Frank, ran 60 Late Model events in 2002 and won the Renegade (STARS) Racing Series title for the third straight year. He had nine wins, some coming in major national late model events, 26 top five finishes.
    ” Alan Johnson, 26 DIRT Modified Series wins. Champion in the modifieds at Brewerton Speedway, Cayuga County Fair Speedway and Rolling Wheels Raceway. He was also 358 Modified champion at Fulton Speedway. And for the third time was overall Mr. DIRT Modified Champion
    ” Andy Santerre, 2002 NASCAR Busch Series North Champion. Won three races with 10 top five finishes. Traveled from Harrisburg, NC to the New England Series events.
    Nominees for the EMPA Hall of Fame include:
    ” Stan Ploski Jr., one of the Northeast’s leading dirt track modified drivers from the 1960s through the 1980s.
    ” Kenny Weld, winner of more than 250 sprint and modified features during his career
    ” Bob Weikert, as a car owner his sprint cars won more than 500 features.
    ” Dave Kelly, won the last modified feature at Reading, PA Speedway.
    ” Bugs Stevens, NASCAR National Modified Champion in 1967, 68 and 69.
    ” Bill Slater, won title at Norwood Arena and Waterford Speedbowl.
    ” Harry Gant, won 18 Winston Cup races and 17 poles.
    ” Chris Economaki, the Dean of Motorsports Journalist and the original when it came to TV coverage of motorsports. He is 83 and still writes his well-read National Speed Sport News column.
    ” Bruce Larson, seven career wins in 19 final round appearances in NHRA Funny car competition.
    The Eastern Motorsport Press Association will honor the award winners at their annual convention, January 17-19th, at the Radisson Hotel & Conference Center in Trevose, PA. Many sanctioning organizations, speedways and personalities in the sport will participate including NHRA, NASCAR, Hooters Tour, Valvoline, Tosco Marketing, Performance Racing Industry Magazine, IRL, ARCA, SCCA, R.J.Reynolds, Pocono Raceway, United Racing Club, and many others.
    The first annual Junie Donlavey Spirit of the Sport award will be presented to Junie. He will be on hand to accept the award.
    Don Hawk, former president of Dale Earnhardt, Inc., will be on hand to talk about the state of the sport and sponsorship in the sport. The president of “Hawk Sports Management” is one of the most respected figures in the industry. He currently has 8 drivers that he represents. He has been instrumental in bringing several major corporations to motorsports. Those having interest in participating in the convention are invited to contact Ernie or Marilyn Saxton at 215.752.7797 or 215.752.2392.(EMPA PR)(11-28-2002)
  • Vote for Lowe’s Move of the Year: SPEED Channel’s Sunday motor sports news program SpeedNews is teaming with Lowe’s Home Improvement Warehouse to determine the “Lowe’s Move of the Year.” The five finalists, chosen from weekly Lowe’s award winners, include:
    * Panizzi’s Donuts – Thanks to a huge lead in Leg 3 of the World Rally Championship’s Catalunya Rally, Frenchman Gilles Panizzi thrilled the crowd by doing donuts under a bridge during Stage 15 – during the race.
    * Carpentier Streaking – After winning the Mid-Ohio CART FedEx Championship Series race, driver Patrick Carpentier had to pay up on a bet, offering to run naked around the race track. Wrapping a checkered flag around his waist, Patrick made the lap bringing a whole new meaning to the term “draft.”
    * Gordon’s Golf Cart – In a five-lap Golf Cart Race on pit road at Richmond International Raceway, four-time NASCAR Winston Cup Series champion Jeff Gordon slid off the seat of his Looney Tunes cart and was nearly run over by teammate Jimmie Johnson.
    * Daytona Fendergate – While leading the Daytona 500, drive Sterling Marlin climbed from his car during a red-flag caution and attempted to pull a bent fender away from his tire. The move, a NASCAR no-no, cost Marlin a penalty and possibly the race win.
    * Hornish’s Margin of Victory – Sam Hornish, not content with just a top-two finish that would have given him the season’s IRL title, went side-by-side with Helio Catroneves in one of racing’s all-time great finishes. After the pair battled and banged over the final 30-plus laps, Hornish crossed the finish line .0096 seconds — a few inches — ahead of Castroneves to win the season finale.
    To vote for your favorite “Lowe’s Move of the Year,” visit SPEEDTV.com and make your selection. Voting opens Dec. 2 and the winner will be announced on the SpeedNews 2002 Year in Review, premiering Dec. 29 at 7:00pm.et.(11-28-2002)
  • AMS Donations: The Atlanta chapter of Speedway Children’s Charity will deliver holiday cheer and goodwill to 21 area charities when it presents more than $234,000 in donations at the Tuesday, Dec. 3 annual holiday celebration. The festivities will begin at 6:00pm in the Atlanta Motor Speedway ballroom and will feature appearances by the Mt. Carmel Elementary School Choir and Santa and Mrs. Claus. The Atlanta chapter of Speedway Children’s Charities was founded in 1994 and over the past 8 years has donated more than $1.5 million to local organizations. For more information about Speedway Children’s Charities see www.speedwaycharities.org.(11-28-2002)
  • 2002 Auto Racing All-America team voting: Ballots are in the mail to almost 300 members of the motorsports press to select the 12-driver 2002 Auto Racing All-America team. Among those on the 2002 ballot are two former three-time Jerry Titus Award winners, John Force (1996, 1999, 2000) and Jeff Gordon (1995, 1998, 2001), plus the driver who has been All-American more than any other, Steve Kinser (19-times on the team, 14 as First Team). Also on the ballot seeking selection in one of six categories – Open Wheel, Stock Car, Road Racing, Drag Racing, Short Track and At Large – are 13 drivers who could be making their first-ever All-American appearance. Members of the American Auto Racing Writers and Broadcasters Association, have been sent their ballots to vote from among six drivers named in each category. Two from each category will be named to the first team, to be honored at the annual AARWBA banquet in January. The winner of the Jerry Titus Award will also be announced at the banquet. The Titus Award, much like college football’s Heisman Trophy, honors the team’s top driver – the one earning the most votes in the balloting regardless of category. The balloting will also determine a second team of the drivers placing third and fourth in each category, and honorable mentions to all other drivers receiving at least 5 percent of the vote. AARWBA members have annually chosen an All-America Auto Racing Team since 1970. The banquet is open to the public. Ticket information is available from AARWBA, 922 N. Pass Ave., Burbank, Calif. 91505, or call (818) 842-7005.
    The drivers listed below are on the 2002 All-America ballot. Numbers in parentheses indicate previous times elected to first team/second team/honorable mention; *** indicates first time on ballot.
    Open Wheel: Patrick Carpentier (1/0/0); Helio Castroneves (0/1/0): Cristiano da Matta (1/0/0); Gil de Ferran (2/1/0); Sam Hornish (1/0/0); Junquiera (***).
    Stock Car: Kurt Busch (***); Jeff Gordon (8/1/0); Matt Kenseth (***); Mark Martin (3/4/4); Ryan Newman (0/1/0); Tony Stewart (6/0/1).
    Road Racing: Terry Borcheller (0/1/0); Chris Dyson (***); Ron Fellows (0/2/2); Tom Kristensen (***); Boris Said (***); Didier Theys (0/1/1)
    Drag Racing: Kenny Bernstein (7/1/3); Jeg Coughlin Jr. (0/1/0); Larry Dixon (0/1/0); John Force (10/4/2); Clay Millican (0/0/1); Tony Pedregon (***)
    Short Track: Greg Biffle (0/1/0); Mike Bliss (0/1/0); Joey Clanton (***); Frank Kimmel (0/0/3); Steve Kinser (14/1/4); J.J. Yeley (***)
    At Large: Bill Auberlen (0/1/0); A.J. Foyt IV (***); David Higgins (***); Frank Manzo (0/0/1); Jimmy Rector (***); Bryan Sellers.(PR)(11-28-2002)


    (11-27-2002)

  • Hamilton in the #41? UPDATE 2, no Hamilton, Parker or Bodine either: …..have heard that Chip Ganassi hired Jimmy Elledge to be the crew chief for the 41 car, which is the car that Jimmy Spencer drove, and Ganassi is attempting to sell to Target that they need to put a veteran, Bobby Hamilton, in that car. Elledge/Hamilton is the package that went together at the 55 car.(FoxSports)
    UPDATE: However sources tell me that Hamilton will NOT be the new #41 driver.(11-26-2002)
    UPDATE 2: also hearing that Hank Parker Jr and Todd Bodine are out of the running for the ride.(11-27-2002)
  • Robby Gordon/Baja 1000 Pics at the Robby Gordon site.(11-27-2002)
  • Childress to build Fairgrounds Speedway engines: Weekly racing at Fairgrounds Speedway [Nashville] next season will undergo the most radical change in the track’s 44-year history when standard engines are issued to all competitors in the top two divisions. Track President Dennis Grau yesterday said every team in the Late Model and Supertruck divisions will be required to use track-issued ”crate motors” which are intended to cut costs, balance the competition and reduce cheating. The engines will be built by Richard Childress Racing and sold through the track at a cost of $5,000. Grau said teams in the premier divisions this season have been spending $15,000-$25,000 per engine. He said the track will not earn a profit from the sale of the engines. The engines will be sealed, which will discourage illegal tampering.(Tennessean)(11-26-2002)
    UPDATE: been told by RCR that the team will NOT be building these engines.(11-27-2002)
  • Sad News: Imperial Palace casino owner and Las Vegas Motor Speedway co-developer Ralph Engelstad, 72, died of cancer Tuesday night at his Las Vegas home. A successful businessman and a philanthropist, Engelstad was one of the nation’s few remaining independent casino owners. Engelstad also was one the central figures behind the creation of Las Vegas Motor Speedway. He and Bill Bennett of the Sahara Hotel provided the financing for and were the original owners of the speedway, before selling the $200-million plus facility to NASCAR track magnate O. Bruton Smith in December 1998. “Without his vision for what motorsports could bring to Las Vegas, the Speedway obviously wouldn’t be here today,” said LVMS General Manager Chris Powell. “He and Bill Bennett took at least some type of a risk in building a speedway without a guarantee of there ever being a NASCAR Winston Cup date. But it worked out very well. The employees of the speedway and certainly the fans that enjoy the racing at the speedway owe him a debt of gratitude.” Gov. Kenny Guinn today added: “Ralph Engelstad was one of the real entrepreneurial pioneers of the Las Vegas strip. He was also one of the colorful characters that makes up Nevada’s industry personality. He left his mark on our state’s largest industry. He will be missed.”(more at the Las Vegas Sun)(11-27-2002)
  • Sad News: West coast stock car racing pioneer Marvin Porter passed away on November 6, 2002 in San Felipe, Baja, Mexico at the age of 76. After a 4 year stint in the Air Force Marvin started racing jalopies around Southern California with great success. His close friend Parnelli Jones started driving NASCAR stock cars in 1956, and thought it was so much fun that during a game of cards at Marvin’s place one evening, he suggested that Marvin get a stock car ride and go racing with him. Marvin opted to do just that and got a ride in a Plymouth, owned by Jack Chataney. His first race was at Portland in May of 1957. Marvin went on to become the NASCAR 1959 Short Track National Champion and being named the “Comeback Driver of the Year” by The National Speed News. The publication praised him by saying “Marv Porter of California returned from major surgery to earn the Short Track Grand National Title”. Marv went on to become the 1960 Pacific Coast Late Model Champion (later to become the NASCAR Winston West Series) and also finished 7th in 1957, 4th in 1959 and 2nd in 1965. He had 11 career victories in the NASCAR stock car series. He was inducted into the West Coast Stock Car Hall of Fame in 2002. In later years he would become partners with his close friend Parnelli Jones and Vel Miletch in Parnelli Jones Enterprises becoming one of Firestone Tires largest dealers. In 1985 with Firestone getting out of the racing tire business he sold his interest in Parnelli Jones Enterprises and retired and moved with his wife of 33 years Penny, and moved to San Felipe, Baja, California. He leaves his wife Penny and son Curtis. Porter also won two Winston Cup races [in 1957 and 1960 in 34 starts](11-27-2002)
  • Crew Moves: hearing [not a big surprise] that many of the crew of the #22 Bill Davis Racing Team are laving and moving to the #7 Ultra Motorsports team where former crew chief Tommy Baldwin Jr is now working, others going to different teams.(11-27-2002)
  • Same Tires in 2003? According to Ford Racing’s Goodyear sources, the tire line up – and construction practices, have been fixed in stone for the 2003 season. With that comes the reality that a softer, racier, tire apparently won’t be part of the Goodyear offering for 2003. The tires, which one noted Ford driver calls “as hard as stainless steel”, were being looked at by NASCAR and a test of a softer compound tire was run in early August of this year. Those tests, which were run in conjunction with a larger greenhouse car, gave the drivers a bit more feel back in their cars – which is something that they’ve been looking for for some time now. But those hopes of improved feel apparently aren’t part of the Goodyear program for 2003 and with the exception of a few stand-alone Busch events the tires will follow the 2002 menu. The one notable exception is the newly designed Dover tire, which was run in September of this year when the tour was at that venue. That tire, and its pleasant handling and wear characteristics, will be carried over to both Dover shows this year.(Ford Racing)(11-27-2002)
  • No December Testing? Several months ago NASCAR, along with several time-generous teams, tested several car configurations [The Big Car Tests] at Daytona International Speedway. The tests were part of the ongoing NASCAR strategy to find an aero package that’ll give the drivers a bit more control over their destiny during a speedway event. Those tests, which were cut short by rain, gave the sanctioning body a few ideas to work with. Perhaps the most promising of those was a car with a raised front valance and lowered rear blade. The package reduced the total downforce on the cars and forced the drivers to work the throttle on a motor with a larger restrictor plate. The going theory, prior to the test being canceled by weather, was that NASCAR would find a few teams willing to visit Daytona in the month of December and continue on the path they were exploring. Those plans however have been consumed by the reality that the common template cars, which will be introduced in 2003, would skew the results and make any testing with older generation cars impractical. “We’ve delayed that a little bit because we don’t want to muddy the waters with what we’re trying to achieve in 2003,” said NASCAR Winston Cup Technical Director John Darby, recently. “We can still take all the 2002 cars and test a concept. If lower downforce at Daytona and Talladega was a concept for the testing we could still use our existing cars, but for everybody to understand the concept the first huge stumbling block of confusion that comes in is why are you running at Daytona with a 2002 Monte Carlo when it’s going away? We ask ourselves if it makes sense to do that, too, because even trying to force that issue to understand that all we’re testing is big downforce versus less downforce, there are still enough differences in the 2003 cars where we can’t apply it directly. So I think the feeling is although we’d still like to pursue that concept we want to hold up a little bit before to where we can do it with the cars we’re racing.” Asked why the tests couldn’t continue to get a general consensus on the lower downforce car while the teams worked on the 2003 common template cars Darby replied, “It’s two separate projects. We work every day looking at new stuff. We have to. It’s the only way we can stay level and try to improve the sport. We’ve got the 2003 car project going on and all the teams are building them. At the same time we’re investigating and testing and R&D-ing on a lot of different concepts not only for Daytona and Talladega but for every race track that we go to. Once the engineering part of that is complete we can start applying that to real world by going and doing some testing with the ideas and concepts.”(Ford Racing)(11-27-2002)
  • Rudd tests the #21 at Kentucky: Ricky Rudd became more acquainted with the Wood Bros. team by shaking down his new #21 Motorcraft Ford during a one-day test at Kentucky Speedway. The team battled temperatures in the low 30s and snow flurries to get a head start on working under the new NASCAR Winston Cup Series rules for the 2003 season. “This is only the third time we’ve tested together as a team, so we’re trying to get used to each other,” Rudd said. “We’re having a pretty good test, it’s just that the snow isn’t cooperating. It’s kind of a ˜shake down” cruise. We’re here with some of the cars built for the new rules.” Rudd, who tested at Kentucky last month with a 2002 machine, said he’s quickly adjusting to changes in the car’s performance. “(The new rules) pretty much require that all the race teams cut the bodies off their existing race cars and put on new bodies. It’s not a 10-minute deal, it’s about a two- to three-week process and it’s pretty involved. This car has been in the wind tunnel with the old body and been back with the new one, so we pretty much know what to expect. There’s some trial and error involved, but a lot of it is reading the data and doing what the data says we need to do,” he said. He also stated that NASCAR’s reduction in the number of times teams can test at Winston Cup tracks has made Kentucky Speedway a valuable preseason research tool.(Kentucky Speedway PR)(11-27-2002)

    (11-26-2002)

  • Childress still looking for #30 Crew Chief, Beam?: Car owner Richard Childress is still working on finding a new crew chief for the #30 AOL team and driver Jeff Green. Sources have told PRN’s “Garagepass”Ricky Craven’s crew chief Mike Beam might move over from the Tide team to take that job. Beam was supposed to be stepping down from the #32 crew chief and be more of a manager for the team.(11-26-2002)
  • Spencer Receives Certificate: Jimmy Spencer received a certificate and the American Flag flown over the skies of Kuwait & Irag on a combat mission in an F-16 Falcon during Operation Southern Watch & Enduring Freedom – Ahmed Al Jaber Air Base, Kuwait. The certificate and flag are on display in the fan viewing area at Spencer’s Busch Series shop in Mooresville, NC.(Spencer Motor Ventures)(11-26-2002)
  • Toyota V-8 Stock Car: The International Stockcar Alliance announced that veteran driver Mark Dilley will be racing in the upcoming 2003 ISA Exide Racing Series. The Barrie, Ontario resident will be driving a Toyota Camry, the first driver to do so, not only in ISA competition, but in North America. The first to drive a Toyota V8-powered Camry in North American stock car competition. The ISA is a new auto racing series, the International Stockcar Alliance, which will feature not only new cars, drivers, and racing venues, but will feature a chance for a driver and a fan to team up and win a million dollars each at six of the ISA’s races.(ISA Racing Site) [NOTE: Toyota is alos in Goody’s Dash but is NOT a V-8](11-26-2002)
  • TV Stuff: Kyle Petty, who will drive the #45 Georgia-Pacific/Brawny Dodge next season, will be featured on national network VH-1’s Top Twenty Countdown. The two-hour weekly show, one of the biggest on the network, counts down the hottest 20 videos in America, and is hosted by Aamer Haleem. Petty taped an interview during the Homestead, Fla., race weekend, and talked about his interest in music. He introduced the #4 video in the countdown, “Family Portrait,” by the artist, Pink. The show airs an average of five times during the week.(Williams Company PR)
    AND Shelby Howard, the youngest driver to ever compete in the 50-year history of the ARCA Series, will be featured on ABC’s prime-time show 20/20 on Friday, November 29th at 10:00pm/et. The renowned news magazine show went behind-the-scenes with the Howards to show the sacrifices that Howard and his family have made in order to advance his racing career. ABC also sent the 20/20 production crew to follow his progress at Kentucky Speedway this past July, and, in addition, traveled to his home for a more candid angle. Howard, who debuted in the ARCA RE/MAX Series on September 9th, 2001 at Salem Speedway, was barely 16 when he qualified 4th and finished 6th, actually leading a handful of laps in his first race. Howard finished 5th in the ARCA championship point standings, posting a career-best 2nd place finish on the heels of series champion Frank Kimmel at Winchester Speedway in August. (PR)(11-21-2002)
    UPDATE: Golin/Harris PR arranged the VH1 show that was shot in Miami. The show, VH1 Top Twenty Video Countdown, will premiere on Monday, Nov. 25 at 5:00pm/et and will feature Bill Elliott, Jeremy Mayfield, Jimmie Johnson, Jamie McMurray, Jeff Gordon, Dale Earnhardt Jr. and Kyle Petty.(11-23-2002)
    And More more on the Howard story at Tribtown: Local pit crew to be on ‘20/20’(11-26-2002)
  • Racing School Eyes Move: Race car driver and Kannapolis native Mike Herman Jr. is the lead instructor at Carolina Motorsports Tech Center based in Conover. Herman said the school provides technical training in all aspects of the industry, including the skills necessary to be part of a race team. Herman, whose office and shop are located in Kannapolis, is a USAR ProCup series driver and two-time track champion at the Concord Motorsports Park. He says the Cabarrus County area has done a good job in marketing and promoting the racing industry. The program has been in existence for seven years and was formerly based out of Catawba Valley Community College in Hickory. Now it operates as a separate entity close to the Hickory Motor Speedway, Herman said. Though the move is not certain yet, possible locations for the school include the Kannapolis Gateway Park and areas in close proximity to Interstate 85 and Dale Earnhardt Boulevard, Herman said.(Independent Tribune)(11-26-2002)
  • Spencer/Baldwin? It’s pretty much a given that Tommy Baldwin [already announced] and Jimmy Spencer are going to be at Ultra Racing in the 7 car.(FoxSports)(11-26-2002)
  • Parker leaves Roush for Yates UPDATE 2: #97 Car Chief Shawn Parker has left Roush Racing and will assume the Car Chief duties for the #38 M&M’s Ford of Yates Racing and Elliott Sadler.(11-20-2002)
    UPDATE: Elliott Sadler became acquainted with his new Robert Yates Racing NASCAR Winston Cup Team during a two-day test at Kentucky Speedway. The 27-year-old Sadler began preparing to become the new teammate of 1999 NASCAR Winston Cup Champion Dale Jarrett. Sadler enters the team seat vacated by veteran driver Ricky Rudd and will drive for new sponsor M&M’s Candies. After just two days on the job, he’s already impressed with the team chemistry. “It’s unbelievable how well this team works together, how focused they are and how good they want to be. I’m just glad to be a part of this team. I’m glad Robert and Doug have given me this chance. I’m working very well with Raymond so far, so I think things will be very bright for us this (upcoming) year,” Sadler said. Sadler added that he’s excited about building a promising future with Fox and Parker. “Raymond has worked with this team for a long time, I think it’s the only place he’s ever worked. He’s due for his chance to become a crew chief. He’s doing a great job. We’re both pretty young and we brought Shawn Parker over to be the car chief. We have a lot of good young guys on this race team that are eager to win and wanting to do what it takes to run good each and every week. Hopefully we’ll be together a long time and have some good success,” Sadler concluded. (Kentucky Speedway PR), been told that Yate’s will try something a little different and have co-crew chief with Fox and Parker.(11-21-2002)
    UPDATE 2: a surprise move in one way but not another is it appears that Jimmy Fennig’s right-hand man, Shawn Parker who was the car chief for Kurt Busch, will share crew chief duties with Raymond Fox at Robert Yates Racing with Elliott Sadler. Fox has been with Yates for probably 15 years. The challenge for that team is going to come on race day when you have to have one person making the calls.(FoxSports)(11-26-2002)
  • Helping Out: Benefiting the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children, America’s Most Wanted Racing launched their online store. Each purchase offers a percentage payable back to the National Center For Missing And Exploited Children, more info at Body Dynamics.(11-26-2002)
  • Just Remembering…. November 26, 2002, is eight years since champion crew chief Barry Dodson lost his two children Trey and Tia in a traffic accident. Trey and Tia were also the brother and sister of Trent and Travis Owens. Trent is a CTS driver and Travis is a chassis specialist on the #44 Petty Enterprises Team. Trent is still searching for employment for next year and Travis will be back with Petty team 44. Barry Co-hosted NASCAR this morning and NASCAR victory lane in year 2002 doing an excellent job and is excited about the coming year. Prayers and thoguhts go out to the family of Trey and Tia on this day of remembrance.(11-26-2002)

    (11-25-2002)

  • TRAC Launch Delayed: Team Sports Entertainment Inc. is pushing back the date it plans to start its TRAC stock car racing league until the second quarter of 2004, Street & Smith’s SportsBusiness Journal reports. Reporter Bill King says the information appears in documents filed with securities regulators last week. The publicly traded company blamed “adverse business conditions” for the delay, saying it had been unable to land a national television contract and therefore was unable to sell franchises. SportsBusiness Journal is published by Scene Daily’s parent company, Street & Smith’s Sports Group.(Winston Cup Scene Daily Newsletter)(11-25-2002)
  • Mike Wallace looking in 2003: No deal has been signed by Mike Wallace to drive the #14 AJ Foyt Racing car for next year and he is exploring any viable option for Winston Cup rides and sponsors for Cup and BGN.(Mike Wallace Fanclub)(11-25-2002)
  • Committee to spin off into a separate nonprofit agency: City officials, who oversaw the development of the city’s tribute to the late NASCAR star Dale Earnhardt, are spinning off their steering committee into a separate nonprofit agency. The group oversaw the development of the city’s tribute to racer, who was killed in the final lap of last year’s Daytona 500. A 9-foot-tall bronze statue of Earnhardt was unveiled last month in Dale Earnhardt Plaza in downtown Kannapolis. The plaza is a block away from the Dale Earnhardt Tribute Center by Sam Bass in Cannon Village’s Visitor Center. Operating a nonprofit group will allow the committee to continue fund raising for the sites by soliciting tax-deductible contributions, said city spokeswoman Jennifer Woodford, who has worked closely with the group. The money could be used for maintenance and upkeep of the sites and for other uses, Woodford said, perhaps including a scholarship fund. The committee still is working out what its mission, budget and structure would be as a nonprofit agency. Until now, it has been focused on launching the plaza and tribute center.(Charlotte Observer/ThatsRacin.com)(11-25-2002)
  • Davis & Weight Motorsports now #52 UPDATE driver for 2003?: Davis & Weight Motorsports will run the #52 Ford Taurus in the 2002 NASCAR Winston Cup Series season. No word on the team’s first race or driver. Davis & Weight Motorsports is currently working to secure corporate partners to compete in the 2002 NASCAR Winston Cup Series.(Davis & Weight Motorsports Site) The team used to run the #55 in the BGN and was the #81 in Cup but never ran a Cup race since buying the team from Filmar Racing in 1999.(2-26-2002)
    UPDATE: the Davis & Weight Motorsports site reports that they are now seeking corporate sponsors [as is many teams] for the 2003 Winston Cup and to be on the lookout for a new #52 driver, coming soon. Doesn’t say much else.(11-25-2002)
  • Conz plans to attempt the Daytona 500 UPDATE: ARCA driver, Brian Conz, BC Motorsports and Carb-R-All Racing plan to enter and run the 2003 Daytona 500. At this time their Winston Cup car number will be #78 and they are putting together a team and purchasing new equipment. Thier shop is located in Tennessee.(Brian Conz Site)(10-18-2002)
    UPDATE: BC Motorsports and Carb-R-All Racing is pleased to announce Brian Conz’s entry in the Daytona 500 scheduled to run on February 16, 2003. The team has moved into a shop in Mooresville, NC on Performance Dr. Veteran crew chief Steve Bird has signed on as crew chief. The team is waiting for NASCAR to issue our car number which will happen sometime after December 1st. The team currently has three cars and three engines in production and they will all be ready for testing in January.(Brian Conz Site)(11-25-2002)

 


(11-24-2002)

 

  • Motorsports 2003 Auto Racing Trade/Fan Show: The Motorsports 2003 show, the 18th annual edition, close to 300,000 square feet of everything motorsports, is set for January 10th through January 12th at the Fort Washington, PA Expo Center. More than 40,000 people are expected to make their way through the show during the three days. The show opens at 1:00pm on Friday, January 10th. Motorsports 2003 will again feature more than 600 exhibit booths with 400 plus dealers, manufacturers, speedways, organizations and others in the industry. There will be a full slate of race driver, race team and fan participation events. U.S.Smokeless Tobacco Co. will again sponsor the very popular Ms. Motorsports Contest. There will be a kids Big Wheel competition. And, as in the past, there will be antique race car displays, stage shows, Battle Bots and interviews with key people in the sport. Free autograph sessions, included in the price of admission, will be offered fans with many top local, regional and national racing personalities participating. And the always popular seminars and Motorsports Garage demonstrations will be an important part of the three day show. The seminars will cover everything from sponsorship to picking the right shocks and other informative sessions. The Hardcore Manufacturers Section will certainly be a popular area to visit for auto racers looking to learn what is new in the sport, what will make the race car handle better, what will make the car go faster and so much more. And for fans there is the huge collectible area with bargains to be found. The show, Motorsports 2003, takes place at the Fort Washington, PA Expo Center located just off the Pennsylvania Turnpike at Exit 26.(AARN PR)(11-24-2002)

    (11-23-2002)

  • Buckshot not racing in 2003: per the Buckshot00.com site and Buckshot Jones – “It is with great sadness that I must tell you that as of right now I have no plans to race full-time next season. Unfortunately, without a sponsor, there isn’t anything that we can do. We will be closing the website on November 30th. We will not continue the fan club in 2003. However, if an opportunity to race full-time arises, we will start the fan club and website back up. I can’t begin to tell you how much your support has meant to me throughout the years. Thank you for everything that you have done for me.(11-23-2002)
  • The Baja 1000 starts Nov 21st UPDATE 2: Winston Cup stock car driver Robby Gordon will lead the list of drivers from other major series competing in the Baja 1000. Of course, Gordon got his start in off-road racing and is a former winner of the event. Other recognized drivers from other series competing this year are Jimmy Vasser, Robbie Groff and Michel Jordain Jr. (CART), Brendan Gaughan (NASCAR Craftsman Trucks), sports car legend Elliott Forbes-Robinson and former IndyCar driver Roberto Guerrero.(San Diego Union Tribune)(11-21-2002)
    UPDATE: hearing Robby Gordon finished third in his class-Trophy Truck and 10th overall in the Baja. See more info and scoring at the www.off-road.com or www.score-international.com or www.bajawireless.com sites.(11-22-2002)
    UPDATE 2: Robby Gordon drove to a third-place finish in the Trophy Truck class of the Baja 1000 late Thursday night after holding a 10-minute lead on the field earlier in the event. In a solo drive, Gordon completed the 1,017-mile survival race through Baja California, Mexico, in 18 hours, 32 minutes and four seconds. The 33-year-old grabbed the lead (leading all classes in the Baja 1000) about 120 miles into the desert race but gave it up at mile marker 350 to work on a wheel bearing problem his No. 31 Trophy Truck had suffered. Gordon said he continued to add gear oil to the truck each time he made a scheduled pit stop and did not lose much extra time on those pit stops. His disadvantage was that the leaking oil hurt the rear brakes on the Trophy Truck.(RCR PR)(11-23-2002)
  • After 20 Years, Indoor Racing Returns To Atlantic City: Three-Quarter Midget racing is returning to Atlantic City’s Boardwalk Hall on Sat., Jan. 18, 2003, event organizer Lenny Sammons announced. The Atlantic City Indoor Race will bring competition back to the famed seaside venue for the first time since January 1981. A 40-lap TQ Midget feature will headline the racing card, which will also include Legends Cars. Neptune Research and the Green Flag Driving Experience are presenting sponsors. TQ Midget action was once a wintertime tradition in Atlantic City. A series for the division was run at the Boardwalk Hall from 1965 to ’81 [Jayski used to go in the 1970’s]. A total of 53 racing programs were presented inside the building–then called Convention Hall–during that 17-year period. The current Boardwalk Hall isn’t quite the same place it was for the last TQ Midget event, however. A multi-million-dollar reconstruction of the Boardwalk Hall was recently completed. While maintaining the 73-year-old structure’s classic appeal, architects modernized the Hall to accomodate the Miss America pagaent held each September on its stage as well as a variety of major sporting, performance and special events. Some changes in the Hall’s seating configuration during the refurbishing will force race officials to make the track size smaller than it was in the past, but it will still be significantly larger than most indoor layouts. The track will run completely around the outside of the Hall’s hockey rink and extend an additional 20 feet at one end to lengthen the straightaways. The track’s concrete surface will be treated with brake fluid and rosin to create maximum traction for the cars. Tickets will be go on sale on Mon., Nov. 25, at all Ticketmaster outlets and the Boardwalk Hall box office from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Saturday.(Area Auto Racing News Site)(11-23-2002)
  • Las Vegas Chapter of Speedway Children’s Charities to grant $228,000 to local children’s at LVMS: The Las Vegas Chapter of Speedway Children’s Charities will hold its annual Grant Distribution and Christmas Tree Lighting Ceremony at Las Vegas Motor Speedway on Tuesday, Dec. 3, at 6:00pm. The Las Vegas chapter will present checks in the total sum of $228,000 to 31 local children’s charities at the ceremony. At a time when most charities have experienced decreases in donations, the Las Vegas Chapter of Speedway Children’s Charities will grant $31,000 more than 2001. Last year, the Las Vegas chapter awarded a total of $196,500 to 17 causes. Fundraising events for the 2002 season included the annual NASCAR Driver Auction at Sam’s Town Live! (which raised $89,000), Bob & Mike’s Third Annual Birthday Bash (a street rod and race car show held in Eldorado Park) and an NHRA Jr. Dragster event held at The Strip at LVMS. The evening’s festivities will include a performance by the Culture Shock Las Vegas inner city dance troupe and a visit from Santa Claus. Chris Powell, president and general manager of Las Vegas Motor Speedway, will light the traditional SCC Christmas tree.(Las Vegas Motor Speedway PR)(11-23-2002)

    (11-22-2002)

  • Geoffrey in for Todd at Homestead UPDATE 3 Todd has surgery, will not be back in the #26…BUT: Geoffrey Bodine is in the #26 Discover Card Ford, subbing for his brother Todd, whose back was bothing him too much to race. Geoffrey will have to go to the rear of the field before the green flag(NBC Sports). More on the story at NASCAR.com(11-17-2002)
    UPDATE: Todd Bodine will have back surgery Friday to repair a disc he ruptured in his lower back last Thursday when he crashed his car during BGN race at Homestead. “I haven’t slept more than three hours a night since Friday,” Bodine said Wednesday from his Concord, N.C., home. “It’s been pretty painful.” He was able to compete in the Ford 300 on Saturday while wearing a corset-type back support. He finished 39th after his engine failed. Afterward, the pain became progressively worse and Bodine was forced to sit out Sunday’s Ford 400 Winston Cup race. His older brother Geoffrey, who failed to qualify the #09 Ford on Friday, substituted for Todd in the #26 Discover Card Ford. He finished 32nd. Todd Bodine, who has suffered from back problems since 1997, said he aggravated his back in an accident during the Rockingham Cup race. Bodine, who said the pain extends down into his right thigh, saw a specialist on Tuesday who made the diagnosis of a ruptured disc. He’ll be operated on at the Charlotte (N.C.) Medical Center at 12:30pm. Bodine said Cox Marketing will release a statement after the surgery. Bodine said his recovery from surgery is expected to take six to eight weeks. “That’s why we are doing it now, so we will be ready for testing at Daytona in January,” he said. Bodine is still trying to finalize his Winston Cup plans for 2003. He will not return to the #26 Haas Carter Motorsports team, which lost primary sponsor Discover Card. “I’ve got a few options,” Bodine said. “One of the deals could happen this week.” Bodine said a Winston Cup start-up team is one of the teams interested in him as a driver.(Star Gazette)(11-21-2002)
    UPDATE 2: been told that Todd Bodine is still could drive the #26 Ford if sponsorship is found. No word on who the start-up team is.(11-22-2002)
    UPDATE 3: Todd Bodine has successfully undergone endothscopic back surgery to repair a ruptured (L5S1) disc that kept him from competing in the Cup season finale at Homestead. Dr. Tim Adamson performed the 45-minute outpatient procedure today at the Carolinas Medical Center in Charlotte, NC. Bodine is expected to recover in six to eight weeks. Bodine has dealt with infrequent disc discomfort throughout the 2002 season and was prepared to seek treatment at the end of this year’s NASCAR calendar. However, recent on-track incidences, such as a crash at the Cup race at North Carolina Speedway, and an accident during BGN practice at Homestead are believed to have caused the disc to rupture requiring today’s surgery. “I am glad to be on the mend,” said Bodine at his home in Davidson, NC. “I visited Dr. Jerry Petty and Dr. Tim Adamson of Carolina NeuroSurgery and Spine the Monday after returning from Homestead. It was discovered at that time my bulged disc had ruptured. We decided right there to schedule surgery as soon as possible.” At the end of the 2001 NASCAR season, Dr. Adamson performed a similar surgery on Ricky Rudd. Bodine is expected to make a full recovery in time for the 2003 season-opening races in Daytona. “I am real pleased at how well the surgery went,” said Dr. Adamson. “If all goes as anticipated, we are looking for Todd will be able to get behind the wheel of a stock car by the middle of January and be 100% for Speedweeks in February 2003.” In the meantime, the 38-year-old driver has been told to relax and is only being allowed to stand up or lay down. When cleared, a physical therapy regimen is planned at the supervision of Dr. Adamson. “The best case scenario is to start Todd on a physical therapy program in two weeks after the surgery site has scarred over that will include stretching and strengthening exercises,” added Dr. Adamson. Todd and his wife, Lynn credit Denise Meeks, the BGN Medical Liaison for her help in coordinating Monday’s medical examination after their return from Miami. “Throughout the entire season, in both the NASCAR Busch and Winston Cup Series, we have had the pleasure of dealing with the NASCAR medical liaisons in the at-track care centers. They have made medical situations so much less trying and stressful for the competitors and our families. We cannot thank them enough for being there for us as well as NASCAR for putting them in place. It is a program that is greatly appreciated,” added Bodine.(Cox Marketing Group PR). NOTE: It is my understanding that if Haas-Carter Motorsports can find sponsorship and Todd Bodine is available to drive, he will be back in the #26 Ford.(11-22-2002)
  • Atwood Won’t Know for another week or so: Casey Atwood won’t learn his fate with Evernham Motorsports until after Thanksgiving, Atwood’s father said yesterday. Atwood, 22, has one year left on his three-year contract with Ray Evernham. Atwood drove the #7 Sirius Dodge most of this season under a partnership between Evernham and Jim Smith, but Evernham terminated that partnership after Smith replaced Atwood with Jason Leffler with two races to go. ”Ray told Casey he wanted to wait until after Thanksgiving, then they’ll get together,” Casey’s father, Terry Atwood, said yesterday. ”Right now, Casey doesn’t know a thing.”(Tennessean)(11-22-2002)
  • da Matta beats Stewart: CART champion Cristiano da Matta has broken NASCAR’s five-year stranglehold on the Driver of the Year award in historic fashion. For the first time in the award’s 36-year history, a tiebreaker was used to determine the winner after da Matta and 2002 NASCAR Winston Cup champion Tony Stewart each drew six votes from a nationwide panel of 16 motorsports journalists. Points awarded to each driver during four quarterly ballots were added, and da Matta beat Stewart 246-66 to claim the honor. Da Matta, a 29-year-old Brazilian nicknamed “Shorty,” clinched with three races remaining in a 19-event schedule. His 73-point margin over second-place Bruno Junqueira was the widest [actually 2nd widest] in CART history. Stewart, meanwhile, was taken to the season’s 36th and final race at Homestead-Miami Speedway on Sunday before clinching the Cup title over Mark Martin by 38 points. Stewart, a 31-year-old native of Indiana, posted two poles, three victories and 15 top-five finishes in the #20 Home Depot Pontiac Grand Prix owned by Joe Gibbs. Beginning with Jeff Gordon in 1997, the Winston Cup champion also had won Driver of the Year through 2001. Also receiving votes in a secret ballot were Pennzoil World of Outlaws champion Steve Kinser and National Hot Rod Association Top Fuel champion Larry Dixon. John Force, the 12-time NHRA Funny Car champion and 1996 Driver of the Year, was the cumulative winner of a fan vote on ESPN.com. Winston Cup driver Kurt Busch won the fourth-quarter vote 117-59 over two-time Indy Racing League champion Sam Hornish Jr.(Fort Worth Star Telegram)(11-22-2002)
  • Silly Season Stuff: Nearly 300 days ago, teams were getting ready to head to Daytona with hopes of a great year. Some were well-established teams while others were just hoping to make it in the big time. Do you realize that, of the 53 teams that drove through the tunnel at Daytona back in February, only 40 of them had the same driver in the seat come the end of the season? That’s a 25.5 percent turnover rate. Sterling Marlin, who finished eighth and led the point chase for 25 weeks, is one. Mike Wallace, who was in the #33 that day, finished the year in the #14. The #33 team lost funding and didn’t run the whole season. Stacy Compton, who started in the #14, ended up finishing ninth in the Busch Series. Others who ran the Daytona 500 but had other deals come last weekend were, Kenny Wallace (1/23), Casey Atwood (7/91), Hut Stricklin (23/?), Jerry Nadeau (25/44/01), Joe Nemechek (26/25), Buckshot Jones (44/?), Shawna Robinson (49/?), Todd Bodine (66/26), Dave Marcis (71/retired) and Robert Pressley in the #92/CTS.(Caledonian Record)(11-22-2002)
  • More TV Ratings Stuff: NBC’s NASCAR Winston Cup finale, the Ford 400.from Homestead-Miami Speedway, on Sunday delivered a 5.2 national rating/11 share, NASCAR’s best rating ever against pro football, according to Nielsen Media Research. The 5.2 rating propelled the NBC & TNT 2002 NASCAR Winston Cup season average to a 13 percent increase over 2001 and an explosive 59 percent increase over 2000, the year prior to the current television rights deal. The 19 NASCAR Winston Cup telecasts on NBC & TNT over the second half of the 2002 season averaged an impressive 4.3 national rating/10 share, up 13 percent over last year’s 3.8/10, and a 59 percent increase over the 2.7/8 for the 2000 season.. (All season averages exclude the Daytona 500 and the primetime Pepsi 400 – the two races which alternate between NBC and Fox each year). For the eight NASCAR on NBC pre-race shows that ran from the start of the NFL season through Nov. 17th, NBC’s “Discover Card Countdown to Green”.averaged a 2.6/7, making it the second highest rated Sunday “pre-game” show, outperforming CBS’ “NFL Today” (2.5/7).. Fox’s “NFL Sunday” averaged a 3.5/10.. Additionally, NBC’s NASCAR pre-race show outperformed CBS’ “NFL Today” five of the seven times when the two programs aired head-to-head. Fifteen of the 20 NBC & TNT races (including Daytona) equaled or improved the household ratings from 2001 and seven of the eight NBC races that went head-to-head against pro football achieved a rating of 4.0 or better. Last year, only three of six races generated a 4 rating in head-to-head competition with pro football. NBC & TNT’s key adult 18-49 demographic for the 19 NASCAR Winston Cup races generated a 2.7 rating, a four percent increase over last year’s 2.6 average.. Men 18-49 posted a 3.5, a three percent increase over the 3.4 for 2001. Chicago was NBC’s most improved NASCAR market, up 38 percent over 2001 to a 3.3/7.(NBC PR)(11-22-2002)
  • Elledge to the #41? UPDATE 2: hearing that #55 crew chief Jimmy Elledge could be moving to the #41 team, especially if Hamiton goes there as the driver.(11-13-2002)
    UPDATE: Jimmy Elledge has said he won’t return as crew chief for Andy Petree’s #55, and it’s possible that if Ken Schrader moves to that car, he’ll bring Newt Moore, his chief from the #36.(Sporting News)(11-18-2002)
    UPDATE 2: hearing Elledge has been hired as the new #41 crew chief, no word on Randolph’s 2003 plans.(11-20-2002)
    UPDATE 3: Elledge has been hired as the crew chief for the #41 Target Dodge, also leading to speculation that Bobby Hamilton, who worked with Elledge at the #55 could be the next driver if the #41 car.(PRN’s Garage Pass Radio Show)(11-22-2002)
  • More Kentucky Testing: Christian Fittipaldi continued his stock car education while Hank Parker, Jr., mulled his racing future during Dodge testing for Petty Enterprises and Evernham Motorsports at Kentucky Speedway. Parker, Jr., visited Kentucky with Evernham Motorsports to test its 2003 engine program. The 28-year-old driver, who finished 14thin the 2002 BGN with Jesel Motorsports, said he is weighing his future after team title sponsor GNC announced it would not return to the BGN in 2003. Fittipaldi was a surprise addition to the Kentucky Speedway test roster. Petty Enterprises Crew Chief Gary Putnam said Fittipaldi will run an undetermined mix of ARCA, BGN and Winston Cup Series events in 2003. Putnam, who moved from MB2/Valvoline to Petty Enterprises in September, said the 31-year-old Petty prodigy is making quick progress up the stock car learning curve.(Kentucky Speedway PR)(11-22-2002)
  • APR laying folks off? UPDATEs and links to possible jobs: hearing Andy Petree Racing has laid off many of their employees and crew as no sponsorship has been found for 2003 yet.
    UPDATE: heard from the team and been told that as of today they do not have anything signed for next year, but are very close, and did lay some people off Monday. APR is very close to signing a full deal for next year and beyond and they hope to announce a deal within 10 days. Plus on Speed Channel’s Inside Winston Cup, Kenny Schrader, who is rumored to drive for APR in 2003 said for he hopes to announce a sponsor deal on Speed News (on Speed Channel Sunday’s at 7pm) soon.(11-18-2002)
    UPDATE 2: Two years of sponsorship concerns are beginning to wear on NASCAR team owner Andy Petree. But Petree is optimistic that he will be able to announce a sponsorship deal to ensure the financial health of his #55 team as early as next week. Petree laid off an unspecified number of workers Monday but said Tuesday that he hopes most of the layoffs are only temporary. Petree and driver Kenny Schrader, with support from NASCAR, are talking to a potential sponsor for next season. Meanwhile, the remaining 30-plus members of the team are working to prepare cars for next season; they recently conducted a wind-tunnel test. “We’re definitely not shutting the door by any means,” Petree says. “The people that we have are working their butts off.”(USA Today)(11-20-2002)
    Job Help: Racing Resumes is offering help to those laid off from this team and others (including the BGN and CTS series) as is other Job placement servies, see my Racing Schools/Jobs page for links and info.(11-20-2002)
    UPDATE 3: Andy Petree has confirmed that Ken Schrader will drive the #55 Chevy next year, if the owner can secure sponsorship for the team. Petree says his sponsorship woes aren’t solved just yet, but he feels confident they will be within the week. Petree told NASCAR.com on Thursday that his search for monetary backing is “going pretty good,” although he would not specify with whom he is negotiating. Earlier this week, Petree laid off an unspecified number of workers, but added that he hopes most of the layoffs are only temporary. Petree said the #55 team has two 2003 Chevy’s built — one for speedways and another for tracks requiring more downforce. A second speedway car, which was taken to the wind tunnel last week, is nearly done.(NASCAR.com)(11-22-2002)
  • Fox News: Not surprisingly, Fox has said a firm “no” to old age and treachery and “yes” to the bright young stars of NASCAR. Airing this Sunday during NFL on Fox coverage is the first wave of the 2003 NASCAR on FOX on-air promotion campaign. The spots feature several up and coming “Young Guns of NASCAR,” who are not only winning races, but are breaking through traditional perceptions surrounding this major sport. Intended to convey that NASCAR currently showcases some of the coolest, bravest athletes in all of sports, the campaign stars Dale Earnhardt, Jr., Jimmie Johnson, Ryan Newman and Matt Kenseth. The concept for each promo surrounds the driver’s family tree, and in an unexpected way, reveals that the parents, or grandparents, of these drivers had a flare for risk taking and craziness. These traits have passed down to their children, thus the spot’s tag line: “NASCAR’s Young Guns were born to make racing more exciting.” (Fox Sports Press Release via MotorsportsTV)(11-22-2002)
  • Most Wanted News: America’s Most Wanted/Body Dynamics Motorsports gets mention on the “John Walsh Show” about their work in assisting Mike Kibalo in trying to find his missing 3 year old daughter Samantha. Mike was a guest on the show and the spoke of the race teams efforts and showed pictures of the race car.(America’s Most Wanted Motorsports PR)(11-22-2002)

    (11-21-2002)

  • Vasser testing BGN car? UPDATE: hearing CART driver Jimmy Vasser was testing a Busch car at Lakeland [FL] this week. Ganassi? Braun?(11-20-2002)
    UPDATE: hearing that Vasser and David Reutimann (who drove a few BGN races for Joe Nemechek) tested the #92 Herzog-Jackson Motorsports Chevy at Lakeland and will testing next week at Kentuck with Vasser, Reutimann, and another driver. Also the #92 laid off ten team members earlier this week including the Engineer, shop forman, lead fabricator, and several mechanics.(11-21-2002)
  • Parker leaves Roush for Yates UPDATE: #97 Car Chief Shawn Parker has left Roush Racing and will assume the Car Chief duties for the #38 M&M’s Ford of Yates Racing and Elliott Sadler.(11-20-2002)
    UPDATE: Elliott Sadler became acquainted with his new Robert Yates Racing NASCAR Winston Cup Team during a two-day test at Kentucky Speedway. The 27-year-old Sadler began preparing to become the new teammate of 1999 NASCAR Winston Cup Champion Dale Jarrett. Sadler enters the team seat vacated by veteran driver Ricky Rudd and will drive for new sponsor M&M’s Candies. After just two days on the job, he’s already impressed with the team chemistry. “It’s unbelievable how well this team works together, how focused they are and how good they want to be. I’m just glad to be a part of this team. I’m glad Robert and Doug have given me this chance. I’m working very well with Raymond so far, so I think things will be very bright for us this (upcoming) year,” Sadler said. Sadler added that he’s excited about building a promising future with Fox and Parker. “Raymond has worked with this team for a long time, I think it’s the only place he’s ever worked. He’s due for his chance to become a crew chief. He’s doing a great job. We’re both pretty young and we brought Shawn Parker over to be the car chief. We have a lot of good young guys on this race team that are eager to win and wanting to do what it takes to run good each and every week. Hopefully we’ll be together a long time and have some good success,” Sadler concluded. (Kentucky Speedway PR), been told that Yate’s will try something a little different and have co-crew chief with Fox and Parker.(11-21-2002)
  • Melling CTS team? Stacy Compton’s sponsorship for 2003 is shaping up so he and Darrell Waltrip would run four trucks races apiece in the Dodge owned by Lynchburg businessman Jim Harris. “I’ve talked with Jim Harris and Mark Melling is certainly looking to somebody in the truck for a full season,” Compton said. “If the opportunity comes up where Mark Melling gets a Winston Cup deal to run Daytona, we’ll run it.”(News and Advance)(11-21-2002)

    (11-20-2002)

  • Sad News: Florida driver Pete Orr passed away Monday night after his battle with cancer and pneumonia. Orr also ran the Pete Orr’s Winners Circle Racing School in Florida, and has held positions of crew chief, team manager and consultant. Orr crewed for the likes of Junior Hanley and Darrell Waltrip, and raced in many levels of top level stock cars including the NASCAR Busch Grand National series. Orr won Florida Governor’s Cup titles in 1993 and 1994 and was one of the most popular racers in the State. In the last few years Pete had tried to focus on his racing school, and working with young stars of the Florida Late Model scene.(Florida Stock Car Racing) and nice story about Orr at RacingDiva.(11-20-2002)
  • #19 Shakeup UPDATE Furr? Sources inside Evernham Motorsports say a major shakeup is expected on the #19. Feelers were put out in the garage for a crew chief and a driver — yes, a driver, even though Jeremy Mayfield has been in the car just one season and has a year left on his contract. Busch Series driver Shane Hmiel, 22, has been mentioned for the Evernham ride and as a candidate to replace Spencer at Ganassi Racing.(Sporting News)(11-18-2002)
    UPDATE: hearing Tony Furr [formerly of the #7 and the #25 in 2002] could be the new crew chief of the #19 Dodge, guess the committee thing didn’t pan out? If Mayfield does leave rumored drivers are Shame Hmiel and Hank Parker Jr.(11-20-2002)
  • Garage Access update: NASCAR officials met with Winston Cup track operators to discuss how both sides can limit the amount of people in the garage area at Winston Cup races. Drivers have complained recently about the large numbers of fans that swarm the garage area each race weekend. The issue came to a head in August when Tony Stewart was accused of shoving a female fan at Bristol Motor Speedway. Stewart was cleared of any wrongdoing in the incident, but NASCAR vowed to look into who gets garage passes to its Winston Cup races.(Las Vegas Sun)(11-20-2002)
  • F1 Visitor’s at Homestead UPDATE: Three-time Formula One champion Alain Prost strolled through the pits and paddock Friday at Miami-Homestead Speedway, getting his first look at NASCAR stock cars. “They are very loud, just like Formula One,” Prost said, smiling. The Frenchman, whose Prost F1 team went bankrupt midway through the 2002 season, was the guest of Winston Cup and Busch Series car owner George deBidart. Also visiting the track Friday was F1 driver and former CART champion Juan Pablo Montoya. Montoya, who has a home in Miami, was the guest of Target/Chip Ganassi Racing team manager Andy Graves, who ran Ganassi’s Indy-car operation in 2000 when Montoya won the Indianapolis 500.(ThatsRacin.com/AP)(11-16-2002)
    UPDATE: What brought the former Formula One team owner to the NASCAR finale? He was a guest of George deBidart, a Busch team owner who may have a full-time Winston Cup team in the near future. All he would say that morning “I’m here to see some people and look around the garages.” What does a former Formula One team owner and a NASCAR team owner have in common? That’s easy, sponsorship. Even though the Prost Formula One team failed due to financial troubles one year ago, the type of money needed over there makes even the most expensive Winston Cup deal look like petty cash. Both Prost and deBidart were not waiting around to be interviewed but don’t be surprised if some deal is cooking and there will be enough new financing to make it a serious effort.(more at RacingOne)(11-20-2002)
  • DW and Mikey: Heard that Michael Waltrip and Darrell Waltrip are filming another series of Aaron’s Rents commercials today in Charlotte. No word if Michael will finally let his big brother drive the #99 Dream Machine.(11-20-2002)
  • SAFER Test: NASCAR managing director of competition Gary Nelson plans to visit the University of Nebraska this week to test a modified version of the impact-absorbing SAFER barrier that is designed to fit short tracks. Dean Sicking, the barrier’s designer, and his staff have built a mock-up of the high-banked, short-radius turns at Richmond International Raceway and will hit the modified SAFER barrier with an unoccupied race car. If it achieves impact-absorbing results similar to those from the barrier’s first deployment at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway, SAFER could be installed at more tracks next season. The barrier was used on the inside retaining walls at Talladega Superspeedway in October.(USA Today)(11-20-2002)
  • IROC Testing at Daytona: The True IROC team began testing Tuesday at Daytona International Speedway, which will host the opening event for True Value IROC XXVII on Feb. 14, 2003. As previously announced, the 2001 and 2002 Pennzoil World of Outlaw (WoO) champions, Danny Lasoski and Steve Kinser, respectively, were in attendance and turned laps on the 2.5-mile high-banked tri-oval. Kinser’s last True Value IROC appearance was in 1996 and Tuesday was reorientation day for the dirt track ace. Veteran test drivers, Dave Marcis, Jim Sauter and Andy Hillenburg were on hand to shake down the cars and provide drafting practice for Kinser and Lasoski. The True Value IROC team will continue testing at Daytona International Speedway on Wednesday.(IROC PR)(11-20-2002)
  • A New Sadler: Angie and Hermie Sadler are the proud parents of new daughter Naomi Rose Sadler, born November 19th.. Parents and baby are doing fine. Congrats.(Sadler Fanclub)(11-20-2002)
  • Stewart and NASCAR Silicon Motor Speedway: Newly-crowned NASCAR Winston Cup champion Tony Stewart has been named spokesman and technical advisor for NASCAR Silicon Motor Speedway Racing Centers Perfect Line, Inc., a wholly-owned subsidiary of IMTS, owns and operates the unique NASCAR Silicon Motor Speedway mall-based racing centers. Stewart will be featured in promotions, advertising and point-of-sale material for NASCAR Silicon Motor Speedway and will also make appearances at racing center locations throughout the country. In addition, Stewart will offer his technical expertise as a consultant to the management of NASCAR Silicon Motor Speedway, providing valuable input from the perspective of the NASCAR Winston Cup champion. Stewart will receive one of the unique NASCAR racing simulators used in the racing centers and will race privately on the simulator to gather technical information for NASCAR Silicon Motor Speedway management. Perfect Line’s NASCAR Silicon Motor Speedway racing centers are the largest chain of officially licensed, NASCAR-branded interactive entertainment stores in the world, and offers its customers the most popular NASCAR merchandise available. For more information on IMTS, please visit their website at www.SMSonline.com.(Perfect Line PR)(11-20-2002)
  • Ward, Milk and Hershey’s: The national launch of Drive to Read @ your library, a program developed by Hershey’s Milk and the American Library Association (ALA) begins its second year to ignite interest in reading among America’s teens and drive them into libraries. With NASCAR driver Ward Burton at the wheel, the program is designed to connect with teens by aligning libraries with one of the nation’s well-known NASCAR drivers and Hersehy’s Milk. According to the most recent reading survey and test scores gathered from the National Assessment for Educational Progress (NAEP)*, reading scores have made no significant statistical gains since the 1970s. The report also suggests that a smaller percentage of 13- to 17-year-olds read daily for fun today than in 1971.. The next NAEP reading study is expected for release in Spring 2003. The purpose of Drive to Read @ your library is to encourage young adults nationwide to discover the value of libraries, to check out and read books for knowledge and entertainment, and to discover how books bring a world of opportunity to today’s teens. The Drive to Read @ your library program calls for teens to read one of the “Best Books for Young Adults” for 2002, which are selected by librarians through the Young Adult Library Services Association, a division of the American Library Association.. Teens are encouraged to submit an entry on a favorite literary hero through essay, monologue, poem, mural, video or other creative means. Teens are allowed to work in teams of up to four or alone, but once the entry has been completed, they need to check in with their school or public librarian to ask him/her to sponsor the contest entry. The lucky teen or team will win a trip to Miami in Spring 2003 to meet program spokesperson Ward Burton and enjoy the weekend at the beach. For all of the program details, interested teens should race to www.hersheysmilk.com.(PR)(11-20-2002)

    (11-19-2002)

  • New #77 Crew Chief? UPDATE: hearing the new crew chief for the #77 Jasper Motorsports Ford and driver Dave Blaney will be Robert ‘Bootie’ Barker, who has been the crew chief of the #23 Bill Davis Racing BGN team.(11-18-2002)
    UPDATE: Robert “Bootie” Barker has been named as crew chief for the #77 Jasper Engines & Transmissions Ford Team and driver Dave Blaney. Barker will assume his role immediately after serving two full seasons as crew chief for the #23 Bill Davis Racing team and driver Scott Wimmer in the BGN. Barker, 31, is a former chassis/shock specialist for the #24 Hendrick Motorsports team for four-time NASCAR Winston Cup Series champion Jeff Gordon (1999-2000) and for the #22 Bill Davis Racing team and driver Ward Burton (1998-99). He rejoined BDR in fall, 2000 as crew chief for Wimmer, then a recent graduate of the American Speed Association (ASA), and flourished in his first managerial role, guiding Wimmer to four NASCAR Busch Series victories and finishes of 11th and third, respectively, in the NBS standings (2001-2002) with limited sponsorship support. A native of Halifax, VA, Barker began his motorsports career working on Late Model Stock Cars for current Busch Series regular Ashton Lewis while still in college. He graduated from Old Dominion University in 1996 with a degree in mechanical engineering. Prior to joining the #22 BDR team in 1998, Barker worked as a chassis specialist for owner Kurt Roehrig in the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series. In guiding Wimmer in his Busch Series championship run during the 2002 season, Barker’s BDR Pontiac entries earned BGN victories at Dover, Memphis, Phoenix and Miami in the final quarter of the season and posted 25 top-ten finishes in 70 total races with Wimmer (2000-02). Barker’s entries also completed all but 345 of 6,546 total laps (including 274 laps in two of four DNFs) in 2002 and continued a two-season trend in which he helped Wimmer improve his start/finish ratio in 55 of the 60 races he finished, including all but three races this season. Barker also directed a limited NASCAR Winston Cup Series program at BDR for Wimmer this season, including starts at Bristol and Phoenix.(Jaspers Motorsports PR)(11-19-2002)<
    BR>
  • Foyt to Dodge? hearing A.J. Foyt Racing may be switching from Pontiac to Dodge in 2003 for the #14 Conseco car and the un-numbered (#50?) Harrah’s car.(11-19-2002)
  • A Wild UPS Commercial? Hearing that Darrell WaltripLarry McReynolds and Mike Joy recently filmed a new UPS commercial in Charlotte.. No word on when it will air.(11-19-2002)
  • Spencer to the #7? hearing Jimmy Spencer will drive the Ultra Motorsports #7 Dodge in 2003. Sirius Satellite Radio returns as the sponsor. Spencer won two NASCAR Modified Tour titles battling new crew chief Tommy Baldwin’s father [who is the new #7 crew chief], who still competes in that series.(11-19-2002)
  • Some Stats – Youngest Top 10 in last 14 years: this year’s group of top 10 drivers in the final points standings is the youngest by average age since 1988. Based on what a driver’s age was AT THE TIME THE SEASON ENDED.
    2002 (driver’s age at the time the season ended in parentheses): Tony Stewart (31); Mark Martin (43); Kurt Busch (24); Jeff Gordon (31); Jimmie Johnson (27); Ryan Newman (24); Rusty Wallace (46); Matt Kenseth (30); Dale Jarrett (45); Ricky Rudd (46) 2002 Average Age: 34.7
    2001: Jeff Gordon (30); Tony Stewart (30); Sterling Marlin (44); Ricky Rudd (45); Dale Jarrett (44); Bobby Labonte (37); Rusty Wallace (45); Dale Earnhardt Junior (27); Kevin Harvick (25); Jeff Burton (34). 2001 Average Age: 36.1
    2000: Bobby Labonte (36); Dale Earnhardt (49); Jeff Burton (33); Dale Jarrett (43); Ricky Rudd (44); Tony Stewart (29); Rusty Wallace (44); Mark Martin (41); Jeff Gordon (29); Ward Burton (39). 2000 Average Age: 38.7
    1999: Dale Jarrett (42); Bobby Labonte (35); Mark Martin (40); Tony Stewart (28); Jeff Burton (32); Jeff Gordon (28); Dale Earnhardt (48); Rusty Wallace (43); Ward Burton (38); Mike Skinner (42). 1999 Average Age: 37.6
    1998: Jeff Gordon (27); Mark Martin (39); Dale Jarrett (41); Rusty Wallace (42); Jeff Burton (31); Bobby Labonte (34); Jeremy Mayfield (29); Dale Earnhardt (47); Terry Labonte (41); Bobby Hamilton (41). 1998 Average Age: 37.2
    1997: Jeff Gordon (26); Dale Jarrett (40); Mark Martin (38); Jeff Burton (30); Dale Earnhardt (46); Terry Labonte (41); Bobby Labonte (33); Bill Elliott (42); Rusty Wallace (41); Ken Schrader (42). 1997 Average Age: 37.9
    1996: Terry Labonte (39); Jeff Gordon (25); Dale Jarrett (39); Dale Earnhardt (45); Mark Martin (37); Ricky Rudd (40); Rusty Wallace (40); Sterling Marlin (39); Bobby Hamilton (39); Ernie Irvan (37). 1996 Average Age: 38.0
    1995: Jeff Gordon (24); Dale Earnhardt (44); Sterling Marlin (38); Mark Martin (36); Rusty Wallace (39); Terry Labonte (38); Ted Musgrave (39); Bill Elliott (40); Ricky Rudd (39); Bobby Labonte (31). 1995 Average Age: 36.8
    1994: Dale Earnhardt (43); Mark Martin (35); Rusty Wallace (38); Ken Schrader (39); Ricky Rudd (38); Morgan Shepherd (53); Terry Labonte (37); Jeff Gordon (23); Darrell Waltrip (47); Bill Elliott (39). 1994 Average Age: 39.2
    1993: Dale Earnhardt (42); Rusty Wallace (37); Mark Martin (34); Dale Jarrett (36); Kyle Petty (33); Ernie Irvan (34); Morgan Shepherd (52); Bill Elliott (38); Ken Schrader (38); Ricky Rudd (37). 1993 Average Age: 38.1
    1992: Alan Kulwicki (37); Bill Elliott (37); Davey Allison (31); Harry Gant (52); Kyle Petty (32); Mark Martin (33); Ricky Rudd (36); Terry Labonte (35); Darrell Waltrip (45); Sterling Marlin (35). 1992 Average Age: 37.3
    1991: Dale Earnhardt (40); Ricky Rudd (35); Davey Allison (30); Harry Gant (51); Ernie Irvan (32); Mark Martin (32); Sterling Marlin (34); Darrell Waltrip (44); Ken Schrader (36); Rusty Wallace (35). 1991 Average Age: 36.9
    1990: Dale Earnhardt (39); Mark Martin (31); Geoff Bodine (41); Bill Elliott (35); Morgan Shepherd (49); Rusty Wallace (34); Ricky Rudd (34); Alan Kulwicki (35); Ernie Irvan (31); Ken Schrader (35). 1990 Average Age: 36.4
    1989: Rusty Wallace (33); Dale Earnhardt (38); Mark Martin (30); Darrell Waltrip (42); Ken Schrader (34); Bill Elliott (34); Harry Gant (49); Ricky Rudd (33); Geoff Bodine (40); Terry Labonte (33). 1989 Average Age: 36.6
    1988: Bill Elliott (33); Rusty Wallace (32); Dale Earnhardt (37); Terry Labonte (32); Ken Schrader (33); Geoff Bodine (39); Darrell Waltrip (41); Davey Allison (27); Phil Parsons (31); Sterling Marlin (31). 1988 Average Age: 33.6.
    (11-19-2002)
  • Wells Fargo moving UPDATE: #11-Brett Bodine Racing was surprised and very disappointed to hear over the weekend, and confirm this morning that Wells Fargo Financial will be going to another team for 2003. Supposedly the other team is the #45 Petty Enterprises team.(10-28-2002)
    UPDATE: Wells Fargo Financial, the North American consumer finance subsidiary of Wells Fargo & Company, announced today it has finalized an agreement to sponsor the Petty Enterprises #45 Dodge driven by Kyle Petty beginning in 2003. Wells Fargo Financial will partner with Kyle, Georgia-Pacific, and the entire Petty Enterprises team to build on its successful program in NASCAR. The associate sponsorship provides significant benefit and impact to Wells Fargo Financial’s business lines through driver appearances, client/dealer entertainment, customer promotions, show car appearances, and employee incentives.(Williams Company PR)(11-19-2002)
  • Photographer Burned In Spencer Crash UPDATE: Bob LeSieur, photographer for Speedway Scene, was burned on his arms and face when Jimmy Spencer crashed on lap 194 and backed into the first turn wall. The car burst into flames and LeSieur wasn’t looking at the action because he was changing film in the camera. LeSieur was taken to the infield care center, treated and released. His eyebrows were singed and the burns weren’t serious so he returned to shooting for the weekly racing newspaper.(Insider Racing News)(11-17-2002)
    UPDATE: Bob LeSieur is the son of Speedway Scene editor Val LeSieur, who founded Speedway Scene more than 30 years ago. Ironically, their paper has covered Jimmy Spencer since the beginning of “Mr. Excitement’s” career.(11-19-2002)
  • Dodge News UPDATE: hearing that Dodge Motorsports’ John Fernandez got a major promotion last week to Director of Motorsports and Performance Parts. This could be be a considerable upswing in Dodge PVO money going to racing in 2003.(11-18-2002)
    UPDATE: John Fernandez replaces Jim Julow at Dodge, who recently retired. Fernandez was raised on dirt track modifieds in upstate New York at much at the famed Fonda Speedway.(11-19-2002)
  • NAPCM Pit Crew of the Week – Homestead #6: High performance pit stops at Homestead Miami Speedway took the #6 Viagra team from a 34th place start to a 4th place finish. Congratulations #6 Viagra Crew on a great season and for earning this week’s NAPCM “Pit Crew Of The Week” award, sponsored by Toxabsorb (www.toxabsorb.com), “Instant non-skid pit stall prep, creating grip for faster pit stops” and “Official Spill Response Agent of the National Association Of Pit Crew Members”. Check out the final 2002 Mechanix Wear “Pit Crew Of The Year Award” standings and latest, NEW NAPCM member benefits, available at the National Association Of Pit Crew Members website (www.napcm.com).(11-19-2002)
  • Kenseth’s Dad to Promote Track: Madison International Speedway will have its third different owner since the track re-opened in 1992. Terry Kunes is in the process of finalizing the purchase of Madison International Speedway. Mr. Kunes has announced that Roy Kenseth, father of Winston Cup star Matt Kenseth, will be the promoter/manager of the Speedway.(Madison International Speedway site)(11-19-2002)
  • Testing at Kentucky: Bill Davis Racing, Evernham Motorsports, Roush Racing and Robert Yates Racing begin testing for the 2003 season at Kentucky Speedway this week. Drivers scheduled to take to the track include Kenny Wallace [11/21], Hank Parker, Jr.[11/21], Mark Martin[11/20], and Elliott Sadler[11/19-20]. The site also has Herzog Motorsports doing Winston Cup testing, they ran in BGN in 2002 and Ricky Rudd testing the #21 on 11/26.(Kentucky Speedway PR)(11-19-2002)
  • Not NASCAR but nice story: Picking the recipient of the first Charlie Chamblee Honor Award was an easy task for Huntsville Speedway owner Terry Sanford Saturday night at his annual awards banquet. Hobby Stock driver Heath Mullins, who has cerebral palsy and is confined to a wheelchair took home the award. Sanford created the special award to honor Chamblee, who is considered the dean of racing at the quarter-mile asphalt track. Chamblee was forced to retire from racing near the end of the season after he was diagnosed with an inoperable cancer outside a lung. Despite weeks of chemotherapy and radiation treatments, Chamblee refused to give up and was even on hand to watch his driver Casey Bishop capture a 150-lap Late Model Stock Car feature near the end of the season. Racing for Mullins was anything but simple. Because of the cerebral palsy, he drove with hand controls made by his grandfather, Jimmy Williams. The hand controls were attached to the steering column. With his left hand, Heath pushed up to accelerate and pushed down to brake. He drove with his right hand. Mullins still managed to finish 16th in the points standings and held his own in a class where fender-bending is part of the game.(Alabama Live)(11-19-2002)

    (11-18-2002)

  • Homestead TV Ratings: Today’s Sports Business Daily says NBC’s broadcast of the Ford 400 from Homestead-Miami Speedway drew a 4.5/9 overnight Nielsen rating. The final rating for the 2001 Homestead race, which was not the season finale, was a 3.8/9. The overnight rating was also substantially ahead of the 3.8/7 overnight rating for the previous week’s race in Phoenix, which jumped to a 4.4/10 final rating.(Winston Cup Scene Daily Newsletter)(11-18-2002)
  • Baldwin named #7 Crew Chief: Ultra Motorsports owner Jim Smith announced that Tommy Baldwin Jr. has been tabbed as the new crew chief of the #7 Sirius Satellite Radio Dodge for 2003. Baldwinreplaces veteran crew chief Tony Furr. “What an exciting day for Ultra Motorsports,” commented Smith. “Even though we just wrapped up the 2002 season yesterday, preparation for 2003 begins today. Our NASCAR Winston Cup program has made a lot of gains this season thanks to Tony Furr. To add someone of Tommy Baldwin’s caliber is just the added shot in the arm that’s going to take the Sirius Satellite Radio Dodge to the next level. Tommy is an extraordinarily talented individual. Although we’ve yet to name a driver, who ever we put in the seat will be successful with Tommy making the calls.” Baldwin, a native of Bellport, NY brings a wealth of experience to Ultra Motorsports. The veteran Winston Cup top-kick owns an accomplished three victories NASCAR’s elite division, most recently kicking off the 2002 season with a win at the Daytona 500 with driver Ward Burton. Along with the #7 Sirius Satellite Radio Dodge Winston Cup effort, Ultra Motorsports fields Dodge Rams in the CTS for drivers Ted Musgrave and Jason Leffler. Ultra Motorsports is housed in a sparkling 55,000-square foot corporate office and race shop in Mooresville, NC.(Motorsports Management Group PR), no driver has been named for the #7 in 2003 as of yet.(11-18-2002)
  • Testing set for GM’s 2003 models: General Motors Racing is conducting a test at Homestead Monday and Tuesday, giving its Winston Cup and Grand National teams an opportunity to shake down their new 2003 Chevrolet and Pontiac entries. Winston Cup teams expected to participate include Hendrick Motorsports, MB2/MBV Motorsports, Dale Earnhardt Inc., Morgan-McClure Motorsports, Richard Childress Racing, PPI Motorsports and BACE Motorsports.(ThatsRacin.com)
    UPDATE: Less than 24 hours after the 2002 Winston Cup season came to an end, testing was scheduled today for teams looking ahead to the 2003 season. GM Racing was to open a two-day test at Homestead-Miami Speedway this morning for Winston Cup teams to shake down their new 2003 Monte Carlo and Grand Prix entries. GM said those expected to take part included the Chevrolet teams of Hendrick Motorsports (#s 5, 24 and 25), Dale Earnhardt Inc. (#’s 1 and 15), Richard Childress Racing (#s 29 and 30) and BACE Motorsports (#74). Pontiac teams include MB2/MBV Motorsports (#s 01 and 10), Morgan-McClure Motorsports (#4) and PPI Motorsports (No. 32). GM said four Busch Series teams would also test: Nemco Motorsports, Richard Childress Racing, Innovative Motorsports and BACE Motorsports.(Winston Cup Scene Daily Newsletter), also Joe Gibbs Racing was there as Tony Stewart was at the track testing the #20 Chevy.(Speed Channel’s Inside Winston Cup show, where Stewart was interviewed)(11-18-2002)
  • Ryan Newman named ROTY: per NASCAR.comThatsRacin.com and the AP, no word on how the panel voted, looks like the final point total was 370-347, see my UNOFFICIAL Rookie of the Year page for charts and some calucaltions. What does he win? $50,000.(11-18-2002)
  • Tony Stewart’s Titles:
    2002 – NASCAR Winston Cup
    1999 – Winston Cup Rookie of the Year
    1997 – Indy Racing League
    1996 – IRL Rookie of the Year
    1995 – USAC National Midget
    1995 – USAC Sprint
    1995 – USAC Silver Crown
    1994 – USAC National Midget
    (Joe Gibbs Racing site)(11-18-2002)
  • Rumblings – Homestead: The hottest driver on the tour the last month and a half was standing in Victory Lane again today as Kurt Busch passed Ryan Newman on lap 257 and went on to win the final Winston Cup event of the season today. This was Busch’s third win in the last five weeks, his 4th of the season (and career), and moves him into a tie for 62nd on the all-time win list. He’s the third driver to win from the pole this season (Jeff Gordon at Bristol in August and Ryan Newman at NHIS in September were the others – Jayski Note: actually the 4th as Bill Elliott won from the pole at Pocono in July), and tallied the 10th victory of the season for Roush Racing.
    Jeff Burton (3rd) had his best finish since he was 3rd at Dover in June.
    Elliott Sadler (9th) had his best finish since he was 6th at Infineon Raceway in June.
    Bobby Hamilton (10th) had his best finish since he was 9th at Dover in June.
    Mike Wallace (11th) had his best finish since he was 10th at Bristol in August.
    Ted Musgrave (16th) had his best finish since he was 14th at Loudon in September of 2000 (only 11 races).
    STREAKIN….Kurt Busch has 5 Top-10’s in a row. Mark Martin has 5 Top-10’s in a row. Jeff Gordon has 5 Top-10’s in the last 6 races.
    This Week’s Elevator…UP: Operator of the Week is Jeff Gordon (+32), followed by Mark Martin (+30), and Johnny Benson (+27). DOWN: The Big Dropper was Jimmy Spencer (-39), followed by Michael Waltrip (-30), Matt Kenseth (-27), Casey Atwood (-25), and Greg Biffle (-20).(Official Starting spots)
    Jeff Gordon (6th to 4th) made the gain of the weekend in drivers points, while Rusty Wallace (4th to 7th….and the winning string broken) went three spots in the minus direction. Third to Seventh in the final standings ends up being separated by 67 points, with a lot of money hinging on very few markers in the Top-5 (Gordon beat Jimmie Johnson by only 7 points…who was only another 7 ahead of Ryan Newman).(Stock Car Fans)(11-18-2002)
  • TV Stuff – Monday: Alan Bestwick, Ken Schrader, Johnny Benson and Michael Waltrip will film their weekly TV show Speed Channel’s Inside Winston Cup from Homestead-Miami Speedway on Monday morning, which will Monday, Nov 18th at 7:00pm/et.
    RPM 2Night the final show of ESPN2’s Weekly RPM2 Night show with John Kernan will air at 6:30pm/et Monday Nov 18th, it will be missed.
    Totally NASCAR’s final 2002 show will air at 6:00pm/local on Fox Sports Night and at 6:30pm/et on Speed Channel November 18th.(11-18-2002)
  • Andretti still not signed UPDATE: John Andretti still has not signed the contract offer Petty Enterprises gave him months ago, but the organization is certain the driver will be back in 2003. “There are a couple of issues that still need to be resolved, but as far as we’re concerned, he is the driver of the No. 43,” chief executive officer Kyle Petty said. “We have a verbal agreement, just no signature.” Andretti, one of the few remaining free agents, was less committal. “Anything is possible,” he said, smiling. “Who knows what will happen?” Petty said there was no issue over Andretti’s participation in the Indianapolis 500, a race the company forbid him to compete in this year. Andretti, the first of three drivers to compete in both the Indy 500 and the Coca-Cola 600, wants to do the double again and was disappointed he was not allowed. “As far as we’re concerned, he can run the Indy 500 every year,” Petty said. “We said no this year because the issue came up 30 days beforehand and there wasn’t enough time. As long as he plans on it in advance, he can run it and we’d love to partner up and help his efforts.”(CNNSI/AP)(11-17-2002)
    UPDATE: Minor contract details are holding up John Andretti signing for a sixth season with Petty Enterprises. Team officials discounted rumors of the Indianapolis native pursuing the Ganassi Racing vacancy created by the firing of Jimmy Spencer.(Indianapolis Star)(11-18-2002)
  • #19 Shakeup: Sources inside Evernham Motorsports say a major shakeup is expected on the #19. Feelers were put out in the garage for a crew chief and a driver — yes, a driver, even though Jeremy Mayfield has been in the car just one season and has a year left on his contract. Busch Series driver Shane Hmiel, 22, has been mentioned for the Evernham ride and as a candidate to replace Spencer at Ganassi Racing.(Sporting News)(11-18-2002)
  • Wells’ new crew chief to leave? UPDATE Beam to leave? Widespread garage reports tell Ford Racing that Cal Wells’ choice for crew chief of the #32 is ready to leave the team. Within the past two weeks that Wells indicated that he was going to swap current crew chief Mike Beam with team engineer Roy McCauley. That plan appears to have taken on a shaky path now that McCauley is in play for another job in the garage.(Ford Racing)(11-17-2002)
    UPDATE: Cal Wells is trying to shake up his race team, which went winless this season, despite several strong runs by Ricky Craven. And Wells’ crewmen are wondering what Wells might do. Wells has already decided to move Mike Beam, his crew chief the past few years, to a new position and promote chief engineer Roy McCauley to crew chief. But Beam is trying to move on to another team, and McCauley is considering his options, also. Beam says he would be content “for things just to stay the same, but that’s not what Cal wants.” McCauley would say only that he doesn’t have any offers on the table.(Winston Salem Journal)(11-18-2002)
  • Randolph back with Blaney? UPDATE: hearing Doug Randolph, who worked with Dave Blaney at Bill Davis Racing, could move from Ganassi Racing’s #41 to the #77 Jasper Motorsports team.(11-13-2002)
    UPDATE: Doug Randolph, crew chief for the #41, in which Jimmy Spencer will be replaced, has two weeks left on his contract and has not been told whether he will be back.(Sporting News)(11-18-2002)
  • Beer wars? The “beer wars” may be heating up, along demographic lines. Dale Earnhardt Jr.’s success in reviving Bud’s business has Miller and Coors both itching to promo a similarly young driver, Miller with Ryan Newman and Coors with Jamie McMurray.(Winston Salem Journal)(11-18-2002)
  • Labbe re-signs with DEI: Dale Earnhardt Inc. sources say Slugger Labbe will be back with Michael Waltrip in the #15, but it took three contract proposals before Labbe signed.(Sporting News)(11-18-2002)
  • #30 Looking for a new crew chief: Because Todd Berrier is moving into the research and development division at Richard Childress Racing, the #30 AOL Chevy, driven by Jeff Green, needs a new crew chief. Richard Childress says that decision, plus how to restructure all three of his pit crews for 2003, will likely be made this week.(Sporting News)(11-18-2002)
  • More Blaney: Chip Ganassi wanted Dave Blaney to replace Jimmy Spencer in the #41 Dodge next year, but Blaney said Sunday he’s committed to returning to Jasper Motorsports and the #77 Ford. With Blaney off the market, Busch Series driver Hank Parker Jr. now is the leading candidate at Ganassi.(Augusta Chroncile)(11-18-2002)
  • Eight 2001 winners missed in 2002: Eight drivers who won in 2001 failed to win a race this season – Ricky Craven, Jeff Burton, Robby Gordon, Bobby Hamilton, Joe Nemechek, Steve Park, Elliott Sadler and Rusty Wallace.(ThatsRacin.com)(11-18-2002)
  • #40 Crew wins Pit Award: Mechanix Wear is proud to congratulate the #40 Coors Light Crew as the winner of it’s 2002 Mechanix Wear Pit Crew of the year Award. The #40 Coors Light crew was chosen from four quarterly finalists by the crew chiefs of the NASCAR Winston Cup Series. The four quarterly finalists were: #40 Coors Light Crew; #6 Viagra Crew; #88 UPS Crew;#97 Rubbermaid Crew
    Complete award rules and final standings can be found by visiting the National Association of Pit Crew Members website at www.napcm.com.(11-18-2002)

 


(11-17-2002)

  • Final Winston Cup Drivers Points Standings:
    #20-Tony Stewart 4800
    #6-Mark Martin 4762 -38
    #97-Kurt Busch 4641 -159
    #24-Jeff Gordon 4607 -193
    #48-Jimmie Johnson 4600 -200
    #12-Ryan Newman 4593 -207
    #2-Rusty Wallace 4574 -226
    #17-Matt Kenseth 4432 -368
    #88-Dale Jarrett 4415 -385
    #28-Ricky Rudd 4323 -477
    See full standings at ThatsRacin.com and see my Drivers and Owners Points page.(11-17-2002)
  • Busch wins the race, Stewart wins the Winston Cup: #97-Kurt Busch won the Ford 400 at Homestead-Miami Speedway, his 4th win of the 2002 season and his career and sewed up 3rd in the Drivers Points. 2nd was #25-Joe Nemechek who also led the most laps. #20-Tony Stewart ended up 18th and won the Winston Cup Championship, his first, Joe Gibbs 2nd and Stewart is the 25th driver to win a Winston Cup. #6-Mark Martin gave it his best and finished 4th. The unofficial top 10 in the race::#97-Kurt -Busch (28 laps led)
    #25-Joe Nemechek (111 laps led)
    #99-Jeff Burton
    #6-Mark Martin
    #24-Jeff Gordon

    #12-Ryan Newman (22 laps led)
    #9-Bill Elliott
    #48-Jimmie Johnson (27 laps led)
    #21-Elliott Sadler
    #55-Bobby Hamilton

    Laps Leaders(6): #97-Busch(28 laps led); #8-Earnhardt Jr(46); #25-Nemechek(111); #48-Johnson(27); #88-Jarrett(27); #12-Newman(28);
    Cars on the lead lap: 21
    DNF’s: #77-Blaney (out-accident); #41-Spencer(out-accident); #17-Kenseth(out-engine); #44-Andretti(out-engine); #30-Green(out-engine);

    Cautions 6 for 41 laps
    Caution 6: lap 237-243 #43-Andretti’s car engine erupted, oil running down the track and #31-Gordon Looped his car but made no contact.
    Caution 5: lap 228-233 Oil on the track. from Kenseth’s engine
    Caution 4: lap 195-204 #41-Spencer crashed hard in the turn 1 wall after having a tire went down, the car erupted in flames, Spencer got out and is ok.
    Caution 3: lap 94-103 #15-Waltrip supoosedly got tapped by #40-McMurray and Waltrip backed into the wall. Replays were inconclusive but Waltrip said he didn’t think he got tapped or hit.
    Caution 2: lap 74-78 debris on the track
    Caution 1: lap 2-4 #77-Blaney got loose and backed into the wall.
    NOTES: The #49-Cope Dodge has the Miccosukee Indian Gaming decals on the car. Green flag stops took place around lap 155-163 range, #4-Skinner ran into the back of #24-Gordon, damaging the nose of the #4. #15-Waltrip back on the track as of lap 150. #8-Earnhardt Jr has an engine problem around lap 128 and is smoking. During caution 2 pit stops there was a fire in the #18 pits when gas spilt on the exhaust pipes or brake rotor of the car with a #18 gasman/truck driver Peter Jellen got small burns on his neck and is back in the pits after spending some time in the infield care center. Green flag pit stops occuring lap 53-60 range. Lap 22 #88-Jarrett felt a tire going down and had to pit, losing a lap. #40-McMurray passed a bunch of cars on the restart and was black flagged for a stop-and-go penalty after the 1st caution.
    Re-Air: The race will be re-aired on TNT, Tues, Nov 19th, 2:00am/et; Speed Channel on Wed, Nov 20th, 8:00pm/et and Thurs, Nov 21st, 1:00am/et and at 12:00noon/et.
    Results: at ThatsRacin.com or NASCAR.com.(11-17-2002)

  • Photographer Burned In Spencer Crash: Bob LeSieur, photographer for Speedway Scene, was burned on his arms and face when Jimmy Spencer crashed on lap 194 and backed into the first turn wall. The car burst into flames and LeSieur wasn’t looking at the action because he was changing film in the camera. LeSieur was taken to the infield care center, treated and released. His eyebrows were singed and the burns weren’t serious so he returned to shooting for the weekly racing newspaper.(Insider Racing News)(11-17-2002)
  • Ford Racing News: Linas Orentas, NASCAR Program Manager for Ford Racing Technology, said on Saturday morning that despite all the rumors about utilizing a new brand Ford for the 2003 season, Taurus will still be the car used. “We have absolutely no intention of changing from the Taurus,” said Orentas. Ford Racing will conduct wind tunnel test next week to determine whether a third roof flap would be more effective in keeping the cars from getting airborne at the high speed tracks such as Talladega and Daytona.(Insider Racing News)(11-17-2002)
  • Yates testing this week – #38 crew chief to be named soon: Elliott Sadler and Dale Jarrett will be testing at Kentucky Speedway on Tuesday and Wednesday. Elliott Sadler also said the the crew chief for his new team would be announced in the next two weeks. “You may be surprised,” said Sadler, “It will be a name that I can really get excited about.”(Insider Racing News)(11-17-2002)
  • Mast News: Cup driver Rick Mast was on Fox Sports Net’s NASCAR This Morning, interviewing Ganassi Racing people about their motor coaches [a taped interview from April 2001], Steve Waid of Winston Cup Scene, one of the hosts of the show mentioned that Mast is at 70% and that doctors determined he suffered from some sort of toxcity and there is no word on when or if he will return to racing. From the Fox Sports siteJohn Roberts: It’s been awhile since we heard from “The Rickster,” but Steve Waid, I understand you had a chance to talk to him. Steve Waid: Yeah, I spoke to him this past week. “The Rickster” is doing just fine. He’s in great spirits. He says he’s about 70 percent. The doctors have determined that he did suffer from some kind of toxicity. No decision yet whether he’ll be racing again. He certainly hopes to be. But for the time being, guys, he’s doing just fine. He’s in great spirits, and we wish the best for “The Rickster.” We’d like to see him back in the car.(11-17-2002)
  • Charity fishing at the Track: Winston Cup drivers, including Geoffrey Bodine, Bobby Labonte, Rusty Wallace, Ryan Newman and Stewart competed in a fishing contest on the infield’s 18-acre lake earlier this weekend. A chance to fish with each driver was auctioned off, raising more than $18,000 for The Betty Jane France Pediatrics Center, a newly-renovated pediatrics unit at Homestead Hospital, the Darrell Gwynn Foundation for spinal-cord research and the Guy Harvey Research Institute. Bodine’s team won the competition with a winning weight of 9.53 pounds.(Miami Herald)(11-17-2002)
  • Fans Burned at the track: John Majewski of Fort Myers, FL and Ed Zigler of Cape Coral, FL, who were burned Friday when the flag pole they were raising struck a power line in a parking lot outside Homestead-Miami Speedway, remained hospitalized in stable condition at Jackson Memorial Hospital on Saturday. The accident occured early Friday, and FPL was called to the scene to investigate. Majewski was the most seriously injured, sustaining third-degree burns on his toes.(Miami Herald)(11-17-2002)
  • Changes at Childress? Cup [#’s 29,30,31] team owner owner Richard Childress said changes might be in the works for his race teams. “There will be personnel changes,” Childress said. “We’re going to be shifting a lot of people around, moving a lot of people. We’ve got to work on getting the right fix and the best people we can in all those positions.” BGN champion crew chief Harold Holly of ppc Racing recently visited RCR’s complex but decided not to go to work there. Some speculation has surrounded crew chief Todd Berrier and driver Jeff Green, who work together on the #30 AOL Chevy, and Childress indicated the changes could come very soon.(NASCAR.com)(11-17-2002)
  • Blaney Staying at the #77: Dave Blaney says he’s committed to stay with the #77 Fords owned by Jasper Motorsports next year. “We’re locked into the 77,” Blaney said. “There has been a lot of stuff floating around and I’ve talked to a lot of people. Having car owners that have some interest is nice, but I’ve got a contract with these guys. We’ve put together a solid year this year and we definitely have to build on it.” Blaney’s crew chief, Ryan Pemberton, will leave the team at season’s end to go to the #36 Pontiacs that will be driven by Jerry Nadeau next season. “We’re just going to look for the best all-around guy,” Blaney said of the search for a new crew chief. “I think the owners want to go more toward an engineering type of guy and that kind of crew, so that’s what they’re looking for a little bit.” Blaney is second overall in the number of laps completed and miles completed on the circuit this year.(ThatsRacin.com)(11-17-2002)
  • Sad News: James “Jimmy” R. Edwards Sr. of Hope Mills, whose drivers and engines won more than a thousand stock car races across the Carolinas, died Saturday after a long illness. He was 69. “When you came to Fayetteville to race, you knew one thing: If you were going to win, you’d have to beat Mr. Edwards’ car,” said Godwin’s Larry Norris, a race car owner and one of Edwards’ engine customers. Three of Mr. Edwards’ four sons – Jimmy Jr., Hank and Curtis – followed in his racing footsteps. Jimmy Jr. and Hank both drove for their father during their careers and won multiple track championships in the Carolinas in his cars. Some of the many drivers who drove for Mr. Edwards over the years included E.C. Johnson, Chubby Thompkins, Glenn McDuffie, Bill Bostick, Ed Carver and Danny Parker.(see more at the Fayetteville Observer). Edwards is listed as having two Winston Cup starts as an Owner, in 1978 with Glenn Jarrett [Dale’s brother] and in 1979 with Richard Brickhouse.(11-17-2002)
  • WD-40 and Burton re-up: WD-40 Company and Daytona 500 winner Ward Burton they will continue their promotional partnership through the 2003 NASCAR Winston Cup Season. During the 2003 NASCAR racing season, the product used by millions of consumers to solve problems on their cars and trucks will be continue to be marketed through programs involving Burton. This will be the second year of an endorsement and advertising agreement between WD-40 Company and Burton. “Our brands are a perfect fit with NASCAR and its drivers – auto enthusiasts and mechanics rely on our products to help maintain their vehicles,” said Garry Ridge, president and CEO of WD-40 Company. “Our relationship with Ward worked out so well last year that we decided to continue it for 2003. We’re very pleased with the awareness he has generated around WD-40 among our automotive and general consumers.”(WD-40 PR)(11-17-2002)

    (11-16-2002)

  • Stewart collides with photographer UPDATE: Tony Stewart was again the subject of controversy Saturday as he was accused of shoving a photographer after the final practice session at Homestead-Miami Speedway. Rusty Jarrett, a free-lance photographer from Augusta, Ga., was standing in the garage area of the speedway taking a still photograph of Stewart after the driver got out of his #20 Home Depot Pontiac. Jarrett said Stewart went out of his way to walk in front of him and shove him. A photographer with The Miami Herald took a photo of the incident, which shows Stewart pushed up against Jarrett while Jarrett was holding his camera. Witnesses disagree over whether Stewart’s actions were intentional. Saturday afternoon, NASCAR vice president Jim Hunter was investigating the incident. “Several people look at it and have different versions of what happened,” Jarrett said. “I just want to know why he did it. He could have walked to the left or right of me. I did not block his way at all.” Jarrett said he had spoken to NASCAR officials. Asked the substance of the conversation, Jarrett replied, “What version do you want?”(ThatsRacin.com)
    AND On the brink of winning the Winston Cup championship, Tony Stewart ran into trouble in the garage area again Saturday, bumping a photographer aside with a forearm. The collision occurred minutes after the final practice for Sunday’s season-ending Ford 400. Stewart, walking swiftly from the garage toward his Joe Gibbs Racing team’s hauler, allegedly bumped photographer Rusty Jarrett, from Getty Images, out of his way. “He came out of the garage, raised his arm and put a body block on me,” said Jarrett, who was not injured. NASCAR spokesman Jim Hunter said the dispute was under investigation. Stewart, who goes into Sunday’s race leading Mark Martin by 89 points in their duel for the title, is already on probation for punching a photographer following a race in August. Hunter said a photo taken of the collision by an unidentified photographer was “inconclusive.” George Tiedemann, a photographer for Sports Illustrated, said he and several other photographers witnessed the contact and called it “an accident.” “Tony was coming out of the garage, going straight toward his hauler,” Tiedemann said. “He was cutting through the inspection area and moving pretty fast. The photographer was 7-10 feet from the wall of the garage and Tony came around the corner and ran into him. If it had been intentional, (Stewart) certainly would not have looked back at the guy and said, ‘What the . . . ?’ Tony stumbled a little bit after they collided.” Stewart was put on probation after punching a photographer following the Brickyard 400 in August. He was also fined $10,000 by NASCAR and $50,000 by his sponsor, Home Depot.(Sporting News/AP)
    Also a story at NASCAR.com: NASCAR investigating another Stewart incident.
    UPDATE: Despite the conflicting stories, in light an incident involving Stewart following the Brickyard 400 in Indianapolis this year Saturday’s situation flared into a full-blown media frenzy. Stewart and car owner Joe Gibbs met with Jarrett, NASCAR president Mike Helton, Winston Cup series director John Darby and NASCAR vice president for corporate communications Jim Hunter in the NASCAR trailer late Saturday afternoon to discuss the incident. “The best way to describe it is that it was a very candid meeting,” Hunter said afterward. “Rusty expressed his opinion about what happened and Tony Stewart gave Rusty his opinion. By the end of the conversation, which probably lasted 30 minutes, everyone left there happy.” Hunter said Jarrett accepted an apology from Stewart. Hunter said Stewart told him he had turned away when he was coming out of the garage at a jog and didn’t see Jarrett before running into him. “They shook hands and it’s a closed issue as far as we’re concerned,” Hunter said. “It was just an incident that happened. All of you know that with Tony’s history, had that been any other driver it would not have been an issue. …I think it was an issue because it was Tony Stewart.”(ThatsRacin.comAND a story at NASCAR.com: NASCAR: Latest Stewart allegation closed(11-16-2002)
  • Anheuser-Busch extends NASCAR contracts through 2007: Anheuser-Busch has extended its sponsorship of BGN through the 2007 season. Busch has been the title sponsor of the series since its inception in 1982. The sponsor’s contribution to the series’ annual points fund distribution, which totals $2.5 million this season, will increase by $400,000 per year over the length of the new contract, reaching $4.5 million at the conclusion of the 2007 season. In addition, Budweiser has extended through 2007 its sponsorship of the pole award in all NASCAR divisions and the annual preseason non-points race, Budweiser Shootout at Daytona International Speedway.(ThatsRacin.com)(11-16-2002)
  • Hamilton only in Trucks in 2003? Bobby Hamilton, who is leaving Petree Racing at the end of the season and has not found another ride, said unless something turns up soon, ”I’ll probably just drive my truck next year.” Hamilton said he has had some offers to race second-tier Winston Cup cars, ”but I don’t want to do that. At this point in my career, it’s not about a paycheck. If I can’t be in a competitive car I’m not going to race.” Hamilton said he has had an offer to join son Bobby Jr. full-time in the BGN next season, ”but I’m not gonna do that. If I can’t get a good Cup ride, I’ll go race trucks.” Hamilton fields entries {#4,#8,#18] in the CTS from his Lebanon, TN racing headquarters.(Tennessean)(11-16-2002)
  • France at the track: NASCAR chairman Bill France, who had heart and hip surgery in August, is back at work and expected to make an appearance Sunday at Homestead-Miami Speedway. “Bill’s doing great,” said Jim Hunter, who is NASCAR vice president of communications. “He’ll be here Sunday morning. This will be his first race since his surgery. He’s been out of the hospital now maybe three weeks. He’s doing therapy and walking again.” France, who is also chairman of International Speedway Corp., fell at a Daytona Beach restaurant on Aug. 27 and broke his hip. After being taken to an undisclosed hospital, doctors discovered a problem with France’s heart, and two days later, the racing mogul had triple bypass surgery. Less than a week later, once his condition had stabilized, France had surgery to fix his broken hip. France’s younger brother Jim said the racing chief is gaining strength and mobility every day as his recovery continues. Bill France, 69, has suffered a series of health setbacks, including a heart attack and two bouts with cancer, since 1997. Each time, he has come back to resume his duties at NASCAR and ISC.(Daytona Beach News Journal)(11-16-2002)
  • Lots of Winners: The 18 different race winners in 2002 is just one shy of the record in NASCAR’s modern era, which began in 1972. There were 19 different race winners in 2001. Twenty-six different drivers have won at least one race in the two-year period.(Daytona Beach News Journal/AP)(11-16-2002)
  • MRN Reporter Retiring: Jim Phillips will step aside after 20 years broadcasting Winston Cup races on the Motor Racing Network [MRN], after Sunday’s Ford 400. Phillips will be missed. He has reported from the pits and victory lane with the style and knowledge of a pro. He’s a man who always has some insight stored away, most of which never goes on the air.(more at the Gaston Gazette)(11-16-2002)
  • F1 Visitor’s at Homestead: Three-time Formula One champion Alain Prost strolled through the pits and paddock Friday at Miami-Homestead Speedway, getting his first look at NASCAR stock cars. “They are very loud, just like Formula One,” Prost said, smiling. The Frenchman, whose Prost F1 team went bankrupt midway through the 2002 season, was the guest of Winston Cup and Busch Series car owner George deBidart. Also visiting the track Friday was F1 driver and former CART champion Juan Pablo Montoya. Montoya, who has a home in Miami, was the guest of Target/Chip Ganassi Racing team manager Andy Graves, who ran Ganassi’s Indy-car operation in 2000 when Montoya won the Indianapolis 500.(ThatsRacin.com/AP)(11-16-2002)
  • Kyle Petty has been named the 4th quarter True Value Person of the Year: In recognition of his compassion and endless effort in serving the community with charitable projects, Kyle Petty has been named the fourth quarter recipient of NASCAR’s True Value Person of the Year. True Value, the Official Hardware Store of NASCAR, sponsors the award, which is designed to honor NASCAR drivers for their community service contributions and charitable efforts. Petty, a second generation NASCAR driver, is involved in a number of charities, including Kyle Petty’s Charity Ride Across America, Race to End Hunger, Make-A-Wish Foundation, Boy Scouts of America, Winston Cup Racing Wives Auxiliary (WCRWA) and the Victory Junction Gang Camp for chronically ill children. Since the 1995 formation of Kyle Petty’s Charity Ride Across America, the unique fundraiser has raised nearly $3 million for various children’s hospitals, Victory Junction Gang Camp and the Winston Cup Racing Wives Auxiliary. Petty and his wife, Patti, founded the Victory Junction Gang Camp for chronically ill children. Scheduled to open in the summer of 2004, the Victory Junction Gang Camp is located in Randleman, N.C. on 62 acres of land. Petty has been honored in the past for his many hours of charitable work. He was named the 1998 True Value Person of the Year and in 1999 he was named NASCAR Winston Cup Illustrated Person of the Year. For the purpose of determining the NASCAR True Value Person of the Year award, the NASCAR Winston Cup season has been divided into four quarters in which drivers are nominated for their off-track charitable efforts. Ricky Craven was the first quarter winner, Jeff Gordon the second quarter recipient and Ken Schrader was named the third quarter winner. An elite group of panelists will select one of the quarterly finalists as the True Value Person of the Year. The award and a prize of $100,000 will be presented Dec. 6 in New York City at the Meyers Brother Breakfast, which is part of the NASCAR Winston Cup awards weekend. The money will be divided evenly between the driver and the charity of his/her choice. In addition to the NASCAR True Value Person of the Year, True Value 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 True Value Driver of the Race Award winner receives $2,500 with an additional $2,500 going to the charity of his/her choice.(NASCAR PR)(11-16-2002)
  • TV coverage and commercials: The Pop Secret 400 at Rockingham, run on Nov. 3, had 267 of its 393 laps shown by TNT’s telecast. The race’s total TV time was three hours, six minutes, 22 seconds. Almost an hour – 59 minutes, 31 seconds – was spent in commercials. The time of actual coverage was two hours, six minutes, 53 seconds.(Gaston Gazette)(11-16-2002)
  • Roush may file appeal on Wednesday UPDATE 5 APPEAL DENIED: If Roush Racing does in fact opt to file an appeal to NASCAR’s 25-point penalty, it won’t come until Wednesday’s deadline, team president Geoff Smith told NASCAR.com on Monday. The penalty was issued after NASCAR found what it deemed an illegal left front spring on Mark Martin’s Ford following the Pop Secret 400 at North Carolina Speedway two weeks ago. The spring in question included 4 3/8 coils, 1/8 of a coil shorter than NASCAR’s required 4 1/2 coils. “No, we’re not quite ready,” Smith said. “We took the opportunity these past few days for everyone to have a cool down period, where we could all soberly look at the facts and circumstances, hear what our competitors had to say and the media had to say about our situation. I left Phoenix with what I considered good information, but there were no competitors taking a position that was different than ours. There was no one saying anything that said it made any performance difference whatsoever, and also got to see if those 25 points are likely or are not likely to make any difference in the championship.”(NASCAR.com)(11-12-2002)
    UPDATE: Roush Racing president Geoff Smith said Tuesday that the team will announce Wednesday morning whether or not it will appeal a 25-point penalty from NASCAR against Mark Martin. The team scheduled an 11:00am/et. teleconference with Smith and Martin to announce and discuss their decision with the media. Today is the deadline for filing an appeal to the penalty(ThatsRacin.com)
    UPDATE 2: Roush Racing announced today that Jack Roush and Mark Martin have exercised their right to appeal the 25 point penalty assessed for using an “unapproved” spring at the November 3, 2002 NASCAR Winston Cup event in Rockingham. Said Geoff Smith, president of Roush Racing, “According to NASCAR rules (sec.12-4) penalties for violation of NASCAR rules ‘…are determined by the gravity of the violation and its effects on fairness of competition…’ Since the spring in question had an inconsequential deviation from the rule-specified length, since its use had absolutely no effect on the fairness of competition, and since the penalty imposed was harsher that the intent of its own published standards for the imposition of penalties, we have elected to take advantage of the review process NASCAR has provided to us. We applaud NASCAR both for laying out rules that confirm its interest in insuring that its managers impose penalties only after due regard is given to the fairness the circumstances require, and applaud them even further for providing us with an appeal mechanism that is unprecedented in professional sports. The existence of this rule and the appeal rights granted to us by NASCAR are powerful statements that NASCAR has established and is committed to upholding and maintaining a policy of fairness in connection with the imposition of penalties for the violation of its rules. Fairness, however, can only exist when there is equal punishment for equally situated offenders. That is a concept that is a cornerstone of the entire American experience. It is our firm conviction that Roush Racing was not “equally situated” with the two other teams who suffered penalty points reductions in 2002. NASCAR’s examination into the ‘gravity of the violation and its effects on the fairness of competition…’ of each of the three situations requires that it evaluate the presence or absence of two very significant facts: (1) Did the examination of the part reveal the offender’s intention to violate a rule? (2) Was the part’s function altered in any way to attempt to improve performance? Both of those factors were conspicuously absent in our case, and both were present in the other two cases. Fairness requires a different penalty result for us. We hope that these 25 points have no impact in this year’s championship race, and do not enjoy having this issue present itself at this late date, yet we cannot passively submit to a punishment that is so excessive for the offense. We also recognize that the list of successful appellants can fit on the back of a postage stamp, but we remain hopeful that after a sober review of each of the spring related penalty violations, the Commission will confirm NASCAR’s written commitment to fairness by reinstating our points.”
    Roush Racing also announced that it will not seek legal recourse against the manufacturer or seller of the spring in question, regardless of the outcome of the appeal.
    “There was little question that we have legitimate, meritorious claims, but, ultimately we concluded that Roush Racing can better serve the sport by terminating any contemplation of litigation. In this business, the words “racing” and “litigation” should never appear in the same paragraph if at all possible,” concluded Smith.(Roush Racing)
    UPDATE 3: Fox Sports Net’s Totally NASCAR reports that NASCAR will hear the appeal Saturday, Nov 16th in the morning and expect to announce a decision later that afternoon. The appeal will be heard by a three-member panel from the National Stock Car Racing Commission. If the appeal is denied, Roush could then take its appeal to NASCAR national commissioner Charles Strang.(11-13-2002)
    UPDATE 4: A three-man board representing the National Stock Car Racing Commission has been selected to hear Roush Racing’s appeal of penalties of Winston Cup driver and owner points and money following a spring violation two weeks ago at North Carolina Speedway. NSCRC chairman George Silbermann and commission members Johnny Capels and John Bishop are scheduled to hear Roush Racing’s appeal somewhere on the grounds of Homestead-Miami Speedway Saturday morning at 8:00am/et.(NASCAR.com)(11-15-2002)
    UPDATE 5: per NBC’s BGN race coverage, the National Stock Car Racing Commission has denied Roush Racing appeal, so the penalty stands and Martin remains 89 points behind Stewart. Roush Racing could still appeal to NASCAR national commissioner Charles Strang. Imagine that decision would depend on what happens in the race on Sunday.(also see a story at ThatsRacin.com and at NASCAR.com)(11-16-2002)


    (11-15-2002)

  • Evernham has no 2003 plans for Atwood? UPDATE: in this weeks Winston Cup Scene, there is a story where #9, #19 and #91 team owner says he has no no plans or oppurtunities for Casey Atwood in 2003. There are no plans to run the #91 Dodge in anymore then a handfull of races next season.
    AND back to the BGN? Clarence Brewer, who was driver Casey Atwood’s [#27] car owner in the BGN before he moved to Winston Cup in 2001, said he has spoken to Atwood about returning to the team next season. “I told Casey we might have a seat open if he’d like to drive it and he said he’d like to drive it if he could, so I don’t know. That’s where we left it,” Brewer said. “I think he would be wanting to prove something. He’s definitely a candidate for one of my cars if it works out. I don’t know what his contract says.” Brewer owns the #27 and #37 Chevy [will be Pontiacs in 2003] and is looking for new drivers in 2003. Jamie McMurray is moving full time to Cup and the #37 has been without a full-time driver since Jeff Purvis was seriously injured earlier this season at Nazareth(ThatsRacin.com)(11-14-2002)
    UPDATE: Casey Atwood said Friday he plans to meet with car owner Ray Evernham next week and work out what, if any, future he has with Evernham Motorsports. Atwood was released as driver of the #7 Dodges, previously co-owned by Jim Smith and Evernham. The two owners have since dissolved their partnership, but Atwood has a year remaining on his contract with Evernham. Clarence Brewer, Atwood’s former car owner in the BGN, said Thursday he has offered Atwood the opportunity to return to Brewco Motorsports next season. Atwood said he is waiting to make any decisions about his future until after meeting with Evernham. “It’s hard to say what went wrong. It just didn’t work out,” said Atwood, 22. “We tried a bunch of different things, a bunch of crew chiefs, a lot of stuff. It’s hard to put a finger on it. There are a lot of multicar teams out there that have one car run well and another doesn’t.” Atwood said he was confident his team was working with similar equipment to what was being used by Bill Elliott and Jeremy Mayfield, Evernham’s drivers. “It’s been a real big learning experience. I think whatever happens or wherever I go, I’ll be a better driver because of what I been through here,” he said. “I think I’ve learned more than maybe I would if I was running real well because I was going through a lot and trying so hard.”(ThatsRacin.com)(11-15-2002)
  • 2003 GM Test Scheduled UPDATE: The GM teams will test their new cars at Homestead-Miami Speedway the day after the season finale at Homestead, Fla. No 2002 models will be allowed during the open test session. It is expected the GM teams will thoroughly test the front downforce in the new noses.(Ford Racing)(10-27-2002)
    UPDATE: Joe Gibbs Racing will be part of a General Motors test Monday and Tuesday at Homestead. For the first time since 1996, it will be as a Chevrolet team. But Jimmy Makar, who now heads the two-car program, doesn’t think switching from Pontiac will make that much of a difference given the common templates NASCAR has mandated for next year. “The only difference is the nose and tail section and the window,” said Makar, who helped shape the new Pontiac model this summer. The advantage to switching cars, Makar said, is to have the same equipment as other top teams. That will give Stewart and 2000 champ Bobby Labonte a better gauge.(Indianapolis Star)(11-15-2002)
  • Earnhardt Autopsy Photo Update: Attorneys for the widow of NASCAR legend Dale Earnhardt filed a brief Thursday with the Florida Supreme Court contesting an appeal filed by a student newspaper for access to the driver’s autopsy photos. A law passed a month after Earnhardt’s death in the 2001 Daytona 500 restricts public access to autopsy photos. The Independent Florida Alligator, a student newspaper at the University of Florida, wants the Family Protection Act ruled unconstitutional so its editors can gain access to the photos. Earnhardt’s attorneys argued in the brief that the law is constitutional and was upheld first by Volusia County-based Circuit Judge Joseph Will and then by the 5th District Court of Appeal in Daytona Beach. They also said Teresa Earnhardt and her family are entitled to privacy. The attorneys referred to gory autopsy photos of NASCAR drivers Neil Bonnett and Rodney Orr posted on the Internet just days before the new law went into effect. Citing testimony from Volusia Medical Examiner Thomas Beaver before Will, Tallahassee attorney E. Thom Rumberger wrote in his brief, “The autopsy photographs were used solely as a crosscheck in transcribing the report, and thereafter had no practical continuing utility.”(Daytona Beach News Journal)(11-15-2002)
  • Not Said’s first Cup Oval Start: If Boris Said [in the #67 Jasper Engines Ford] makes the Ford 400 Cup race at Homestead-Miami Speedway, it will NOT be his first Cup Oval race as reported aorunds, Said started 27th and finished 34th at Homestead in 1999, driving the #14 Federated Auto Parts Ford for Ernie Irvan. See NASCAR.com for 1999 Homestead Results.(11-15-2002)
  • 2003 International Motorsports Hall of Fame Inductee’s: The five newest enshrinees for the International Motorsports Hall of Fame, located on the grounds of Talladega Superspeedway, were announced Wednesday. They will be officially inducted in ceremonies next April 3 at the Hall of Fame site. Emerson Fittipaldi, a two-time Indianapolis 500 winner and two-time Formula One world champion, heads the class. The flashy Brazilian began racing in 1967, retired in the late 1970s, then returned for a 12-year comeback on the CART circuit. The other inductees are: A.J. Watson, whose one lap of driving ended with a spin-out, became one of the most successful Indy car mechanics. Ray Fox, a NASCAR mechanic and crew chief who worked with, among others, Junior Johnson, Bobby Allison, Buddy Baker and Lee Roy Yarbrough [Note: Ray Fox Jr is the current crew cheif of the #28 RYR team]. Briggs Cunningham, an engine builder for the likes of Dan Gurney, Roger Penske and Stirling Moss. Mel Kenyon, a veteran midget-car racer who won 111 races and seven USAC Midget championships. At age 69, he occasionally races and won the Indianapolis Speedrome series title in 1993.(Alabama Live)(11-15-2002)
  • Spencer/Gannasi Talking about contract issues: Jimmy Spencer, who was abruptly fired last week by team owner Chip Ganassi and says he won’t soon get over the shock of that event, said Thursday at Homestead-Miami Speedway he has had conversations with Ganassi about resolving the issue of the final year of his contract. Spencer says he received a phone call informing him he would be released as the driver of the No. 41 Target Dodge following Sunday’s Ford 400 at Homestead. Last weekend at Phoenix International Raceway, Spencer insisted he had another year, plus an option year, remaining on his contract.(NASCAR.com)(11-15-2002)
  • First 2003 IROC Driver’s Announced: Two champions representing the Pennzoil World of Outlaws sprint car series, Steve Kinser and Danny Lasoski, have accepted invitations to compete in the 2003 True Value International Race of Champions [IROC]. 2003 will mark the first time that two World of Outlaws representatives have competed in the same season. The 2002 champion, Steve Kinser, collected 20 “A” Feature wins on his way to capturing his 17th WoO title. Kinser’s initial IROC invitation came in 1994. He was the first driver to be invited as a representative of short track racing, which proved positive when he astonished the racing world with a win in only his third start at Talladega Superspeedway. Kinser returned to IROC competition in 1995 and 1996, with 1995 producing his best result of eighth in the final points standing.
    Despite missing five World of Outlaws events due to severe injuries, the 2001 WoO champion, Danny Lasoski managed to finish second to Steve Kinser in the 2002 title chase. The injuries also caused Lasoski to miss out on competing at the Brickyard in the True Value IROC finale. The traditional season opener will take place at Daytona International Speedway on Friday, Feb. 14, 2003. As previously announced, race-two will return the series to Talladega Superspeedway on Saturday, April 5. The schedule for race-three and four will be confirmed within the next week. The True Value IROC team is scheduled to test at Daytona International Speedway on Tuesday, Nov. 19 through Thursday, Nov. 21 in preparation for the 2003 season. Veteran True Value IROC test drivers, Dave Marcis, Jim Sauter and Andy Hillenburg, along with 2003 competitors, Steve Kinser and Danny Lasoski are scheduled to attend. The True Value IROC Series matches 12 drivers from different forms of auto racing in equally prepared cars, on Goodyear Eagle radial racing tires. The goal is to eliminate the mechanical advantages and to produce a winner determined solely on driver skill. The series consists of four 100-mile races at different racetracks with points awarded for finishing positions. At the end of the fourth race, the points are tallied and a champion of champions is named.(IROC PR), also I hear that due to the timing of Pontiac’s departure from the series, the IROC cars will remain unchanged in 2003 and that IROC is actively pursuing a model change for 2004. See my 2002 IROC page for more info and links o the series.(11-15-2002)
  • Wood Grand Marshal of Army-Navy rally: NASCAR truck driver Jon Wood will be grand marshal in this year’s Army-Navy Pep Rally and Parade scheduled for Dec. 6. Wood’s visit will add to the festivities as employees show off their Blue and Gold spirit during Pax River’s third annual event celebrating the Army-Navy Game. The Midshipmen of the Naval Academy take on the Black Knights of the U.S. Military Academy at the Meadowlands [NJ] on Dec. 7 at noon, in the 103rd meeting of these historic rivals.(dcmilitary.com)(11-15-2002)
  • Sportscar Driver Looking for a Cup/BGN ride in 2003: After conquering the sportscar racing world for two consecutive years, Chris Bingham is visiting Homestead Speedway for the NASCAR season finale in order to find a team to partner with for the 2003 season. Bingham, who has secured partial sponsorship for a Cup or BGN season, will be looking to build on his oval career that already includes IRL experience. The Seattle native already has road racing experience, having won the Grand Am Rolex Series GTS Championship for two straight years driving a Saleen S7R. With eleven wins in the last two years alone, Bingham is one of the winningest drivers in sportscar racing and is now ready to set his sights on NASCAR. See more info at his site: www.chrisbingham.com.(11-15-2002)

    (11-14-2002)

  • US Army and M&M’s share space on the #36: In a gesture of good will as the 2002 Winston Cup season draws to a close, M&M’s Chocolate Candies will share space with the US Army on the #36 Pontiac this weekend at Homestead-Miami Speedway. M&M’s put the US Army in place of its Snickers brand on the car’s deck lid. The US Army assumes primary sponsorship of the #36 Pontiac in 2003 with driver Jerry Nadeau and crew chief Ryan Pemberton. M&M’s Chocolate Candies moves to the #38 Robert Yates Racing Ford with driver Elliott Sadler next season. In addition, M&M’s will continue as an associate sponsor with the Ken Schrader Racing team. “Our relationship with MB2 Motorsports over the past six years has been a great partnership and we wish them the best of luck next year with the US Army and Jerry Nadeau,” said William Clements, NASCAR Sponsorship Manager, Masterfoods USA. “Additionally, Ken Schrader has been a great ambassador for the M&M’s Brand and we look forward to continuing our association with him as an associate sponsor on his Schrader Racing team in 2003.” MB2 Motorsports and Masterfoods USA embarked on a six-year relationship when the #36 Skittles Pontiac debuted in 1997. The partnership has included current driver Ken Schrader and the M&M’s brand for the past three seasons. “Kenny is – and always will be – a close friend of the entire MB2 Motorsports family. We certainly wish him the best,” said Jay Frye, General Manager, MB2/MBV Motorsports.(IMG Motorsports)(11-14-2002)
  • Evernham has no 2003 plans for Atwood: in this weeks Winston Cup Scene, there is a story where #9, #19 and #91 team owner says he has no no plans or oppurtunities for Casey Atwood in 2003. There are no plans to run the #91 Dodge in anymore then a handfull of races next season.
    AND back to the BGN? Clarence Brewer, who was driver Casey Atwood’s [#27] car owner in the BGN before he moved to Winston Cup in 2001, said he has spoken to Atwood about returning to the team next season. “I told Casey we might have a seat open if he’d like to drive it and he said he’d like to drive it if he could, so I don’t know. That’s where we left it,” Brewer said. “I think he would be wanting to prove something. He’s definitely a candidate for one of my cars if it works out. I don’t know what his contract says.” Brewer owns the #27 and #37 Chevy [will be Pontiacs in 2003] and is looking for new drivers in 2003. Jamie McMurray is moving full time to Cup and the #37 has been without a full-time driver since Jeff Purvis was seriously injured earlier this season at Nazareth(ThatsRacin.com)(11-14-2002)
  • Stoddard back with the #22 in 2003? Bill Davis Racing and Frank Stoddard plan to remain together next season. Stoddard has been working as the crew cheif for #22-Ward Burton since October. Nothing has been signed offically as of yet.(Winston Cup Scene)(11-14-2002)
  • David Green in the #54 at Homestead: Sam Belnavis and Tinsley Hughes, owners of the #54 National Guard Chevy, announced that David Green will drive for them at Homestead in the NASCAR Winston Cup Ford 400. BH Motorsports began their quest to run in a Winston Cup race in Charlotte on October 13th of this year. However, their last three attempts have been plagued with misfortune. “It is frustrating to be at the mercy of good old mother-nature,” said Sam Belnavis. “If there is a problem with the car you can fix it. If there is something wrong with the tractor you can fix that too, but when it decides to rain, well there is not much you can do about that. We know we have a competitive car, a great driver and an outstanding crew, we just need the chance to show it and Sunday will be our day.” Despite good weather in Rockingham, which marked BH’s third attempt to enter a Winston Cup race, the #54 National Guard Chevy failed to qualify. “We felt it was necessary to readjust our race schedule and travel to Homestead,” stated Hughes. “We can be a competitive team and we want the opportunity to show it. We are pleased that David (Green) agreed to run for us and now it’s time to refocus and get prepared for Sunday’s race.” David Green, who captured the pole position for the inaugural Pennzoil 400 at Homestead-Miami Speedway in 1999, will try to make BH’s dream of running in its first Winston Cup race a reality. “This is a very exciting opportunity. Homestead is my favorite track and I haven’t raced Winston Cup since taking the pole in 1999. Running for a team that has direct access to Hendrick Motorsports’ expertise and equipment is a driver’s dream come true.” David Green is currently running the #5 GMAC Chevy in the BGN and has had three top five finishes in five starts.(BH Motorsports PR)(11-14-2002)
  • TV Stuff/Ratings: For the first time since 1997, the NASCAR Winston Cup Championship will be decided in the final race of the season. Two drivers, Tony Stewart and Mark Martin, will battle for the Championship. Through 18 telecasts, NASCAR on NBC & TNT is averaging a 4.3 national rating/10 share (excluding this year’s Daytona 500 and last year’s primetime Pepsi 400 – the two races which alternate between NBC and Fox each year), representing a 13 percent increase over a 3.8/10 for the comparable races last year. The increase is especially impressive building on last year’s 34 percent ratings gain (3.9/10 vs. 2.9/8) for the first year of NASCAR on NBC & TNT over the comparable races in 2000. NBC’s coverage of last Sunday’s NASCAR Winston Cup race from Phoenix delivered a 4.4 national rating/10 share, a 10 percent improvement over last year’s 4.0/10. The NASCAR Pit Crew Championship earned a 1.9/5 (1-2 p.m. ET) for its first time on network television. NBC’s “Discover Card Countdown to Green” NASCAR pre-race show scored a 2.7/6. Since going against pro football competition (since Sept. 15) is averaging a 2.6/7 on NBC, up eight percent over last year’s 2.4/6.(NBC PR)(11-14-2002)
  • Spencer and APR? Kenny Schrader and Jimmy Spencer are the favorites to end up at Andy Petree Racing, while Petree’s current driver, Bobby Hamilton and Dave Blaney [see next story] are candidates for the open seat in Chip Ganassi Racing’s No. 41 Dodge, a ride currently being held by Spencer.(Augusta Chronicle)(11-14-2002)
  • Spear’s takes a few laps at LVMS: Pop sensation Britney Spears had the “Experience of a Lifetime” at the Richard Petty Driving Experience at Las Vegas Motor Speedway Wednesday night. Spears and a group of friends and associates spent Wednesday night turning fast laps around LVMS’ 1.5-mile superspeedway. The program included an eight-lap driving experience followed by a ride along and two more 11-lap driving experiences. In all, Spears logged more than 30 laps around the speedway. “I’m just racing cars. I’m doing research for my movie,” Spears said. Spears is expected to play the leading role as the daughter of a NASCAR team owner in a feature film, which is scheduled to begin filming sometime next year. After completing the four-hour program, Spears said she had gained a new perspective for auto racing. See fiull story and pics at the LVMS site.(11-14-2002)
  • Update on Petty Movie: Disney is near a deal to pick up a drama about NASCAR driver Richard Petty. Dennis Quaid will play Lee Petty, the patriarch of the racing clan who teaches son Richard the ropes. Disney will soon look to cast the role of Richard Petty. The film will be scripted by John Warren. Quaid would also produce with Dan Halsted, a former production partner of Oliver Stone. Halsted and Quaid previously worked together on Stone’s “Any Given Sunday.” The rights to the Petty film were secured through Petty Enterprises and shooting of the film is expected in the spring.(Reuters)(11-14-2002)
  • Blaney helping #77 team look for new crew chief and staying in 2003: With the obvious progress of the #77 Jasper Motorsports Team this season being inexorably linked between his arrival and an increased technical presence within the organization, Dave Blaney is already looking ahead to the 2003 NASCAR Winston Cup Series season with a justifiable share of optimism about affecting another substantial increase in on-track performance for the improving program. With the high probability of producing the team’s best-ever finish in the WC point standings hinging on a steady effort in this weekend’s Ford 400 at Homestead/Miami Speedway, Blaney has already begun working with Team Manager and Co-Owner Mark Harrah and the growing roster of engineers at Jasper Motorsports on post-season plans for testing and in-shop production as well as the search for a new crew chief following the departure of Ryan Pemberton following this weekend’s race. Heading the effort to keep up with the sprawling multi-car teams, Harrah and co-owners Doug Bawel and Mark Wallace have completed a majority of their pre-planning for the 2003 season, including a reconfigured relationship with the Penske-Jasper Engine program that will now produce both Dodge and Ford power plants in the immediate future. Harrah admits that his expanded engineering staff is at the heart of the effort. The other major questions for Blaney, Harrah and his co-owners originated from the mid-summer decision-making process by business partner Roger Penske and whether a proposed switch from Ford to Dodge would be beneficial for his drivers Rusty Wallace and Ryan Newman and his A-list organization. The subsequent decision for Penske South to switch to Daimler-Chrysler products in 2003 complicated the relationship between the Penske and Jasper programs, who co-owns Penske-Jasper Engines.(see quotes and more at Jasper Engines PR)(11-14-2002)
  • Mikey and Terry have words UPDATE: Drivers #5-Terry Labonte and #15-Michael Waltrip had an altercation after the race, but neither man would discuss the incident. Waltrip went to talk to Labonte at Labonte’s hauler before Labonte angrily went after Waltrip. Labonte had to be pulled away from Waltrip after chasing him down in the garage area. Waltrip finished 20th Sunday and Labonte was 26th, but Labonte was a lap behind Waltrip. The two drivers have had several bumping incidents in races this season.(Dallas Morning News)
    AND For some reason, Michael Waltrip and Terry Labonte, who were running six positions and one lap apart from each other at the end of the race, nearly came to blows in the garage area. They had to be separated just outside Labonte’s team hauler, Waltrip apparently having gone inside to confront Labonte. The source of their mutual anger was not ascertained. One Labonte crewman, when asked what caused the two to clash, said only, “Michael (Waltrip) running his mouth.”(Gaston Gazette)(11-11-2002)
    UPDATE: from the DW chat on FoxSports: What’s the story with Mike (Waltrip) and Terry (Labonte) from Sunday?
    Darrell Waltrip: There’s no story. Apparently they had had a run-in a time or two before Sunday. They had words after the Phoenix race, and as far as I know, and I talked to Michael, he said that was the end of it. Two drivers that weren’t having very good days decided to take it out on each other at the end of the race.(FoxSports)(11-14-2002)
  • Fellows and DEI UPDATE: DEI will announce today it has hired Toronto’s Ron Fellows to race at Sonoma and Watkins Glen next season. Dale Earnhardt Inc. will form a fourth Winston Cup team to accommodate Fellows — who has a total of five BGN and CTS victories driving for a team owned by Joe Nemechek. Fellows will continue to race the No. 3 factory Corvette C5-R in the American Le Mans Series, where he won the GTS championship this season. “DEI will have a fourth team at both Sonoma and Watkins Glen for the 2003 season and Ron Fellows will be our driver,” DEI spokesman Steve Crisp said. Fellows will also play a major role in upgrading DEI’s road course racing program, acting as a coach for Dale Earnhardt Jr., Michael Waltrip and Steve Park. “Thrilled is the best word to describe how I feel,” Fellows said yesterday from Sebring, Fla., where he was testing the 2003 Corvette. “Being with one of the best Winston Cup teams in the business is a big shot in the arm for me.” Sponsorship and details on team personnel with the DEI effort are still being worked out. Fellows will begin working soon with DEI chassis and motor builders to prepare the team for 2003. Crisp said DEI has been pursuing Fellows since team founder Dale Earnhardt worked with him leading up to the 24 Hours of Daytona sports car race in 2001.(Toronto Sun)(11-12-2002)
    UPDATE: Veteran road racer and 2002 ALMS GTS Series Champion Ron Fellows will compete in both the Sears Point and Watkins Glen NASCAR Winston Cup road races in 2003 at the wheel of Dale Earnhardt Inc. Chevrolets. Fellows, 43, of Toronto, Ontario, Canadawill also perform testing and road race coaching duties at DEI for the upcoming season. After coaching DEI driver Michael Waltrip in 2002, Waltrip went on to qualify on the outside pole for the Watkins Glen event, finishing 9th. DEI and Fellows first formed a relationship in preparation for the 2001 24 Hours of Daytona, where the late Dale Earnhardt and Dale Earnhardt Jr. competed as teammates of Fellows in the GTS Corvettes fielded by Chevrolet. The two Corvettes swept the GTS class, claiming first and second place. Fellows is no stranger to driving the heavier, albeit more powerful, NASCAR Winston Cup and Busch Grand National cars posting several successful finishes in both series’ road races. In five NASCAR Winston Cup starts, Fellows has posted a top-five, a top-ten and an outside pole. In four BGN starts, Fellows has claimed three victories and two poles. “I am excited beyond belief,” Fellows stated. .”This is something we’ve talked about doing for a long time. It’s a dream come true for me to drive a Dale Earnhardt Incorporated car. It’s a goal of mine to win a NASCAR Winston Cup race and this moves me one step closer to doing the that.”(DEI PR)(11-14-2002)
  • Tony and Mark Cams: NBC Sports today conducted a media conference call to preview the NASCAR Winston Cup Championship to be decided Sunday in the final race of the season, the Ford 400 from Homestead-Miami Speedway with coverage beginning at 12:00noon/et on NBC. Producer Sam Flood said: “This week we have `Tony-Cam’ and ‘Mark-Cam.’ We will have one camera isolated on each car the entire race. Whatever they do, wherever they move, we will be following it from start to finish. That way, at anytime we can jump to that car depending on what’s happening on the track.”(NBC PR)(11-14-2002)
  • Rusty looking to extend the streak: #2-Rusty Wallace has won a race in 16 consecutive seasons, a mark passed only by NASCAR legends Richard Petty (victories in 18 consecutive seasons) and David Pearson (wins in 17 straight years) [Rick Rudd had a streak of 16 season].(11-14-2002)
  • IRWIN Rough to Finish Award: Despite running out of fuel earlier in the race, Matt Kenseth and the #17 team used a two-tire pit stop late in Sunday’s Checker Auto Parts 500 at Phoenix International Raceway to score their NASCAR Winston Cup Series-leading fifth victory of the season. For his race-winning pit strategy, team crew chief Robbie Reiser takes home this week’s IRWIN “Rough to the Finish” Award. Starting in the 28th position, Kenseth quickly moved up to 10th position on lap 28 with a lightning fast pit stop under caution. Kenseth continued his charge to the front, eventually taking the lead before pitting under the green flag. As he made his way down pit road, Kenseth ran out of gas. The team scurried to spray ether in the car to restart it, and Kenseth made it back out onto the track in 24th place. Kenseth continued to move through the field, but the turning point of the race came on lap 259 when the team pitted for the final time for two tires. Kenseth exited pit road in the lead with 46 laps to go in the 312-lap event and never looked back. “I am proud of this team for the persistence and determination they showed all day today,” said Reiser. “We put our best motor in and watched Matt drive that thing up through traffic all day long. He picked ’em off one at a time, and raced this race track well. He did a heck of a job, and my hat’ s off to him and our whole race team. That just goes to show how strong we can be.”
    Each week throughout the 2002 NASCAR Winston Cup season, Irwin, makers of professional power tool accessories like Marathon Plus saw blades and Speedbor flat bits, is partnering with Performance Racing Network to honor the crew chief who had the toughest day in the pits, but still managed to help his team to a strong finish. The IRWIN Rough to the Finish Award includes an assortment of tools for the crew chief and a $250 check donated to the Ellerbe, NC Educational Fund in the racing team’s name.. The year-end winner of the crew chief points standings will win a $5,000 check donated to the Fund.. Race fans wanting to make a contribution to the Fund may do so by sending it to the Ellerbe, NC Educational Fund, PO Box 443, Ellerbe, NC 28338. In addition to the crew chief award, Irwin is also sponsoring the weekly nationally syndicated radio show, “Fast Talk with Benny Parsons“, throughout the upcoming year.(Golin Harris PR)(11-14-2002)


    (11-13-2002)

  • Nemechek and Sospenzo sign with Hendrick for 2003: Rick Hendrick, owner of Hendrick Motorsports, today announced the signings of driver Joe Nemechek and crew chief Peter Sospenzo, who will each return to their respective roles with #25 UAW-Delphi team in 2003. “I like the positive direction of the UAW-Delphi team,” Hendrick said. “Over the last few months, I’ve seen improvement in our practices, qualifying efforts, pit stops, race performances — you name it. We’re excited about the group we’ve assembled and the progress they’re making.” Nemechek was named driver of the #25 Chevy on May 15 and struggled through much of the NASCAR Winston Cup Series season until Sospenzo stepped in as crew chief on Sept. 10. Since that time, the former BGN champion has earned two top-five finishes and started in the top-15 four times. “I’m very excited about this opportunity,” said Nemechek, who has two career Winston Cup victories. “We’re headed in the right direction with great leadership, an amazing sponsor and awesome talent on the crew. Everything is in place for success next season.” Coinciding with Sospenzo’s arrival was the decision to move Ed Guzzo, the team’s shop foreman, to car chief of the #25 Chevy. Guzzo, who won three Winston Cup championships as Jeff Gordon’s car chief in the 1990s, will remain in that role with Team 25 next season. “The dynamic has changed,” Hendrick said. “The level of communication has improved with every race and the chemistry is probably better than it’s ever been in that shop. Led by Joe, Peter and Ed, the team has worked extremely hard to make things happen and their improvement shows that the effort is starting to pay off. I believe this team is going to be very competitive and turn a lot of heads in 2003.”(Hendrick Motorsports PR)(11-13-2002)
  • Chocolate to retire UPDATE 2 looks so: Next weekend’s season finale at Homestead will be the last race as a Richard Childress Racing gas man for Danny “Chocolate” Myers, team officials confirmed Sunday. Myers will retire at the end of the season, but will remain employed at RCR. Myers gained fame as Dale Earnhardt’s gas man over a stretch in which Earnhardt won 83 races. Myers remained when Kevin Harvick took over Earnhardt’s team last season, but moved to Robby Gordon’s #31 Chevy this season after two of the RCR teams swapped crew chiefs. Myers has worked as a color commentator and appeared in television commercials and movies. He is the eldest son of the late Bobby Myers, a pioneer of NASCAR who was killed while driving in the Southern 500 at Darlington in 1957.(ThatsRacin.com)(11-10-2002)
    UPDATE: Danny “Chocolate” Myers, long-time gasman for the Richard Childress Racing operation, said that he’s not sure that he’ll be retiring from the road at the end of the year, as several outlets have reported. “I may not even get off the road,” Myers said, today. “They did that [retirement story] six months ago when I was mad.”(Ford Racing)(11-12-2002)
    UPDATE 2: Legendary gasman Danny “Chocolate” Myers will fuel a NASCAR Winston Cup car for the final time Sunday at Homestead-Miami Speedway as he retires after 17 years as a gasman for Richard Childress Racing (RCR). Myers, 54, began his career as a gasman in 1986 for the No. 3 GM Goodwrench team and the late Dale Earnhardt, and was part of the team during Earnhardt’s six NASCAR Winston Cup championships at RCR. Myers remained with the No. 29 GM Goodwrench Service team when Kevin Harvick took over driving duties and moved to the No. 31 Cingular Wireless team after the No. 29/No. 31 crew swap in June 2002. Myers has been employed at RCR since 1983. Myers will remain at RCR as the Director of Safety, responsible for ensuring that RCR is in compliance with state and federal safety regulations. In addition to serving as Director of Safety, Myers is charged with assisting with aspects of the RCR Museum and Gift Shop and various special projects. He will also continue to make appearances for various RCR sponsors.(RCR Site)(11-13-2002)
  • Hamilton to BAM? hearing Bobby Hamilton could end up in the #49 BAM Racing Dodge in 2003, other rumors have Hamilton in the #41 Target Dodge and if John Andretti goes to the #41 (but is supposedly close to re-signing with the #43) Hamilton coiuld end up in the #43 Dodge.(11-13-2002)
  • Randolph back with Blaney? hearing Doug Randolph, who worked with Dave Blaney at Bill Davis Racing, could move from Ganassi Racing’s #41 to the #77 Jasper Motorsports team.(11-13-2002)
  • Elledge to the #41? hearing that #55 crew chief Jimmy Elledge could be moving to the #41 team, especially if Hamiton goes there as the driver.(11-13-2002)
  • Winston Cup Draws 6.7 Million Winston Cup races once again drew the largest number of motorsports fans in the United States and Canada to tracks last year, The Sports Business Daily says today. The Daily’s “Turnstile Tracker” says some 6.7 million spectators attended Winston Cup races, practices and qualifying sessions out of the total of the 35.8 million people who saw some form of live racing in the U.S. and Canada. DIRT racing drew 4.5 million to its numerous events to rank second. The online publication, which is put out by Scene Daily’s parent company, Street & Smith’s Sports Group, says the Busch Series drew 2.37 million, while the Craftsman Truck Series attracted 900,000.(Winston Cup Scene Daily Newsletter)(11-13-2002)
  • Petty Ride: As the 2002 Winston Cup season comes to an end in Miami, Kyle Petty will be busy gearing up his Victory motorcycle for an exciting week on the road. Petty will lead approximately 100 riders through Florida, Georgia and South Carolina as part of the Key Lime Ride presented by Sprint. The ride kicks off on November 18 in Miami and travels for three days making stops in Key West and Daytona Beach before arriving at its final destination of Charleston, SC. The Key Lime Ride is part of the Petty Touring Series, an extension of the Kyle Petty Charity Ride Across America. The Key Lime Ride benefits the Victory Junction Gang Camp, the national charity of the Kyle Petty Charity Ride. Kyle and Pattie Petty founded the camp in 2000 in memory of their son Adam, who was tragically killed in a racing accident. The camp will serve as a retreat for children with chronic or life-threatening illnesses at no charge to the campers or their families. To date the camp has raised $10.2 million, almost half of the $24 million needed for the project. The Kyle Petty Charity Ride formed the Petty Touring Series in 2000. In addition to the Key Lime Ride, the group also organized the Bristol Breakaway, a one-day motorcycle ride following the fall race at Bristol Motor Speedway. For more information on the Kyle Petty Charity Ride and the many other programs that it supports, contact Kyle Petty Charity Ride, Inc. by phone 888-45-PETTY or by email at info@kylepettycharityride.org.(11-13-2002)
  • Ronald McDonald at the track: Ronald McDonald and a special child from the Miami Ronald McDonald House will be making an appearance at the Homestead-Miami Speedway in conjunction with the Little Tikes promotion. On Wednesday of this week, Kurt Busch attended ceremonies marking the rededication of the new Ronald McDonald House in Miami, FL. Kurt drove a replica of the #97 Little Tikes® race car up to the podium and cut the ceremonial ribbon to open the facility.(Roush Racing) Little Tikes, a division of Busch’s primary NASCAR sponsor Newell Rubbermaid, will be featured on the #97 Ford for the Winston Cup race at Homestead to celebrate an employee paint scheme contest that took place earlier this year. The Ronald McDonald House is the national charity for Little Tikes. Together, the two companies are working to improve the quality of life and provide assistance to families during their times of need.(11-13-2002)
  • Pemberton leaving the #77 for the #36? UPDATE 2 Official: Crew chief Ryan Pemberton will leave his post with Blaney at the end of the season and replace Newt Moore on the #36 US Army Pontiac to driven by Jerry Nadeau.(Sporting News)
    AND The #77 Jasper Motorsports team had its best finish of the season Sunday, with Dave Blaney coming home seventh, but the names of its key players may start getting more attention in the final days of the season. Blaney is among the drivers who could become candidates for the #41 Dodge ride that opened up when that Chip Ganassi Racing team decided Jimmy Spencer would not be brought back for 2003. Blaney talked to Ganassi earlier this year about his third team, a ride that eventually went to Jamie McMurray, but at that point elected to stay with the #77 Fords. The current crew chief on the #41 Dodge team is Doug Randolph, who was Blaney’s crew chief at Bill Davis Racing in 2000 and 2001. Regardless of whether Blaney stays or goes, it appears likely that crew chief Ryan Pemberton will be leaving, most likely for the crew chief position with the #36 team that will field Pontiacs for Jerry Nadeau next season.(ThatsRacin.com)(11-11-2002)
    AND II: there is also speculation that Pemberton might move to Robert Yates’ [#38] team to work with Elliott Sadler.(Winston Salem Journal)(11-11-2002)
    UPDATE: Jasper Motorsports and Ryan Pemberton, crew chief of the #77 Jasper Engines and Transmissions Ford since 1999, have mutually decided to part ways at the conclusion of the 2002 NASCAR Winston Cup Series season. “I want to thank (owners) Doug Bawel, Mark Harrah, Mark Wallace, Robert Pressley, Dave Blaney and all of the team members of Jasper Motorsports for the opportunity and the support they’ve given me since 1999,” said Pemberton, 33. “I’m proud of the progress that the race team has made in the last three years, and I wish continued success to all of the people that have been part of the program.” After serving as one of the youngest crew chiefs in the NASCAR Winston Cup Series for three seasons (1997-99) with the #36 MB2 Pontiac team, Pemberton joined the Mooresville, N.C.-based team prior to the 2000 season. “We are proud of what Ryan has brought to our team and thank him,” said Doug Bawel, President of Jasper Engines & Transmissions and co-owner of the #77 Jasper Motorsports team.(Jasper Motorsports PR)(11-12-2002)
    UPDATE 2: Ryan Pemberton is leaving his role as Dave Blaney’s crew chief to take the same job with driver Jerry Nadeau. He’ll work next year with Nadeau, hired last week to drive for MB2/MBV Motorsports. That entire team is getting a makeover — driver Ken Schrader and crew chief Newt Moore won’t be back, and the car is switching from the #36 to the #01.(ESPN/AP), plus a new sponsor, the US Army for 27 races.(11-13-2002)


    (11-12-2002)

  • Boris Said to run Homestead: Boris Said who ran both road-course races (at Sears Point and Watkins Glen) in the #67 Jasper Ford this summer, will be attempting to qualify for his first oval race in a Winston Cup car; he has two starts at HMS in the Craftsman Truck Series in 1997 (starting second, finishing 32nd-engine failure) and 1998 (starting fifth, finishing 24th). Said, the record-setting 2002 Trans-Am Series champion, will be attempting to make his eighth career NASCAR Winston Cup start at Homestead this weekend. The 39-year old Said, Director of Motorsports for No Fear, started his racing career in motorcross in 1975 and was the SCCA Corvette Challenge 1 Rookie-of-the-Year in 1988; he progressed through the SCCA and Trans-Am ranks in the 1990’s to become one of America’s premier road racers; SAID finished first in GT1 and third in GTS in the 1997 Rolex 24-Hour race at Daytona and entered the 2002 seasons as the twice-defending champion of the GT class in the American Le Mans Series with the BMW Motorsports Team; SAID also raced in two 24-hour events at Le Mans, winning the GT2 pole in 1994 and finishing second in 1995. Mark Harrah, one of the Jasper Motorsports owners, will serve as crew chief for the #67 Jasper Motorsports Ford for Said this weekend at Homestead; Harrah served as crew chief for both of SAID’s 2002 starts with Jasper Motorsports and won the ARCA Series race with Fultz at Lowe’s Motor Speedway in Charlotte, NC in May; HARRAH also served as crew chief for the #77 Jasper team for the final 14 races of the 1999 season for then-driver Robert Pressley, prior to the arrival of Ryan Pemberton for the start of the 2000 Winston Cup season(Jasper Motorsports PR), actually Said ran the Homestead race in 1999, so it is not his first Cup oval race.(11-12-2002)
  • Labonte helps school: Donning lightweight construction helmets and sporting gold-painted shovels, High Point [NC]Christian Academy students, staff and supporters broke ground on a $4 million secondary school building Monday. The approximately 40,000-square-foot building, which will eventually house grades nine through 12, is to be located on the west side of the campus, across Phillips Avenue from the West End Park playing field. Construction could start as early as next month and the project is expected to be completed by August 2004. The construction contract has not yet been firmed up, said High Point Christian Academy Headmaster Richard Hardee, but Georgia firm CCL & Associates is overseeing project management. More than $1.25 million has been raised to fund the building, said Michael Gay, who chaired the capital campaign committee. The High Point Central High School class of 2006, approximately 40 students, were on hand for the ceremony. The class of 2006 will be the school’s first graduating class, as well as the first class to graduate from the planned building. NASCAR driver Bobby Labonte, father of two High Point Christian Academy students, served as honorary chairman of the capital campaign committee. “It’s a great day to be part of,” said Labonte, “I look forward to one day standing here with a key to open the door.”(High Point Enterprise), see pictures of the event at www.hpcacougars.org.(11-12-2002)
  • Ganassi in no hurry UPDATE: Chip Ganassi says he’s in no hurry to select a replacement for Jimmy Spencer in the #41 Target Doddge next season but characterized his candidates as the usual list of suspects. Garage sources say the list includes drivers who are looking for jobs — such as Bobby Hamilton and Todd Bodine — and others who are still under contract — such as Dave Blaney, John Andretti and Scott Wimmer, a young BGN regular who drives for Bill Davis. Ganassi says he hasn’t ruled out a younger driver, citing the success Jamie McMurray has had subbing for Sterling Marlin in the #40. But a more true test for McMurray will come next season — as a rookie, he will be driving for Ganassi full-time but with a brand new team in the #42.(Sporting News)(11-11-2002)
    UPDATE: Ganassi’s new driver appears to be Dave Blaney, although Blaney might remain with car owner Mark Harrah if the two can find the right crew chief to take the spot that Ryan Pemberton will leave vacant in a few days when he moves back to the Jay Frye-Thomas Beard team. If Blaney joins Ganassi, he could be teaming again with his former crew chief, Doug Randolph, who worked for Blaney at Bill Davis’.(Winston Salem Journal)(11-12-2002)
  • Spencer not happy with his release, maybe to the #7 in 2003? UPDATE 2 Furr or Baldwin as #7 crew chief? Jimmy Spencer said Friday he’s upset about how he got the word – via a phone call – that he’d be out of the #41 Dodges owned by Chip Ganassi at the end of the 2002 Winston Cup season. Spencer said he is also angry that the decision came so late in the season after he had been assured several weeks ago that his contract to stay in the #41 in 2003 would be honored. Spencer declined to comment further about his dismissal. He is already looking for another ride for next season. Spencer has made contact with Jim Smith, owner of the #7 Dodges that will be driven by Jason Lefler for the final two races of this year after Casey Atwood was moved out of that ride.(ThatsRacin.com)(11-8-2002)
    UPDATE: Spencer might not be out of work long. Jim Smith would love to have Mr. Excitement behind the wheel of the Ultra Motorsports #7 Sirius Dodge in 2003. “We need to get this car in the top 20 next season,” Smith says. “We need stability. Spencer has a lot to prove, and so do we.” Smith plans to meet with crew chief Tony Furr to determine whether Furr will return in 2003. If not, expect Tommy Baldwin, who started the season with Ward Burton, to take the job.(Sporting News)(11-11-2002)
    UPDATE 2: Car owner James Smith is looking at his options after his co-ownership deal with Ray Evernham went south earlier this week. Smith and Evernham shared the #7 car to give Casey Atwood a place for to drive, after being displaced from the #19 ride at the end of the 2001 season by Jeremy Mayfield. Smith, who was getting his engines from Evernham as part of his Atwood deal, is “99 percent sure” that he’ll run Mike Ege Racing Engines in 2003 as the team rebuilds. Smith’s short list of drivers includes Jason Leffler, who drove the #7 car this week at Phoenix and will also run the car at Homestead; Ted Musgrave, Kevin Lepage and Jimmy Spencer. Smith also confirmed that Tony Furr left the team mid-race at Rockingham last week because he was disgusted with Atwood’s performance. Atwood’s name is floating around the garage for several possibilities, including an Evernham-prepared car.(Ford Racing)(11-12-2002)
  • Press Pass 2002 Cup Chase to make Stewart Card: “Thank you for your feedback regarding the Press Pass 2002 Cup Chase Program and the guidelines for the Grand Prize memorabilia card. We have administered this contest since 1994 and never encountered a finish in which the Winston Cup Champion did not win one of the designated Cup Chase races. Throughout the season we have indicated to those that questioned our position, that we would not produce a Grand Prize unless the driver won one of the designated Cup Chase races. After further review and much consideration, we have decided to create a Tony Stewart 2002 Winston Cup Championship race-used prize card should he win the championship this weekend in Miami. This Grand Prize card (along with the special 18-card plastic Cup Chase set) will be sent to any collector who redeems a 2002 Cup Chase card of Tony Stewart within 60 days after the expiration date of 1/31/03. While the original intent of the program was to produce a Grand Prize memorabilia card only if the 2002 Winston Cup champion was a winner of one of the eight designated Cup Chase races, we realize that the rules on the Cup Chase entry cards were ambiguous. Consequently, we will produce a race-used memorabilia card of the 2002 Winston Cup champion. We will also strive to write subsequent rules that more clearly define our intent so that we do not encounter additional issues in years to come. We apologize for any inconvenience this situation may have caused and hope that you will continue to look to Press Pass for innovative NASCAR collectibles.”(ERTL PR)(11-12-2002)
  • Childress Crew Chiefs: Richard Childress is still working on the 2003 lineup of crew chiefs for his five cars (three Winston Cup, two BGN). Childress would not confirm that he’d hired Harold Holly, who left ppc Racing earlier this week for an undisclosed position with a Winston Cup team. When asked about the selection of five crew chiefs from the pool of six Childress said, “I don’t know, but I’ll be able to tell you next week.”(Ford Racing)(11-12-2002)
  • Wingo to Ganassi? Another crew chief apparently on the move is Donnie Wingo, currently the crew chief on the #26 Fords owned by Travis Carter. Wingo is expected to join Lee McCall and Randolph as crew chiefs on the three Ganassi teams in 2003. Wingo would most likely be the crew chief for McMurray, although team manager Tony Glover said the crew lineup for the team next year won’t be decided until the driver for the #41 is decided.(ThatsRacin.com)(11-11-2002)
    UPDATE: As early as Monday [didn’t happen], teamfordracing.com expects Chip Ganassi will make his hiring of Crew Chief Donnie Wingo official. The word could have come today, but a meeting between Ganassi and Carl Hass kept Ganassi from addressing the situation. Wingo, long time crew chief for Travis Carter, is expected to handle the car driven by Jamie McMurray in the 2003 campaign.(Ford Racing)(11-12-2002)


    (11-11-2002)

  • Early Phoenix TV Ratings: NBC’s broadcast of Sunday’s Checker Auto Parts 500k Winston Cup race drew a 3.8/7 overnight Nielsen rating, according to today’s Sports Business Daily. Last year’s race, which was run slightly earlier in the season, on Oct. 28, 2001, drew a final rating of 4.0/9, according to Sports Business Daily.(Winston Cup Scene Newsletter)(11-11-2002)
  • Martin ok after aircraft incident UPDATE: Mark Martin’s plane blew two tires as he was trying to leave Phoenix Goodyear Airport Sunday night, word is all are okay. Six were aboard the Citation – supposedly two pilots. Martin and three others.(11-11-2002)
    UPDATE: Winston Cup championship contender Mark Martin is OK after his jet blew a tire and skidded off a Phoenix runway last night, according to the Daytona Beach News-Journal’s Web site. The newspaper reports that the three men on the plane — Martin, pilot Jason Simpson and Benny Ertel, Martin’s business manager — were not injured in the aborted takeoff of the Cessna Citation CJ2, a twin-engine jet. Martin subsequently returned to Florida as a passenger on a NASCAR jet with NASCAR President Mike Helton.(Winston Cup Scene Newsletter)(11-11-2002)
  • Newman to test at Kentucky: #12-Ryan Newman, who enters the final event of 2002 with a 20-point lead over #48-Jimmie Johnson in rookie points, will test on Kentucky’s Speedway’s 1.5-mile tri-oval on Tues Nov 12th and Wed Nov 13th. Newman enters the week seventh in the series points standings.(Kentucky Speedway PR)(11-11-2002)
  • VA Lottery not coming back for Sadler: #02-Hermie Sadler has been told by Virginia Lottery officials they will not remain with Sadler’s Winston Cup car next season. The state agency sliced the sponsorship because of statewide budget cuts after backing Sadler for four races – two each at Richmond and Martinsville – the past two seasons. Sadler, who qualified a career-best eighth at Martinsville last month, is seeking funding to run a part-time schedule again next year. “I certainly wish I would have known this in June because I would have had more time to work on other sponsors, but I understand the position of the Virginia Lottery,” said Sadler, who will race the season finale at Homestead-Miami Speedway Sunday. “Things are tight right now.”(Richmond Times Dispatch). Also: Hermie Sadler will again drive the #43 Curb-Agajanian Motorsports Chevy in the Ford 300 this weekend at Homestead. The team has had solid qualifying runs but a mechanical failure at Charlotte and an accident at Rockingham, both with less than 10 laps to go, have kept them from the finishes they deserve. The team is looking for sponsorship for Homestead and for 2003. Interested parties should call 804-586-8215.(11-11-2002)
  • Yates Crew Chief? Robert Yates has talked with Jimmy Elledge [#55], Brad Parrott [Roush BGN #9] and Slugger Labbe [#15] about the crew chief’s job for Elliott Sadler in the #38 next season, but acting crew chief Raymond Fox Jr. might stay in the role.(Sporting News), being told it’ll be Raymond Fox Jr as the #38 crew chief in 2003.(11-11-2002)
  • Schrader and Federated Auto Parts to Petree? UPDATE 3, NO Still looking: Ken Schrader might be headed back to Andy Petree Racing, primarily because he is bringing a sponsor. Federated Auto Parts, which sponsors Ken Schrader Racing’s trucks and late model programs, is expected to move to Winston Cup in 2003. Schrader, who last drove for Andy Petree in 1999, is losing the #36 ride he has had since 2000. Bobby Hamilton is leaving Petree’s #55 Chevy (of APR)(Sporting News)(10-28-2002)
    UPDATE: Ken Schrader and Bob-by Hamilton have been keeping a low profile recently as they scramble to line up rides for next season. Insiders figure that Schrader will likely wind up back with car owner Andy Petree, although Petree himself is scrambling for more sponsorship money.(Winston Cup Journal)(10-29-2002)
    UPDATE 2 – APR looking for sponsor partner for #55: Andy Petree Racing, a team that went to Victory Lane twice last year with two cars [#33 and #55], one coming at Rockingham, where Joe Nemechek drove the #33 Chevy to win the race [it no longer exists, a victim of sponsorship woes, except for a few one-off deals], could be in trouble if money doesn’t soon materialize for Petree’s other car, the #55 driven by Bobby Hamilton. “It’s been a very frustrating year, especially since we were coming off our most successful year,” Petree said. “We won two races with two cars operating on a budget that was less than what some teams spend on one car. But we used what money we had to run an efficient program. I truly believe if we just could have maintained sponsorship levels, we’d be a contender to win every week.” So Petree has launched a sponsor search that could ultimately become a new trend in NASCAR. Desperate to keep the #55 on the track — and ever hopeful the #33 can come back — he’s looking at every way possible to scrape together the necessary dollars. Square D, an electrical distribution company that sponsors the #55, has told Petree it can’t afford the $8 million he needs to run a full Winston Cup schedule. But the company still wants to be involved, and Petree is looking for co-sponsors to help pick up the tab. “Square D can do about a third of that, maybe I can stretch them to do a half,” Petree said. “So my goal is to find some other companies who want to get into the sport, but also can’t afford to do a full sponsorship deal, and bring them in on a smaller price tag.” That’s almost unheard of in NASCAR, where some sponsors pay upward of $16 million a year to splash their product on the hood of a car for 36 weekends a year. But Petree has never required that kind of money to function, finding ways to cut corners and stretch every dollar while still being competitive. The basis behind Petree’s new plan is to bring at least one other company on to the #55, and find a way to give the sponsor the most value. For example, Square D can be the primary paint scheme and host the hospitality tents at races that fit its market, while another company can hit the cities that it wants.(CBS Sportsline/AP)(10-30-2002)
    UPDATE 3: hearing Andy Petree and Ken Schrader are working together to bring a sponsor to the #55 for next season. The rumors about Federated Auto Parts apparently were just that – rumors. Petree and Schrader are talking with several companies but do not have anything for next season yet. There was an AP story earlier that said Schneider Electric would sponsor half the #55 next season IF another company joined to sponsor the other half. Hear Petree and Schrader are optimistic and have some meetings scheduled, but they are talking to everyone they can right now.(11-11-2002)
  • Biffle back in the #44 at Homestead: Greg Biffle, who clinched the BGN championship on Saturday, will drive the #44 Georgia Pacific 44 Dodge in the Cup season finale at Homestead. The race will mark Biffle’s seventh Cup start of the year – the most allowed by NASCAR for a driver to claim rookie status the next season. Biffle is moving to Cup in 2003 with his Roush Racing [#16] team.(ThatsRacin.com)(11-11-2002)
  • The Money: the 2002 Winston Cup Point Fund Distribution:
    Champ. $3,750,000
    2. $1,440,000
    3. $1,050,000
    4. $860,000
    5. $740,000
    6. $630,000
    7. $550,000
    8. $470,000
    9. $410,000
    10. $370,000
    11. $340,000
    12. $320,000
    13. $310,000
    14. $300,000
    15. $290,000
    16. $280,000
    17. $270,000
    18. $260,000
    19. $250,000
    20. $240,000
    21. $105,000
    22. $103,000
    23. $101,500
    24. $100,500
    25. $100,000 (FoxSports)(11-11-2002)
  • Tests to dwindle: The number of official tests on Winston Cup tracks will drop from seven to five per driver next season, NASCAR told teams at Phoenix. Rookies, who had 12 tests each, will have nine next season. The Indianapolis test is no longer mandatory — only Daytona in January. Teams can test all they want at tracks not on the Cup schedule — such as Kentucky, St. Louis and Milwaukee — and teams that have money will.(Sporting News)(11-11-2002)
  • Championship and no poles? ever happen? With Mark Martin 2nd in the 2002 Winston Cup Drivers Points, still having a chance to win the Championship and not scoring any poles, has it ever happened before? Yep, six times, most recently, in 1999 when Dale Jarrett won the Winston Cup Championship with four wins and NO poles. It also happened in 1991-Dale Earnhardt; 1983-Bobby Allison; 1980-Earnhardt; 1973-Benny Parsons; and 1950-Bill Rexford(The Stock Car Racing Encyclodepia)(11-10-2002)
  • Points Stuff: Under the current Winston Cup points system, the championship has been decided in the final race of the year 18 times in more than 30 years. With 238 points separating first through fifth, NASCAR no longer has its closest points race in modern-era history. In 1992, only 98 points separated the top five drivers in the standings with one race to go. Leader Tony Stewart heads to Homestead riding a nine-race streak of top 15s. A 10th top 15 would clinch the title for him. (News and Observer)(11-11-2002)
  • One Million Dollar Winner: Contractor Jon Smith of Delaware, OH knew he was fast with a cordless drill. Now he has a million dollars to prove it. Smith beat out 15 other contestants Sunday in DEWALT’s national Million Dollar Challenge cordless screwdriving contest sponsored by Chevy Trucks. To win the million, the Ohio man had to sink five drywall screws flush into a piece of pine wood in less than seven seconds with a 14.4-volt cordless drill/driver. He did it in 6.77 seconds. Smith and the other finalists were seeded tournament-style during the contest, which ended Sunday at the Phoenix International Raceway. Contestants were eliminated until the two fastest men clashed head-to-head Sunday at the Start/Finish line before Sunday’s Winston Cup Race in front of 100,000 spectators. Smith beat out Mike Fischer from Illinois by one second for his chance to become a millionaire. Then, in his last “screw-off” calmly picked up his drill and drove out a time of 6.77 seconds to win the grand prize. DEWALT and Chevy Trucks launched the skill contest earlier this year. From April through August more than 50,000 people entered local qualifying contests in 100 cities nationwide, including Phoenix. The fastest 460 local qualifiers were then narrowed to 16 finalists, who each won a new segment busting 2003 Chevy Express contractor’s van with industry exclusives such as all wheel drive, left hand door and unique access panels filled with $2,000 worth of DEWALT tools and accessories.(GM PR)(11-11-2002)
  • Wingo to Ganassi? Another crew chief apparently on the move is Donnie Wingo, currently the crew chief on the #26 Fords owned by Travis Carter. Wingo is expected to join Lee McCall and Randolph as crew chiefs on the three Ganassi teams in 2003. Wingo would most likely be the crew chief for McMurray, although team manager Tony Glover said the crew lineup for the team next year won’t be decided until the driver for the #41 is decided.(ThatsRacin.com)(11-11-2002)
  • Mikey and Terry have words: Drivers #5-Terry Labonte and #15-Michael Waltrip had an altercation after the race, but neither man would discuss the incident. Waltrip went to talk to Labonte at Labonte’s hauler before Labonte angrily went after Waltrip. Labonte had to be pulled away from Waltrip after chasing him down in the garage area. Waltrip finished 20th Sunday and Labonte was 26th, but Labonte was a lap behind Waltrip. The two drivers have had several bumping incidents in races this season.(Dallas Morning News)
    AND For some reason, Michael Waltrip and Terry Labonte, who were running six positions and one lap apart from each other at the end of the race, nearly came to blows in the garage area. They had to be separated just outside Labonte’s team hauler, Waltrip apparently having gone inside to confront Labonte. The source of their mutual anger was not ascertained. One Labonte crewman, when asked what caused the two to clash, said only, “Michael (Waltrip) running his mouth.”(Gaston Gazette)(11-11-2002)
  • 512 NASCAR Laps Bring Thousands of Books to Phoenix Children: Because of the laps completed by #43 Cheerios/Betty Crocker Dodge driver John Andretti in Sunday’s Cup race and by #6 Pepsi Dodge driver Wally Dallenbach in Saturday’s BGN race, a total of 22,016 books have been donated to First Book-Phoenix/Scottsdale. Cheerios, through the Spoonfuls of Stories program, in conjunction with Simon & Schuster, donated 43 books for each lap Dallenbach and Andretti completed over the Phoenix weekend. They completed all 512 possible laps (200 Saturday; 312 Sunday). Families can get more books into the hands of children in need by using the First Book donation forms on Cheerios Spoonfuls of Stories boxes. All of the donations given to Spoonfuls of Stories will go to purchase new children’s books, with the books going back to the communities where the donations were made. Cheerios Spoonfuls of Stories race donation is part of a broader commitment to children’s literacy that includes putting more than five million books inside Cheerios boxes, donating $500,00 to First Book, and featuring a First Book donation forms on 60 million boxes of Cheerios.. First Book is a national nonprofit that provides new books to children of low-income families.(Williams Company PR)(11-11-2002)
  • Rookie Stuff UPDATE 3 Gordon out: If the season ended now, #12-Ryan Newman would be on top of the series’ rookie standings — largely because he has more top-five finishes — even though he trails 348-Jimmie Johnson in Winston Cup points (this was back in Oct, the difference now is 6 points with Johnson still ahead). But the winner could be a matter of choice for NASCAR. Though Newman holds the edge in rookie points, there’s another factor in the equation. A panel of four NASCAR officials can add or subtract points based on each rookie’s conduct on and off the track. The Winston Cup champion was on that panel last year, but that policy is under review because of Gordon’s affiliation with Johnson.(Sporting News), also been asked alot if Jamie McMurray will be eligiable for Rookie of the Year in 2003, as far as I know, as long as he doesn’t run more then seven Cup races (impossible for him at this point) he will be a 2003 Rookie of the Year candiate, and no, no other driver has run for Rookie of the Year and won the year before.(10-17-2002)
    UPDATE: been told – NASCAR has already elminated Jeff Jordon (defending champion of series) from the post-season rookie of the year voting panel. It will be now be four NASCAR officials.(10-18-2002)
    UPDATE 2: Rookie points are awarded based on a host of categories, including top-10 finishes and battles with fellow rookies. Bonus points are awarded at different season intervals, too. Then there are discretionary points, dispersed at season’s end by a five-member panel of NASCAR officials and the Winston Cup champion (Bobby Labonte is replacing Jeff Gordon this year as Gordon is Johnson’s car owner). Discretionary points are based on how the rookies interact with series officials, fellow competitors and members of the media.(Indianapolis Star)(11-10-2002)
    UPDATE 3: #48-Jimmie Johnson can’t catch #12-Ryan Newman in the rookie points race with just one race remaining. Newman leads 340-320 after Phoenix. But that does not mean the rookie of the year award has been decided. A four-member panel made up of former Winston Cup champion Bobby Labonte and three NASCAR officials will award discretionary points before the start of next weekend’s season finale. That allows for the possibility Johnson could win or share the rookie title.(ThatsRacin.com)(11-11-2002)
  • ASA Driver under contract? ASA Driver, David Stremme, is under contract for next year with either Chip Ganassi or Dale Earnhardt Incorporated.(St Joseph Daily Press), for BGN?(11-10-2002)
    UPDATE: hearing it is with Ganassi for a part time BGN deal or as a Test Driver.(11-11-2002)

(11-10-2002)

 

  • Kenseth wins at Phoenix: #17-Matt Kenseth won the Checker Auto Parts 500k at Phoenix, his 5th win of the 2002 year and 6th of his career. #2-Wallace finished 2nd, the 4th time this year. Points leaders #20-Stewart finished 8th with #6-Mark Martin finishing 4th and picking up 23 points and now Martin trails by 89. Stewart needs to finish 22nd at Homestead and he will win the Winston Cup Championship. The unofficial top 10:#17-Matt Kenseth (55 laps led)
    #2-Rusty Wallace
    #24-Jeff Gordon (16 laps led)
    #6-Mark Martin (2 laps led)
    #8-Dale Earnhardt Jr (105 laps led)

    #97-Kurt Busch (117 laps led)
    #77-Dave Blaney (1 lap led)
    #20-Tony Stewart
    #88-Dale Jarrett
    #21-Elliott Sadler

    Cars on the lead lap: 17
    DNF’s: #74-Raines(out-?); #27-Wimmer(out-accident); #44-Fittipaldi(out-accident); #18-Labonte(out-engine); #40-McMurray(out-accident);
    Lap Leaders(9): #12-Newman(12); #8-Earnhardt Jr(105); #77-Blanley(1); #17-Kenseth(55); #24-Gordon(16); #97-Busch(117); #6-Martin(2); #48-Johnson(1); #10-Benson(1);

    Cautions 4 for 17 laps:
    Caution 4 laps 257-263: #44-Fittipaldi and #7-Leffler got together with Fittipaldi spinning around and hitting the wall ahrd, Fittipaldi is ok and walked away.
    Caution 3 laps 141-145: Debris on the track
    Caution 2 laps 131-136: #27-Wimmer crashes on the front stretch after he got together with #31-Gordon
    Caution 1 laps 27-29: #40-McMurray crashed after coming down on #36-Schrader. pushing the rear of the #40 in.
    NOTES: Green flag stops happened around laps 215-228. #17-Kenseth ran out of gas in the pits on lap 121. #8-Earnhardt Jr ran out of gas while leading on lap 118. Green flag pitstops occured between laps 105-120 range. During the 1st caustion, all the leaders came in, during the stops #97-Busch and #23-Wallace got together in the pits, ripping a hole in the drivers door. #74-Raines on pit road just before the green flag as NASCAR saw something leaking from the car.
    Race Re-Air:The race will be re-aired on TNT, Tues, Nov 12th, 2:00am/et; Speed Channel on Wed, Nov 13th, 8:00pm/et and Thurs, Nov 14th, 1:00am/et and at 12:00noon/et.
    Results: ThatsRacin.com or NASCAR.com.(11-10-2002)

  • Phoenix Rumblings: It was pit strategy at its finest again today as Robbie Reiser rolled the dice and went with a two-tire stop for track position…..and Matt Kenseth held that position for the final 52 circuits as he put his #17 DeWalt Ford in Victory Lane for the 5th time this season. In winning today’s Checker Auto Parts 500 at Phoenix International Raceway, Kenseth becomes the only driver to record 6 wins in Cup history….interestingly enough no other driver has that number. He’s now 56th on the all-time list. The win for Roush Racing was the 9th of the season, with only one coming from Mark Martin and none from Jeff Burton. Something about those young drivers again. Rusty Wallace (2nd) had his best finish since he was 2nd at Bristol in August. Dave Blaney (7th) had his best finish since he was 6th at Homestead in November of last year. Elliott Saddler (10th) had his best finish since he was 10th at Loudon in July. Kenny Wallace (11th) had his best finish since he was 10th at Rockingham in February.
    STREAKIN….Mark Martin has 4 Top-10’s in a row. Dale Earnhardt Jr. has 6 Top-10’s in the last 7 races. Kurt Busch has 5 Top-10’s in the last 6 races.
    This Week’s Elevator….UP: A tie for Operator of the Week between Matt Kenseth (+27) and Rusty Wallace (+27), followed by Jimmie Johnson (+22). DOWN: The Big Dropper was Jamie McMurray (-28), followed by Joe Nemechek (-25), Christian Fittipaldi (-24), and Scott Wimmer (-23). For Kenseth and Rusty, this is their 4th Ops of the year….they’re one behind Dale Jarrett for this most important award. Mark Martin has managed to take it to Homestead. He whittled 23 points off Tony Stewart’s lead and Tony needs to finish 22nd or better at Homestead (a track he eats up) next week to guarantee the Championship (no matter what Mark does). The big race in the points will be for spots 3-7. That spread is a whopping 23 markers…with 3rd to 6th only separated by 9 points. That’s worth about $500K at the banquet.(Stock Car Fans)(11-10-2002)
  • NetZero to be primary sponsor of #60: NetZero, a leading provider of value-priced and free Internet access services, announced today it would advance its NASCAR marketing initiative to the Winston Cup Series in 2003 with #60 Haas CNC Racing and veteran driver Jack Sprague. NetZero has stepped up and will be the primary sponsor on the Haas CNC Racing Chevrolet for the 2003 season. “We looked at our options for 2003 and felt moving to the Winston Cup Series was the direction we wanted to take,” stated Brian Woods, executive vice president and chief marketing officer of NetZero. “Our NASCAR media and marketing initiatives have exceeded our expectations, first with a championship in the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series and currently running toward the top of the NASCAR Busch Series. In Winston Cup, we will be able to build on the momentum our program has achieved.” NetZero joined the NASCAR sponsorship ranks in 2001 backing Sprague as he raced to four victories en route to the division championship. The program graduated to the Busch Series this season with NetZero again taking the primary sponsorship role. Sprague broke into Victory Lane at Nashville, TN, in April and is currently running 4th in the series. While the new Sprague/Haas CNC Racing association signals Sprague’s departure from Hendrick Motorsports, the team will still have the benefit of HMS as a partner; HMS will provide the new Haas team with technical assistance. The new NetZero Winston Cup association will make its debut at Homestead Miami Speedway, Sunday, November 17. The team recently purchased a 40,000-square-foot building in Harrisburg, NC, which will be the home of the Haas CNC Racing Winston Cup team in 2003.(Jack Sprague Site), see image on the 2003 Paint Scheme page(11-10-2002)
  • Starr and Cup? David Starr said he is weighing his options for next season, including interest from several Winston Cup teams. Starr said it’s possible he will return as the driver of the #75 Spears Manufacturing Chevy in the Craftsman Truck Series, but it’s also possible he will accept an offer to move up to Busch or Winston Cup. “For now, I’m just focusing on finishing the season strong,” Starr said. “After that I will go over some of the things that have been offered me. I’ve very fortunate to have the situation I have now, and I want to be sure I do the right thing.”(Dallas Morning News)(11-10-2002)
  • Larry Foyt to Cup in 2003? UPDATE 2 Yes and Wallace back in the #14 in 2003: Motorsport.com reports that Larry Foyt might end up in Winston Cup next season because sponsor Harrah’s wants to be on the top circuit. “Harrah’s definitely, I think their goals are to go to Winston Cup,” said Foyt, son of legendary racer A.J. Foyt. “I’ve been trying to fight it because I’m still pretty new to the stock cars. (I) didn’t really wanna move up to Busch as fast as I did. I’ve always kind of left it up to my dad. He’s directed my career the way it’s gone and I trust his judgment on that.”(Daytona Beach News Journal)(6-5-2002)
    AND some more from the interview: MFR: So what is your timetable for going to Winston Cup, and is your sponsor, Harrah’s going to go with you?
    FOYT: I don’t know, we’re kind of in negotiations right now. I’m leaving it up to them and AJ, what they want to do with me. I’m open to anything. If we do go to Cup, I just want to make sure that we do it right, because I know that’s just so tough. That level is the top, and it’s so tough. I’d really like one more year of Busch. I feel like we’ve made a lot of improvements, but we still haven’t done the things we want to do. We’ve gotten some top tens, but we’re not running up front consistently like we want to, so I feel like one more year of Busch would be really good for us.
    And when asked about Indy cars: “The Indy car, when I drove it, is a pretty different feel and I never raced it in a crowd, so I’d be pretty curious to see what it’s like. I’m really pushing to try and run Indy next year before I get too far away from that. That race is still so special to me and I still go every year. I haven’t missed one yet, so I’m really pushing for Indy next year, to give it a shot.(6-6-2002)
    UPDATE: hearing Harrah’s Racing is planning on moving up to Cup, from an email from Harrah’s: “We are no longer sponsoring the Foyt team in the IRL division. However, we will continue to sponsor Larry Foyt, A.J. Foyt’s son, in NASCAR. For 2003 he is moving up to the Winston Cup series.(11-7-2002)
    UPDATE 2: A.J. Foyt said Friday that his son, Larry Foyt, will move from the Busch series to Winston Cup in 2003. Larry drives the #14 Harrah’s Chevy [in the BGN]. Harrah’s will sponsor the team again next season. Foyt ranks 20th in the Busch standings with two top-10 finishes. He will be listed as the owner of the new Winston Cup team. The team will be headquartered across the street from A.J.’s #14 Winston Cup team that is sponsored by Conseco. A.J. said he wants to keep Mike Wallace as the driver of the Conseco car next year.(Dallas Morning News)(11-10-2002)
  • Testing at Talladega in Dec? According to NASCAR sources there will be a speedway test at Talladega Superspeedway for the Dodge and Ford teams in December. The test was arranged after the Dodge and Ford teams explained that they’re basically working with new cars and they should be entitled to see what effects the 2003 rules package changes have brought. The tentative two-day test is slated for Dec. 9 -10.(Ford Racing)(11-10-2002)
  • Jimmy Spencer out of the #41? UPDATE 4 at end of season; Hamilton? Mears?: hearing rumors that Jimmy Spencer will not return to the #41 Target Dodge/Ganassi Racing team, not sure if it is immediate or at the end of the season or at all. If released, the only rumored driver I have heard is Jimmy Vasser of CART but could be an opening for Bobby Hamilton to get in that Dodge program.(11-5-2002)
    UPDATE: Chip Ganassi Racing with Felix Sabates announced today that Jimmy Spencer, driver of the #41 Target Dodge, will be released from his contract at the end of the 2002 season. Spencer will continue his driving duties for the team for the remainder of the 2002 NASCAR Winston Cup season. “When we first made this deal, Jimmy and I agreed about what would happen if the results were not what either of us were happy with,” owner Chip Ganassi said. “Obviously, both of us are not happy with the results. I feel bad we weren’t able to get the most out of our relationship, but I’m sure I’ll remain friends with Jimmy. We all know he’s a colorful character that no one can help but enjoy being around. No one can deny Jimmy has a lot of energy and excitement about him.” Chip Ganassi Racing with Felix Sabates has not announced a driver for the #41 entry for the 2003 Winston Cup season.(Chip Ganassi Racing with Felix Sabates PR)(11-5-2002)
    UPDATE 2: The driver rumored to replace Spencer in 2003 is Bobby Hamilton. Other rumors indicate that longtime Travis Carter crew chief, Donnie Wingo, would join the Ganassi’s three-car stable to wrench Jamie McMurray’s Dodge in 2003.(Ford Racing)(11-6-2002)
    UPDATE 3: during an interview with Fox Sports Net’s Totally NASCAR, Jimmy Spencer said he was shocked by the being released from the #41 ride and it was not a mutual decision.(11-8-2002)
    UPDATE 4: Casey Mears was mentioned as another driver in the rumor mill with the #41 car.(SC’s Happy Hour Coverage)(11-9-2002)
    UPDATE 5: also add Scott Riggs of the BGN, Scott Pruett and CART driver Max Papis to the mix of rumored drivers.(11-10-2002)
  • Roush undecided on appeal: Jack Roush, who has until Wednesday to appeal the $5,000 fine and 25-point penalties levied against Mark Martin’s #6 team after last week’s race at Rockingham, has not yet decided what he’s going to do. Roush says he has little faith in the fairness of NASCAR’s appeals process, calling it “a kangaroo court,” but that lawyers advising the team have suggested that going through with an appeal may be helpful if Roush Racing takes legal action against the company that manufactured the spring that led to the penalty. Martin lost 25 driver points, Roush was docked 25 car owner points and crew chief Ben Leslie was fined $5,000 because the left-front spring on the #6 Ford that Martin drove to second did not have the minimum 4½ coils required under NASCAR rules. Team officials said this week the spring provided no competitive advantage and that it came directly from the box after being purchased from a NASCAR-approved parts manufacturer. “They gave us a part that was presented to us with the implied warranty that it was acceptable to NASCAR’s rules,” Roush told he Associated Press. “For us to have the opportunity to get our relief from them, we may have to go through the appeal process so that we’ve done what we could to get our relief before we go after the spring manufacturer.” The penalty means Martin is 112 points behind championship leader Tony Stewart going into the final two races.(ThatsRacin.com)(11-10-2002)
  • Melling back in 2003? Mark Melling was in Phoenix with his CTS [#17-Stacy Compton] operation. The team was running in fifth in Friday’s truck race until a plug wire fell off and melted to the exhaust manifold. Melling was a full-time Winton Cup [#92] car owner until this year when finances kept him from doing much but a widely scattered combination schedule of events. Hoping for a better 2003 Melling told teamfordracing.com that he’s hopeful that one of his three proposals for various series entries comes together. On the table for the once long-time Ford operator is a 10-race WC schedule or a full-time BGN or CTS deal.(Ford Racing)(11-10-2002)
  • Lots of $$ up for grabs: The Winston Cup leader bonus is a record amount of $300,000, but only #20-Tony Stewart and #6-Mark Martin are eligible for the prize. If either wins the Checker’s Auto Parts 300 on Sunday and has the points lead when the race ends, he will claim the bonus. The highest previous amount awarded was $190,000 to Bobby Labonte when he won the Brickyard 400 at Indianapolis in 2000. The last driver to win it this year was Sterling Marlin, collecting $20,000 for winning at Las Vegas in March.(Dallas Morning News) if it goes unclaimed at the end of the year, it goes into the Drivers Points Fund and is distributed at the Banquet.(11-10-2002)
  • Dale Jr shooting for the Top 10: #8-Dale Earnhardt Jr. enters today’s race 88 points behind #28-Ricky Rudd for 10th place in the season standings. The top 10 are invited to New York for the postseason banquet, so there is a level of prestige on the line. “It’s a boost for the team,” Earnhardt Jr. said of a possible top-10 finish. “I think it’s an accomplishment to say you got something out of the season. This ain’t the season we wanted to have or expected to have, but looking back six or seven races ago, I’m glad to be in this position to at least get something.”(Roanoke Times)(11-10-2002)
  • Harvick and the CTS in 2003: After capturing his first CTS series win this weekend at Phoenix, Winston Cup [#29] driver Kevin Harvick said he still plans to compete in seven or eight races next season in his own team. Harvick said Ed Berrier, who has Winston Cup and BGN experience, will drive Harvick’s truck in the season-opening Truck race at Daytona. “The Truck schedule is awesome next year. NASCAR has done a great job putting the schedule together,” Harvick said. “I’ll probably run the (two) Martinsville races, Bristol and other companion events (with Winston Cup).”(ThatsRacin.com)(11-10-2002)
  • #42 is it for McMurray UPDATE: got an image of the #42 Havoline Dodge that Jamie McMurray will drive in 2003, see the image of the car on my Paint Scheme Gallery.(11-8-2002)
    UPDATE the official McMurray site says no decision has been made on the number yet for 2003, but it seems odd that Action would put out an image of the car with a number of it and it just be a rumor….but.(11-10-2002)
  • Biffle helps out Hamilton: Car owner Andy Petree and crew chief Jimmy Elledge decided to put BGN points leader Greg Biffle in the #55 Chevy during Saturday’s first practice session at Phoenix. The team’s regular driver, Bobby Hamilton, was complaining the engine didn’t pull off the corners. So the team turned to Biffle, who substituted for Hamilton earlier this season in the #55 when Hamilton was injured. However, Biffle was only 36th fastest in the practice session and complained of some of the same problems. Hamilton returned to the car for Saturday’s final practice [he was 37th fastest].(ThatsRacin.com)(11-10-2002)

    (11-9-2002)

  • Nemechek and Hendrick close: According to team sources a deal between Hendrick Motorsports and Joe Nemechek [for the #25 ride] is very close to finalization, with the announcement anticipated as soon as next week at Homestead. Also, close to a extending an existing partnership (if it didn’t happen today) is crew chief Peter Sospenzo’s and Rick Hendrick for the #25 Chevy. That deal eliminates Sospenzo as one of the men that Robert Yates eyed as a replacement wrench for Michael “Fatback” McSwain.(Ford Racing)(11-9-2002)
  • Some Dale Jr/BGN scheme rumors: hearing that Dale Earnhardt Jr will run a “concert” scheme at the April Talladega BGN race and that Dale Jr will run a Dirty Mo Posse (DMP) paint scheme in the July Daytona BGN.(11-9-2002)
  • Matt Martin Now A Two-Time Track Champion: Matt Martin won two track championships Wednesday night at Little New Smryna, taking home titles in both the Senior Honda and GX160 Quarter Midget classes. More information on Matt’s racing can be found at www.mattmartin.net.(J-Mar Newsletter)(11-9-2002)

    (11-8-2002)

  • Magic Number is 11th not 8th since penalty AND: #20-Tony Stewart can clinch the Winston Cup Drivers Championship buy finishing 11th or better in each of the last two races and no one can catch him, needs to average 129 points a race the last two races, 11th is worth 130. The most #6-Mark Martin can get is 4807 (4437 + 370 [185×2]), so 4807 – 4549 = 258, 258/2 = 129. 11th is worth 130 points, or a 12th (worth 127) and lead a lap for 5 points will clinch it for Stewart.(11-3/4-2002)
    AND Only the top seven drivers in the points race still have a mathematical chance of winning this year’s title. Any driver more than 151 points out of the lead after the race in Phoenix this coming weekend will be eliminated from the championship race. After Sunday’s race, only Mark Martin is within 151 points of Stewart.(as long as they start the last race…of course)(11-4-2002)
    AND Jim Utter from ThatsRacin.com has some info – How the Cup title could be won, or not: There are several scenarios under which Tony Stewart could wrap up his first Winston Cup championship this weekend at Phoenix. If Stewart gained 73 points on second-place Mark Martin, he would leave with a 185-point lead and would win the title even if he did not race at the season finale at Homestead, Fla., next weekend. If Stewart gained just 39 points on Martin, he would need only to take the green-flag at the season finale to win the championship. And finally, if Stewart finished 11th or better in the final two races, he would win the title regardless of the performance of any other driver. Several other scenarios come into play, based on Martin’s performance. Among them: Should Martin finish 16th or higher at Phoenix, Stewart couldn’t clinch the title this weekend, and Martin could not take the points lead this weekend if Stewart finished 39th or better. In the event the points battle ended up a tie, the driver with the most wins would be the champion. Right now that is Stewart with three to Martin’s one. However, should Martin win the final two races, they would be tied and the tie-breaker would move to second-place finishes, then third, and so forth to determine a champion.(ThatsRacin.com)(11-8-2002)
  • Spencer not happy with his release, maybe to the #7 in 2003? Jimmy Spencer said Friday he’s upset about how he got the word – via a phone call – that he’d be out of the #41 Dodges owned by Chip Ganassi at the end of the 2002 Winston Cup season. Spencer said he is also angry that the decision came so late in the season after he had been assured several weeks ago that his contract to stay in the #41 in 2003 would be honored. Spencer declined to comment further about his dismissal. He is already looking for another ride for next season. Spencer has made contact with Jim Smith, owner of the #7 Dodges that will be driven by Jason Lefler for the final two races of this year after Casey Atwood was moved out of that ride.(ThatsRacin.com)(11-8-2002)
  • Brewco switching to Pontiac and be aligned with MBV: Brewco Motorsports owner [#27 and #37] Clarence Brewer doesn’t know who’ll be behind the wheel of his cars in 2003, but they’ll be Pontiac and his organization will be aligned with Johnny Benson’s #10-MBV Motorsports Winston Cup team.
    AND Casey Atwood is being considered for BGN ride, but only on a part-time basis with Brewco Motorsports in a new third team, not in a full-time ride.(Winston Cup Scene) The #27 is looking for a sponsor, supposedly the #37 team will have Timber Wolf back. Atwood is expected to be in some kind of Evernham-affliated Winston Cup team in 2003.(11-8-2002)
  • Stewart OK UPDATE: hearing that Tony Stewart’s plane collided with a deer on a runway in San Antonio, TX this week and barely avoided disaster. The plane is out of commission for two months. This is all I know.
    UPDATE: A private plane carrying Winston Cup driver Tony Stewart hit a deer on a runway while landing Tuesday night at a rural airport near San Antonio, TX. Stewart was not injured in the incident, but his Cessna Citation Bravo, a twin-engine executive jet, was damaged and will be out of service for several weeks, team officials confirmed. Stewart was on his way to Las Vegas, where he had a promotional appearance scheduled for Wednesday morning. The plane was landing for a scheduled stop for fuel. Stewart chartered another plane and continued the trip.(ThatsRacin.com)(11-8-2002)
  • Atwood out of the #7, Leffler in; Atwood in the #91 at Homestead UPDATE 4 OFFICIAL and New Engines: Jim Smith, who co-owns the #7 Dodge with Ray Evernham has decided Casey Atwood will not drive the car in the final two races at Phoenix and Homestead. Jason Leffler, who runs for Smith on the Craftsman Truck Series will take Atwood’s place. Atwood won’t be totally out in the cold because he’s actually under contract with Evernham Motorsports and will drive his #91 Research and Development Dodge at Homestead…the car he’s been testing at the Florida track the last two days.(PRN’s Garage Pass Radio Show)(11-5-2002)
    UPDATE – Evernham bought out? LTN Radio Network radio show plans to report that #7 co-owner Jim Smith bought Ray Evernham out of his portion of the #7 Dodge after discovering the motor that was used Sunday at Rockingham in the #7 was “significantly short” on horsepower, as compared to the #9 and #19 cars. Smith immediately released Casey Atwood and placed Jason Leffler in the #7 beginning this week at Phoenix. No word on who will supply engines this week at Phoenix.
    UPDATE 2 – Furr leaves in middle of race – this is interesting stuff: Before Atwood was released on Monday, both Buddy Barnes and subsequent crew chief Tony Furr did all they could to get Atwood acclimated to the program. Ray Evernham kept his end of the bargain by offering Furr whatever resources he needed to bring the car up to speed. In the last two weeks, Furr had Kevin Lepage standing by and running laps in Atwood’s car just to give them a baseline and Lepage’s times were far superior to Atwood’s even though he didn’t fit in the seat. Last Sunday, with 150 laps to go at Rockingham, Furr told Atwood if he wasn’t going to race, he was heading for the house and did. According to my [Sporting News] sources, Evernham and Jim Smith were in the process of dissolving their partnership on Tuesday and Jason Leffler will finish out the year in the No. 7.(Sporting News)(11-6-2002)
    UPDATE 3: however, Fox Sports Net’s Totally NASCAR reports that “Atwood will be entered at Phoenix and Homestead in Ray Evernham’s #91 Dodge. He tested that car at Homestead earlier this week.(Fox Sports)(11-7-2002)
    UPDATE 4 a and b: Ray Evernham, president and CEO of Evernham Motorsports, and Jim Smith, owner of Ultra Motorsports, have agreed to end their joint venture Ultra/Evernham Motorsports. Ultra/Evernham fielded the #7 Sirius Satellite Radio Dodge driven by Casey Atwood in the Winston Cup Series this season. Beginning with this weekend’s race at Phoenix International Raceway, the #7 Sirius Satellite Radio Dodge will be solely owned and operated by Smith’s Ultra Motorsports team. The Sirius Dodge will be driven by Jason Leffler in the Checker Auto Parts 500 under the Ultra Motorsports banner. “Jim and I formed this team at the end of last season to give Casey some additional seat time in Winston Cup,” Evernham said. “Without Casey driving the No. 7, there was no reason for us to continue our relationship. Sirius has been a great partner, and I wish them and Jim the best of luck in the future.” Atwood will drive the #91 Dodge, fielded by Evernham Motorsports, during the final race of the season at Homestead-Miami Speedway. Atwood and Evernham are discussing opportunities for 2003 and will be making a separate announcement once a decision has been made. Smith will continue to operate the #7 Sirius Satellite Radio Dodge in 2003. A driver for the team has not yet been determined.
    AND Sirius Satellite Radio and Ultra Motorsports today named Jason Leffler as the interim driver of the #7 Sirius Satellite Radio Dodge. Leffler, a former USAC sprint car champion and current NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series (NCTS) driver, is slated to finish out the season with the #7 team, beginning this weekend at the Checker Auto Parts 500 at Phoenix International Raceway. Leffler, who currently sits fifth in the NCTS standings, will also compete in the final two truck events at Phoenix and Homestead-Miami, as well as driving the #7 Sirius Dodge for the final two Winston Cup races this season.(Golin Harris PR’s)(11-7-2002)
    UPDATE 5: When the partnership between Ray Evernham Motorsports and Ultra Motorsports dissolved this week, so did the engine deal. Evernham Motorsports, as part of the initial agreement, was to provide the engines for Casey Atwood and the #7 Sirius Satellite Dodge. But, when Atwood was let go just prior to the partnership spilt earlier this week, Ultra was in need of some horsepower. So, Mike Ege Engines will now be the power-plant providers for the #7 Dodge for the last two races of the season. It’s unknown whether or not the deal will continue into next year. Ege currently provides motors for the three teams of Petty Enterprises. (NASCAR.com)(11-8-2002)
  • Nadeau announcement soon UPDATE it is OFFCIAL: Jerry Nadeau was on Speed Channel’s Trackside and was asked about his 2003 plans and said to expect an announcement within the next week or so and that is would be in Winston Cup. Rumor has Nadeau in the #36 (to switch to #01?) Pontiac with the U.S. Army as the sponsor.(10-25-2002)
    UPDATE: MB2 Motorsports announced Friday it has acquired sponsorship from the Army and will run driver Jerry Nadeau in the Winston Cup series next season. The sponsorship, however, covers 27 races and the Army will serve as an associate sponsor nine additional races. “MB2 Motorsports is proud to represent the Army and carry the black-and-gold colors. We have the experience and they have the discipline to make this a winning partnership,” said the team’s general manager, Jay Frye. Nadeau, who came up through kart racing, posted 10 top-10 finishes in 2001 with Hendrick Motorsports and won the season finale at Atlanta Motor Speedway in the 2000 season. The team currently uses the #36 with driver Ken Schrader (an M&M’s). However, there was no announcement about a possible change in number.(ThatsRacin.com)(11-8-2002)
  • Toyota News..in 2006? Lee White, general manager of Toyota Racing Development [TRD] said a lengthy feasible study is nearing an end and he should know before the end of the year whether Toyota will be entering NASCAR via the Craftsman Truck Series in 2004. If it follows the Dodge model, Toyota would use the trucks as a rolling laboratory to prepare for a move into Winston Cup a few years later. Toyota already is building the engines to meet NASCAR specifications and has conducted wind-tunnel testing of truck bodies. “TRD has to treat this like it’s a done deal,” White said. “We can’t wait till senior management and NASCAR make a deal before we get started on it.” White said it’s a daunting task given that no new manufacturer has tried to enter NASCAR in its 50-year history. All that have competed at one time or another, including the current four, were there at the beginning in some form. The soon-to-be-completed study is as much about the marketing aspects as it is the logistics. NASCAR wants to know how bringing a Japanese company on board is going to sit with its fan base. Toyota wants to be sure it can grow its clientele through NASCAR. To White, the second half of that equation is a no-brainer.(Indianapolis Star)(11-8-2002)

    (11-7-2002)

  • ExxonMobil Official: NASCAR named ExxonMobil’s Mobil brand of products as the “Official Lubricants of NASCAR” beginning in 2003. The announcement was made during the 2002 Automotive Aftermarket Parts Expo (AAPEX) in Las Vegas. An industry leader in the development of innovative, problem-solving lubricants, including synthetics, the Mobil family of automotive lubricants includes motor oil, transmission fluid, gear lubricants and greases, and will join a list of performance products endorsed by the nation’s number one motorsport — NASCAR. A long-time supporter of NASCAR racing, this marks Mobil 1’s 12th season as a major sponsor of Penske Racing South with veteran driver Rusty Wallace and rookie sensation Ryan Newman.(Business Wire) NOTE: this does not cover gasoline.(11-7-2002)
  • Parker and Roush? Jack Roush is talking to Hank Parker Jr. and his Busch Series sponsor – General Nutrition Center – about fielding a second full-time Busch team in 2003. Parker currently is without a ride for the coming season.(Times Argus)(11-7-2002)
  • Lepage Clears a few things up: Published reports early in the week had Atwood fired from the Ultra/Evernham #7 Dodge, to be replaced by Lepage. Ultra/Evernham Motorsports spokesperson Amy Hunerberg spent most of the weekend emphatically denying those reports, however, insisting that Atwood’s job was secure through the end of the 2002 season. Atwood did drive the car Sunday, but sources behind the scenes continued to insist that negotiations were under way to remove Atwood from the car and replace him with Lepage, if a series of contractual issues could be resolved. Monday, Atwood showed up for a testing session at Homestead-Miami Speedway, as scheduled. However, he did not drive the #7 car. Instead, he wheeled Ray Evernham’s #91 “research and development” Dodge – the car driven at Rockingham by Hank Parker Jr. That move prompted rumors that Atwood would move to the #91 for the final two races of the season, and Smith confirmed that move Tuesday. However, Smith tabbed his NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series driver, Jason Leffler, to steer the now-vacant Sirius Satellite Radio Dodge, leaving Lepage without a ride once again. Monday, Lepage was tight-lipped about a possible return to the Winston Cup ranks, but admitted that he has spoken with Smith. “I’ve had some dialogue with Jim, and I drove the #7 car in practice at Atlanta a couple of weeks ago,” he said. “They’re obviously having some problems over there, and they asked me to take the car out, see what I thought, and offer them some feedback. Basically, they’re just trying to figure out where the problems lie.” Lepage’s test session, in which he ran 7/10ths of a second faster than Atwood, immediately set tongues a-wagging in the Winston Cup garage. “The minute anyone climbs into someone else’s car, the Internet explodes,” said Lepage. “By the time I climbed out from behind the wheel, (Internet Web site) Jayski had Casey fired, and me taking over. That stuff takes on a life of its own.” Lepage said he did not visit the Ultra/Evernham shop last week, as published reports have claimed. In his words, “I drove their car for a few laps at Atlanta, and that’s it.” The Shelburne driver admitted, however, that he would be interested in driving the Sirius Dodge, if the seat becomes available..(Times Argus)(11-7-2002)
  • Dale Earnhardt Jr. Grappling Classic: Dale Earnhardt Jr. is lending his name and support to help create the Dale Earnhardt Jr. Grappling Classic, which organizers say has the potential to be the biggest jiu-jitsu (also known as jujitsu) tournament in the world. The tournament is the brainchild of local jiu-jitsu instructor and 2001 jiu-jitsu world champion Joe Hurst and N.C. state trooper and jiu-jitsu student Garrett Barger. The event will be at the Cabarrus Arena and Expo Center in Concord, NC on Jan. 25.(Independent Tribune)(11-7-2002)
  • Larry Foyt to Cup in 2003? UPDATE: Motorsport.com reports that Larry Foyt might end up in Winston Cup next season because sponsor Harrah’s wants to be on the top circuit. “Harrah’s definitely, I think their goals are to go to Winston Cup,” said Foyt, son of legendary racer A.J. Foyt. “I’ve been trying to fight it because I’m still pretty new to the stock cars. (I) didn’t really wanna move up to Busch as fast as I did. I’ve always kind of left it up to my dad. He’s directed my career the way it’s gone and I trust his judgment on that.”(Daytona Beach News Journal)(6-5-2002)
    AND some more from the interview: MFR: So what is your timetable for going to Winston Cup, and is your sponsor, Harrah’s going to go with you?
    FOYT: I don’t know, we’re kind of in negotiations right now. I’m leaving it up to them and AJ, what they want to do with me. I’m open to anything. If we do go to Cup, I just want to make sure that we do it right, because I know that’s just so tough. That level is the top, and it’s so tough. I’d really like one more year of Busch. I feel like we’ve made a lot of improvements, but we still haven’t done the things we want to do. We’ve gotten some top tens, but we’re not running up front consistently like we want to, so I feel like one more year of Busch would be really good for us.
    And when asked about Indy cars: “The Indy car, when I drove it, is a pretty different feel and I never raced it in a crowd, so I’d be pretty curious to see what it’s like. I’m really pushing to try and run Indy next year before I get too far away from that. That race is still so special to me and I still go every year. I haven’t missed one yet, so I’m really pushing for Indy next year, to give it a shot.(6-6-2002)
    UPDATE: hearing Harrah’s Racing is planning on moving up to Cup, from an email from Harrah’s: “We are no longer sponsoring the Foyt team in the IRL division. However, we will continue to sponsor Larry Foyt, A.J. Foyt’s son, in NASCAR. For 2003 he is moving up to the Winston Cup series.(11-7-2002)
  • Vasser doubts he’ll be in the #41: during an interview on ESPN2’s RPM 2Night (still can’t believe they are canceling this show) CART driver Jimmy Vasser said doesn’t think Chip Ganassi is considering him for the #41 Target Dodge ride that Jimmy Spencer will be released from at the end of 2002. Vasser said he is looking for a BGN ride or to stay in CART. Vasser drove for Ganassi in CART before parting ways a few years ago.(11-7-2002)
  • Goodyear Tire donates $75,000 to give racers a touch of NASCAR: Goodyear tire company is giving the All-American Soap Box Derby derby $75,000, and that includes paying for the fiberglass and nylon wheels used by competitors at the world championship in July. In recognition of Goodyear’s gift, the traditionally plain white wheels will be painted black and carry the Goodyear name. It’ll also be a visual reminder of Goodyear’s efforts to bring NASCAR in as a derby partner this year. “The idea is for them to look like NASCAR tires,” derby General Manager Jeff Iula said. Goodyear is the exclusive supplier of tires for NASCAR. The 413 sets of wheels competitors used this year had a retail value of $33,000, Iula said. The wheels are made of fiberglass-reinforced nylon resin, molded by Remington Plastics of Cuyahoga Falls. Derby officials put the same style of wheels on each competitor’s car to help even the playing field. For several years, kids who wanted to keep their race day wheels had to pay $70 for them. For the past three years, the derby ate the cost and gave the wheels away. Next year will be the first time a sponsor has paid the entire cost of the wheels.(Beacon Journal)(11-7-2002)
  • Trial puts on brakes for NASCAR race The new trial for a Mercer County man charged with the 1989 murders of three members of a Pocahontas, Va., family will take a back seat to a NASCAR race scheduled during the projected trial dates. The is scheduled to go on trial from March 3 to April 4, 2003 at U.S. District Court in Abingdon. The case was tried previously on federal capital murder charges in a trial that started Sept. 4 and ended Oct. 4, when the jury reported they could not reach a unanimous verdict. U.S. District Judge James P. Jones scheduled the new trial to start in March of 2003. Assistant U.S. Attorney Anthony P. Giorno learned that the trial would be going on during the weekend of the 2003 Food City 500. Although NASCAR [dates have been released by the way Bristol is 3-23] has not yet released the dates for its 2003 racing schedule, the 2002 Food City 500 was on March 24. “The hotel told us that we couldn’t get reservations on the weekend of the Bristol Race,” Giorno said. “The race doesn’t appear on the NASCAR website yet, but apparently the hospitality industry has advanced notice.” Giorno filed a motion on Oct. 28, asking the court to “adjourn trial because of the NASCAR race.” In a telephone interview, Giorno indicated the adjournment is “just for that Friday.” Jones granted the government’s motion.(Daily Telegraph)(11-7-2002)
  • Harvick to run 15 BGN races in 2003: Kevin Harvick will drive the #21 PayDay Chevy for Richard Childress Racing in 15 BGN events at 13 different tracks in 2003. His season starts begins at Daytona International Speedway for the Koolerz 300 on Feb. 15. He will want to win that one for his sponsor, Hershey, which makes both PayDay candy bars and Koolerz gum. Current RCR talent Johnny Sauter will assume duties as secondary driver of the #21 PayDay Chevy beginning on February 22, at North Carolina Speedway in Rockingham, NC. Along with his duties as secondary driver, Sauter will play a vital role in maintaining the #21 PayDay team’s run at an owner’s championship. Harvick will not compete in more than three consecutive Busch Series races. His three-race stints are in August and November. Harvick is not scheduled to compete in any BGN events that are not accompanied by a Cup event on the same weekend at the same venue. Sauter will compete in all the non-companion events. Here is Harvick’s entire 2003 NASCAR Busch Series schedule:. Feb. 15, Daytona; March 1, Las Vegas; March 22, Bristol; April 26, California; May 2, Richmond; May 24, Lowe’s; May 31, Dover; July 19, New Hampshire; Aug. 16, Michigan; Aug. 22, Bristol; Aug. 30, Darlington; Oct. 10, Lowe’s; Nov. 1, Phoenix; Nov. 8, North Carolina; Nov. 15, Homestead.(Keystone Marketing PR)(11-7-2002)
  • Blaney to run the Homestead BGN race: Dave Blaney, driver of the #77 Jasper Engine’s Ford in Cup, will drive the #31 Whelen’s Chevy in the Homestead BGN race.(11-7-2002)
  • Cope back in the #49 at Phoenix: Using Atlanta as something of a “brush-up” race, Derrike Cope and the #49 BAM Racing Dodge are set for the final two races of the 2002 Cup season. Cope will drive for the team in Sunday’s Checker 500k at Phoenix and next week’s Ford 400 at Homestead. Cope tested at Phoenix two days last week, and the team was excited with the results.(Williams Company PR)(11-7-2002)
  • Andretti, Dallenbach, Petty Team For Key Program: Drivers John Andretti and Wally Dallenbach will be racing hard to win – and to help young readers win, too – this weekend at Phoenix. Cheerios Spoonfuls of Stories, serving as an associate sponsor for Dallenbach’s BGN #6 team and Andretti’s #43 Cheerios/Betty Crocker Dodge Cup team, will donate 43 books for each lap the two drivers complete in NASCAR events at Phoenix this week. The donated books will go to First Book-Phoenix/Scottsdale. At 43 books per lap, that means that Cheerios Spoonfuls of Stories, in conjunction with Simon & Schuster, will donate as many as 22,016 new children’s books if both drivers complete each lap in their respective races. First Book, a national nonprofit which provides new books to children from low-income families, will distribute the donated books to children in need in the Greater Phoenix area. Nationally, as many as 61 percent of low-income families have no books at all in their homes for their children. Cheerios Spoonfuls of Stories race donation is part of a broader commitment to children’s literacy that includes putting more than five million books inside boxes of Cheerios. Families can help Cheerios get even more books to children in their own communities using the First Book donation form found on Cheerios boxes.(Williams Company PR)(11-7-2002)
  • 2003 Monte Carlo SS Jeff Gordon Signature Edition: Soon, NASCAR and Jeff Gordon fans will be able to cruise Main Street in a Chevrolet Monte Carlo similar to that driven by the Winston Cup Series’ four-time champion. The limited production vehicle is a 2003 Monte Carlo SS Jeff Gordon Signature Edition, based on a well-equipped Monte Carlo SS with the High Sport appearance package. Its striking exterior scheme includes a new-for-’03 Superior Blue color, highlighted by Galaxy Silver grounds effects, diamond-cut cast aluminum wheels and dual stainless steel exhaust tips. Adding to the exterior character are Galaxy Silver flame decals on the hood, front fenders and doors. Jeff Gordon’s trademark signature will be displayed on the sail panel and decklid. His well-known NASCAR number ’24’ will be prominently featured on the front license plate close-out panel, the sail panels, and embroidered on the headrests.(GM PR)(11-7-2002)

    (11-6-2002)

  • Spencer out? UPDATE at end of season; Hamilton?: hearing rumors that Jimmy Spencer will not return to the #41 Target Dodge/Ganassi Racing team, not sure if it is immediate or at the end of the season or at all. If released, the only rumored driver I have heard is Jimmy Vasser of CART but could be an opening for Bobby Hamilton to get in that Dodge program.(11-5-2002)
    UPDATE: Chip Ganassi Racing with Felix Sabates announced today that Jimmy Spencer, driver of the #41 Target Dodge, will be released from his contract at the end of the 2002 season. Spencer will continue his driving duties for the team for the remainder of the 2002 NASCAR Winston Cup season. “When we first made this deal, Jimmy and I agreed about what would happen if the results were not what either of us were happy with,” owner Chip Ganassi said. “Obviously, both of us are not happy with the results. I feel bad we weren’t able to get the most out of our relationship, but I’m sure I’ll remain friends with Jimmy. We all know he’s a colorful character that no one can help but enjoy being around. No one can deny Jimmy has a lot of energy and excitement about him.” Chip Ganassi Racing with Felix Sabates has not announced a driver for the #41 entry for the 2003 Winston Cup season.(Chip Ganassi Racing with Felix Sabates PR)(11-5-2002)
    UPDATE 2: The driver rumored to replace Spencer in 2003 is Bobby Hamilton. Other rumors indicate that longtime Travis Carter crew chief, Donnie Wingo, would join the Ganassi’s three-car stable to wrench Jamie McMurray’s Dodge in 2003.(Ford Racing)(11-6-2002)
  • Berrier staying, Holly NOT moving UPDATE oops, Holly leaves: Richard Childress says he’s not going to release #30 crew chief Todd Berrier from the final two years of his contract, but Childress hasn’t said how he might reorganize his three-car team next season. There has been speculation that Harold Holly [#10 ppc team in the BGN], the BGN crew chief who worked well with Jeff Green, could take over the reins of Green’s Cup team next season.(Winston Salem Journal) BUT in the latest Winston Cup Scene there is a story about Holly who says he os NOT leaving ppc Racing and denies this rumor.(11-4-2002)
    UPDATE: Harold Holly, the director of race operations at ppc Racing and crew chief for #10-Scott Riggs in the BGN, left the team today, NASCAR Winston Cup Scene reporter Rick Houston has learned. Holly was the crew chief for Jeff Green when he won the Busch Series championship by the largest margin in the division’s history, and he has been rumored to be a possibility to join Green with Richard Childress Racing’s #30 Winston Cup team.(Winston Cup Scene Daily Newsletter)(11-5-2002)
    UPDATE 2: Greg Pollex, owner of ppc Racing [#’s 10,15,57 in the BGN], announced yesterday that Harold Holly, Crew Chief for the No. 10 Nestlé Nesquik Ford Taurus in the Busch Series, is resigning effective immediately to pursue Winston Cup opportunities. A replacement has not been named. Pollex along with co-owner Keith Barnwell are looking to the future of ppc and working towards a common goal they have become known for-winning races. “We do not have a replacement for Harold yet,” said Pollex. “The No.10 team has 15 wins under Harold’s guidance and will continue to win races. Keith is in the process of reviewing our options and talking with some very strong candidates. We want to make sure we choose the right person for the team.” Pollex and Barnwell support Holly’s decision to pursue Winston Cup opportunities. “I wish Harold the best,” said Pollex. “I have a tremendous personal relationship with Harold. I have always encouraged my guys to pursue advancement in their careers if the opportunity presented itself. Harold is in pursuit of those opportunities and I am sure he will make the best of it.”(Nesquik Racing Media Relations PR)(11-6-2002)
  • #2 Crewman Injured: Earl Barban, mechanic and chief spotter for Rusty Wallace, was involved in a motorcycle accident while en route to the speedway last night. According to Barban, he sustained three broken ribs, a punctured lung, lacerated spleen and various cuts and bruises. He was reached in his hospital room Friday afternoon and updated his condition. Barban is expected to remain in the hospital until at least Saturday evening.(Ford Racing)(11-2-2002)
    UPDATE: on Earl Barban (team mechanic/spotter injured in 10/31 motorcycle crash en route to Rockingham). Released from Rockingham hospital last night (Monday) recuperating at home under watchful eye of his mom visited his personal physician today to see if further tests are necessary biggest concern at this time seems to be the lacerated spleen and painful swollen ankles.(Tom Roberts PR)(11-6-2002)
  • Homestead Testing from Tuesday: #20-Tony Stewart topped the speed charts for the second consecutive day at the final test session before Ford Championship Weekend November 14-17 at Homestead-Miami Speedway. Stewart and five other drivers tested under sunny skies, temperatures in the low 80’s and a slight breeze. Two other drivers tested Cup cars and three drivers tested BGN on the 1.5-mile track. The speeds:
    #20-Tony Stewart, 148.670mph
    #91-Casey Atwood, 147.420
    #57-Robert Pressley, 147.139
    BGN:
    #60-Greg Biffle, 147.581
    #56-Martin Truex, Jr., 145.474 (from NJ)
    #18-Mike McLaughlin, 145.083.(Homestead-Miami Speedway PR)(11-6-2002)
  • DeWalt News – 2003 Scheme, flames return at Phoenix, and winners: The 2003 DeWalt Power Tools Ford Taurus paint scheme will be unveiled at DeWalt’s Rolling Thunder on Saturday, November 9th at 11:45am. AND The 16 regional winners have driven their five screws in record time and will vie for a chance to win the Million Dollar Challenge during the pre-race ceremonies at Phoenix International Raceway on November 10th. The regional winners are as follows:. Mike Fischer from Huntley, IL 8.19 seconds; Phillip Elliot from Glen Aubrey, NY 9.38 seconds; Jon Smith from Delaware, OH 9.94 seconds; Joe Fodera from Sommerville, MA. 10.23 seconds; John Seymour from Charlotte, NC 10.43 seconds; Ben Pece from Lyndhurst, OH 10.46 seconds; Darrell Fink from Citrus Heights, CA 10.71 seconds; Scott Brockbank from Orem, UT 10.86 seconds; Bill South from Litchfield Park, AZ 10.97 seconds; Mike Rennie from Kirkland, WA 11.10 seconds; James McAnally from Lake Mary, FL 11.24 seconds; Eric Anderson from Garland, TX 11.39 seconds; Darren Johnson from Pembroke Pines, FL 11.69 seconds; Kane Powell from Panora, IA 12.07 seconds; Dale Howington from Buford, GA 12.12 seconds; Ben Beachy from Mt. Joy, PA 12.56 seconds.
    AND The #17 Ford will sport the DeWalt Million Dollar Challenge Flame paint scheme this weekend at Phoenix to commemorate the DeWalt Million Dollar Challenge Finals taking place throughout the weekend.(DeWalt PR)(11-6-2002)
  • Team Penske to honor Dixon: To celebrate Larry Dixon’s NHRA Top Fuel Championship, a special logo will be placed on both the #2-Rusty Wallace and #12-Ryan Newman Ford race cars for this weekend’s Phoenix race. In addition, for the in-car camera in Rusty’s car, sponsor Miller Brewing is placing a dash board sign featuring the Lite logo and the message: “Congratulations Larry Dixon and Don Prudhomme Snake Racing NHRA Powerade 2002 Top Fuel Champions.”(Tom Roberts PR)(11-6-2002)
  • Sad News: Two men who died after their single-engine plane struck some power lines and crashed into a field have been tentatively identified, the Fond du Lac County [WI] Sheriff’s Department reported Tuesday. The victims are believed to be Fond du Lac residents Jim Gescheidle, 60, supervisor of buildings and grounds for the Fond du Lac School District, and Harold Duehring, 62, owner of Duehring Electro-Coat, Chief Deputy Mick Fink said Tuesday. Confirmation was expected following autopsies. The plane crashed about 5:40pm Monday as it approached Fond du Lac County Skyport from the south, Fink said. The 1965 Piper was en route to Fond du Lac from a NASCAR race in Rockingham, NC, and due at the airport about 6:00pm, Fink said. Relatives were waiting at the airport when the crash occurred, Fink said.(Milwaukee Journal Sentinel)(11-6-2002)
  • NASCAR on NBC & TNT Up 13% Heading into Final 2 Races: Through 17 telecasts, NBC & TNT have produced a 4.3 national rating/10 share (excluding this year’s Daytona 500 and last year’s primetime Pepsi 400 – the two races which alternate between NBC and Fox each year), representing a 13 percent increase over a 3.8/10 for the comparable races last year. This growth builds on last year’s 34 percent ratings increase (3.9/10 vs. a 2.9/8) for the inaugural year of NASCAR on NBC & TNT over the comparable races in the 2000 season. TNT’s coverage of last Sunday’s NASCAR Winston Cup race from Rockingham, N.C. delivered a 3.0 converted national household rating/8 share, which represents a three percent improvement over last year’s 2.9/8 on TNT.(NBC PR)(11-6-2002)
  • Congrats: Jay, Stephanie and John Durner are proud to announce the birth of John’s little sister, Sydney Elizabeth, born October 14, 12:08am. Sydney weighed 8lbs 5oz and measured 20 and 1/4 inches long. Stephanie Durner host the Fox Sports Net show NASCAR Tech.(11-6-2002)

    (11-5-2002)

  • Martin’s car fails inspection UPDATE 2 Penalized 25 points/ Roush may appeal: #6-Mark Martin finished second at Rockingham and appeared had cut #20-Tony Stewart’s lead in the Winston Cup standings from 146 to 87 points. But during post-race inspection, NASCAR discovered that the left-front spring on Martin’s Ford did not have the minimum requirement of 4½ coils – it had 4 3/8 coils. NASCAR spokesperson Danielle Frye said penalties would not be announced until Monday at the earliest, but the same violation has drawn fines and 25-point penalties earlier this season. A similar points penalty would leave Martin 112 points back with two races remaining.(ThatsRacin.com)(11-3-2002)
    UPDATE: NASCAR officials announced today penalties for the #6 Ford team in the NASCAR Winston Cup Series because of a rule violation found following Sunday’s race at North Carolina Speedway. Mark Martin, driver of the #6 Ford, has been penalized 25 series championship points. In addition, Martin’s team owner Jack Roush has been penalized 25 car owner points. A $5,000 fine was issued to crew chief Ben Leslie. All three were penalized under Section 12-4-Q in the NASCAR Winston Cup rule book (“Any determination by NASCAR officials that parts and/or equipment used in the event do not conform to NASCAR rules.”), because of an unapproved front spring. The left front coil spring on the #6 Ford had approximately 4 3/8 (four-and-three-eighths) coils. The required minimum number of coils is 4 1/2 (four-and-one-half). This is the third time this season officials have taken points from NASCAR Winston Cup teams because of unapproved coil springs.(NASCAR PR) Martin now has 4437 points (4462-25), which puts him down 112 points now. [see my Penalties page for the past points deductions](11-4-2002)
    UPDATE 2: Roush Racing President Geoff Smith says the team may appeal NASCAR’s decision to take away 25 Winston Cup points from Mark Mark because his car had an unapproved spring in Sunday’s race at North Carolina Speedway. “We are evaluating all avenues of recourse available to us, including invoking the NASCAR appeals process and have asked our outside counsel to assess our options for recourse against the manufacturer and distributor of the spring,” Smith said today. “We quite naturally are upset that we received exactly the same penalty as that imposed on two other teams that altered springs with the expectation of obtaining a performance advantage.” NASCAR said Roush Racing’s No. 6 Ford was found with an improper left front spring after Martin drove it to second place in the Pop Secret Microwave Popcorn 400. The sanctioning body penalized Martin 25 driver points, took away 25 car owner points from team owner Jack Roush and fined crew chief Ben Leslie $5,000 because the spring had 4 3/8 coils instead of the m ndated 4 1/2. NASCAR noted that it was the third time this year that a driver and team had lost points because of spring problems. Martin, who has finished second in the Winston Cup championship three times, said the “unaltered spring… had no performance difference…. I feel like we just got the death sentence for shoplifting. Everyone in the garage knows that it was an honest mistake and provided absolutely zero advantage at that track.” If the penalty stands Martin will go into the season’s final two races 112 points behind championship leader Tony Stewart.(Winston Cup Scene Daily Newsletter)(11-5-2002)
  • Testing at Homestead UPDATE Stewart fastest: #20-Tony Stewart is headlining a group of ten drivers who will test at Homestead-Miami Speedway on Monday, November 4 and Tuesday, November 5 from 9:00am – 5:00pm/et each day. Admission is free to the public for the test sessions with seating in the Speedway Club level. Driver participation is subject to change. Drivers scheduled to test:
    #20-Tony Stewart, 149.354mph
    #57-Robert Pressley (Team CLR), 147.312
    #91-Casey Atwood, 146.500
    #29-Kevin Harvick, no speed listed
    #30-Jeff Green, no speed listed
    BGN
    #31-Dave Blaney, 147.420
    #60-Greg Biffle, 147.059
    #40-Brian Vickers, 146.500
    #18-Mike McLaughlin, 145.357
    #56-Martin Truex, Jr. 143.426
    (HMS Site – Speeds from NASCAR.com) NOTES: Track Qualifying Record is Steve Park, Nov 2000, 156.440mph and the 2001 Pole Sitter was Bill Elliott at 155.226.(11-5-2002)
  • Schrader and the Pooches: This weekend at Phoenix, #36-Ken Schrader will be racing for search and rescue dogs across the country. It’s all part of a new promotion by Pedigree Food for Dogs and Petsmart called Pedigree To The Rescue. For every kilometer that Schrader completes during the Winston Cup race on Sunday, November 10th, Pedigree will donate 100 pounds of its new Pedigree Dry Food For Dogs to canine handlers who are members of the National Association for Search and Rescue (NASAR) Dogs. The new dog food features Pedigree Healthy Nuggets, kibbles with a crispy shell and soft, tasty center, and the Advance Antitoxidant Recipe to help dogs live a long, healthy life. That means that if Schrader completes the 312-lap race in its entirety, NASAR’s canine handlers would receive 50,000 pounds of dog food. Law enforcement agencies using search and rescue dogs will be able to pick up the donated Pedigree dog food at designated Petsmart locations around the country. Schrader has the most career wins of any driver at Phoenix International Raceway with 12 trips to Victory Lane. As part of the promotion, the #36 Pedigree Brand Racing Pontiac will also have a new look this weekend in Phoenix. The car will feature Healthy Nuggets – a new addition to the famous Pedigree Dry Food For Dogs recipe. The new recipe delivers both great taste and advanced nutrition to help your dog live a long, healthy life. The new car will be unveiled by Schrader at the Petsmart store located at 7290 West Bell Road in Glendale, Arizona, on Wednesday, November 6th at 7:00pm. Lt. Mike Tuttle, President of NASAR, and a team of search and rescue dogs that assisted with the World Trade Center recovery efforts, will also be on hand.(IMG Motorsports-Charlotte PR)(11-5-2002)
  • Hooper in the #90 at Phoenix: Once again, Lance Hooper will endeavor to compete in two top series NASCAR events, the CTS and Cup races, this weekend at Phoenix. This won’t be the first time Hooper has attempted a double duty weekend. At Dover this June, he ran in the CTS race and the BGN MBNA 200, coming from the back of the field to finish 23rd. Hooper belongs to a rather elite group of only seven drivers, including Kenny Schrader and Tony Stewart, who have raced in all three of NASCAR’s top series this year. Ingles Market continues their associate sponsorship of Hooper for both the Cup race and the CTS. Their sponsorship of Hooper extends back through five years for ARCA, CTS, BGN, and WC races. This year, Ingles co-sponsored Hooper’s truck, BGN Dover ride, and Bristol WC August run. “We are really grateful for Ingles Market’s loyalty to us through the last five years,” states Hooper.” Not only have they been a great associate sponsor, they have provided the food for our team for many races.” Hooper will be trying to make the field for Phoenix in the # 90 Ford (not the #47 as listed on the entry list), a partnership between Junie Donlavey and Roger Smith, from Naples FL. Hooper drove Smith/Dovlavey’s car in August for the Cup Bristol race. Within hundreds of a second to qualify on time, Hooper took a provisional and not only improved his start by 12 positions, but loaded an almost unscathed car at the end of the night, despite the usual Bristol melee.(Lance Hooper Racing PR), NOTE: the #90 team is out of provisionals and will need to make the field on speed)(11-5-2002)
  • Pressley Tests the #57 at Homestead: #57 Team CLR Racing is testing with Robert Presley this week in Homestead. If testing goes well they will attempt to make the final Winston Cup race of the 2002 season in Homestead FL. LD Mechanical.& Over The Wall Diecast will be on board again as associate sponsors. The last attempt for Team CLR was.the Brickyard with Stuart Kirby as the driver of the #57 CLR Ford Taurus.(Team CLR PR)(11-5-2002)
  • Park Wins NMPA Spirit Award Steve Park is the winner of the third-quarter voting in NMPA’s “Pocono Spirit Award.” Park was picked because he overcame the injury suffered in a crash at Darlington nearly 13 months ago. Amazingly, six months after the accident, Park was not only back at the South Carolina track, but the Dale Earnhardt, Inc., driver was competing once again at the sport’s highest level. A driver whose career appeared to be over didn’t just beat the odds, he demolished them. The NMPA/Pocono Spirit Award recognizes character and achievement in the face of adversity as well as sportsmanship and contributions to motorsports.(NMPA via Insider Racing)(11-5-2002)
  • Fittipaldi Debut at Phoenix: Christian Fittipaldi will make his NASCAR Winston Cup debut this week at the one-mile Phoenix International Raceway. He will run the #44 Georgia-Pacific/Brawny Dodge in Sunday’s Checker Auto Parts 500. “I’m excited with the opportunity and looking forward to running my first Winston Cup race,” said Fittipaldi, nephew of open wheel legend Emerson Fittipaldi. “I have tested several times and have run some Busch races. I am getting a feel for these cars, and I’m looking forward to seeing what they are like with 42 others on the track with you at the same time,” he said. Fittipaldi will drive a combination Winston Cup, BGN and ARCA schedule next season for Petty Enterprises. Still looking for sponsorship for that effort, Fittipaldi and Petty Enterprises plan on using this unique schedule to fine-tune his stock car racing skills before running a full Winston Cup schedule in 2004. “Christian has been successful in Formula One and successful in CART, and we think he is going to be very successful in Winston Cup too,” said Kyle Petty, CEO of Petty Enterprises. “He has adjusted to these big stock cars pretty quickly, and has tested well everywhere we have gone with him. His Phoenix test last week was really good, and he is going to have a good weekend. We are continuing our search for a sponsor for him for next year, and there has been a lot of interest in this program from potential sponsors,” Petty continued. “We want to find someone who fits well with General Mills and Georgia-Pacific.” Petty will drive the #45 Georgia-Pacific/Brawny Dodge next season for Petty Enterprises.(Williams Company)(11-5-2002)
  • NAPCM Pit Crew of the Week – Rockingham #10: High performance pit stops at the “Rock” took the #10 Valvoline team from a 26th place start to Victory Lane. Congratulations #10 Valvoline Crew on your first trip to Victory Lane and for earning this week’s NAPCM “Pit Crew Of The Week” award, sponsored by Toxabsorb (www.toxabsorb.com), “Instant non-skid pit stall prep, creating grip for faster pit stops” and “Official Spill Response Agent of the National Association Of Pit Crew Members”. Check out the latest Mechanix Wear “Pit Crew Of The Year” standings and latest, NEW NAPCM member benefits, available at the National Association Of Pit Crew Members website (www.napcm.com).(11-5-2002)

    (11-4-2002)

  • Magic Number is 11th not 8th since penalty: #20-Tony Stewart can clinch the Winston Cup Drivers Championship buy finishing 11th or better in each of the last two races and no one can catch him, needs to average 129 points a race the last two races, 11th is worth 130. The most #6-Mark Martin can get is 4807 (4437 + 370 [185×2]), so 4807 – 4549 = 258, 258/2 = 129. 11th is worth 130 points, or a 12th (worth 127) and lead a lap for 5 points will clinch it for Stewart.(11-3/4-2002)
    AND Only the top seven drivers in the points race still have a mathematical chance of winning this year’s title. Any driver more than 151 points out of the lead after the race in Phoenix this coming weekend will be eliminated from the championship race. After Sunday’s race, only Mark Martin is within 151 points of Stewart.(as long as they start the last race…of course)(11-4-2002)
  • No Longer the tighest: With 248 points separating first through fifth in this year’s title race, this is no longer the tightest points race in NASCAR history. In 1992, 113 points separated the top five with two races remaining. The late Alan Kulwicki won that title by 10 points over Bill Elliott.(News and Observer)(11-4-2002)
  • Nice Crowd: Johnny Benson joined Donnie Allison (1968), Mark Martin (1989) and Ward Burton (1995) as drivers whose first Winston Cup wins have come at North Carolina Speedway.(Richmond Times Dispatch)(11-4-2002)
  • Lepage in? Atwood out at the #7? UPDATE 6 next week? to the #91?: hearing Kevin Lepage, who recently left the Brewco Motorsports in the BGN [Elton Sawyer in the #37 BGN car this week] will take over the #7 Sirius Dodge driving duties this week at Rockingham, Casey Atwood will supposedly go back to Brewco Motorsports and the BGN. Supposedly Lepage will run the final three Cup races in the car and possibly drive the full 2003 season.(10-29-2002)
    UPDATE: PRN’S Garagepass Sources Have Confirmed That Car Owner Ray Evernham And Driver Casey Atwood Are Parting Company. Kevin Lepage, In A One Race Deal, Will Drive The Sirius Satellite Dodge, At Rockingham.
    UPDATE 2: Contrary to electronic reports, Casey Atwood will remain behind the wheel of the #7 Sirius Satellite Dodge for the rest of the 2002 season. A team representative told NASCAR.com late Tuesday that Atwood would indeed drive in the three remaining races this year. Kevin Lepage will not drive the car, as reports stated.(NASCAR.com)(10-29-2002)
    UPDATE 3: There may be a driver change for this weekend’s Winston Cup race at Rockingham. There is action at Ultra Evernham Motorsports. Sources close to the team said that Casey Atwood was fired Tuesday morning as the driver of the #7 car. Kevin Lepage was at the shop on Tuesday and was set to replace Atwood this weekend. By Tuesday afternoon, Atwood was back in the car because of contractual snag, but if the situation is cleared up, Lepage may in fact be in the 7 car this weekend.(FoxSports)(10-30-2002)
    UPDATE 4: Opinions differ on whether Casey Atwood will finish the Winston Cup season in the #7 Dodge. Atwood is behind the wheel for the race this weekend. But, reports in the garage area have him out for the final two races of the year at Phoenix and Homestead, possibly replaced by Kevin LePage. However, team representatives stated that Atwood would finish out the season. According to reports, Lepage was 7/10ths of a second faster than Atwood at a recent testing session at Atlanta.(NASCAR.com)(11-1-2002)
    BUT another rumor has Jason Leffler in the #7 at Phoenix.(11-2-2002)
    UPDATE 5: Car owner Jim Smith fired Casey Atwood on Tuesday afternoon, with plans to put Kevin Lepage in the car this weekend. Atwood was unaware of that behind-the-scenes action until he got a phone call from friends who had heard the news on television. Atwood’s father, Terry, who has been carefully watching his young son’s fledgling career, then called Smith’s partner Ray Evernham, who in turn called Smith to remind him that Atwood still had a contract. What happens next is unclear.(Winston Salem Journal)(11-3-2002)
    UPDATE 6 – getting odder now: Casey Atwood will be testing at Homestead Speedway on Monday and Tuesday. Rumor has it that he isn’t testing in the #7 car, but the #91 Dodge owned by Ray Evernham Motorsports that Hank Parker Jr. drove at North Carolina Speedway. If Atwood does get released from the #7 Dodge, Evernham will use Atwood in his car to finish out the year. Garage talk had Atwood out of the car and Kevin Lepage in for Phoenix and Homestead. Lepage was seen walking and talking with Tony Furr, crew chief for the #7 Dodge, in the garage and pit area at Rockingham this weekend. Atwood was spotted in the BGN garage going into the #27 Chevy transporter of Brewco Motorsports, where he has been rumored to be going if he’s realeased from the Winston Cup ride.(NASCAR.com Buzz)(11-4-2002)
  • Oops: Two drivers could be heard cussing during the TNT telecast of Sunday’s race — #20-Home Depot Pontiac driver Tony Stewart and #22-Caterpillar Dodge driver Ward Burton. After Chevy driver Jimmie Johnson’s crew chief was fined for cussing on television last month, some drivers wondered if NASCAR would be consistent with that policy. Dale Earnhardt Jr. cussed on television during last weekend’s race, but he was not fined.(News and Observer), oh yes, complaints can be directed at NASCAR or the teams, not me.(11-4-2002)
  • Stacker 2 to sponsor a BGN team too: hearing Stacker 2, who will sponsor the #23 Bill Davis Racing Dodge and Kenny Wallace in 2003 on the Cup circuit, has signed with the #23 Bill Davis BGN team and driver Scott Wimmer as the primary sponsor for half the 2003 season and the other half of the season they will be the secondary sponsor with a company called Stamina RX, which is a natural alternative to Viagra. Stacker 2 is coming out with a line of high protein, low carb protein bars and a meal replacement drink [like Slim Fast in a way] and plans are to use the BGN and CUP cars to promote both Stacker 2 diet aids and the new line.(11-4-2002)
  • Fukuyama back in 2003? Hideo Fukuyama says he will “definitely” be back next season on the Winston Cup tour, running a limited schedule of probably six or seven races at tracks like Las Vegas, California and Phoenix. He will be under the tutelage of a veteran driver who will also run the rest of the season for Travis Carter [#26 and #66] to keep the team up in the point standings. Who that driver/coach might be is still up in the air, though Wally Dallenbach Jr’s name has been raised. However Carter still has no word on what might happen with his primary team, the #26 Todd Bodine drives for.(Winston Salem Journal)(11-4-2002)
  • Pemberton says he is staying at the #77: Ryan Pemberton’s name keeps popping up in the crew chief rumor mill, but he says he plans to fulfill the final two years on his contract with the #77 Jasper Motorsports Ford driven by Dave Blaney. Though Pemberton was uncertain how the team’s engine alliance with Penske would change because of Penske’s switch to Dodge, he says “everyone will be stronger” by taking technology from both sides and applying it to the entire alliance.(Sporting News)(11-4-2002)
  • Berrier staying, Holly NOT moving: Richard Childress says he’s not going to release #30 crew chief Todd Berrier from the final two years of his contract, but Childress hasn’t said how he might reorganize his three-car team next season. There has been speculation that Harold Holley [#10 ppc team in the BGN], the BGN crew chief who worked well with Jeff Green, could take over the reins of Green’s Cup team next season.(Winston Salem Journal) BUT in the latest Winston Cup Scene there is a story about Holly who says he os NOT leaving ppc Racing and denies this rumor.(11-4-2002)
  • Andretti and Fittipaldi stuff: #43-John Andretti hasn’t signed a contract with Petty Enterprises for 2003, but Kyle Petty says: “He told me he was going to do our deal, so it’s just a matter of time.” Petty is optimistic about new driver Christian Fittipaldi, who will make his Winston Cup debut this weekend at Phoenix in the #44. Petty says Fittipaldi’s test times there last week were competitive with other teams’.(Sporting News)(11-4-2002)
  • Pay Per View Races? Will some Winston Cup races eventually go to pay-per-view? That’s what some worry following the announcement that Turner Sports’ TNT division plans to move some of its NASCAR programming to a new cable channel – TNT Plus. The new channel is part of TNT’s plan to raise rates 10 percent to cable companies that carry TNT. How many, if any, Winston Cup races TNT might move to its new upper-tier cable channel is unclear. And there are reports that TNT might black out Winston Cup coverage to cable companies that don’t accept the rate increase.(Winston Salem Journal), HOWEVER – last week NASCAR addressed the TNT situation: It looks like NASCAR is very confident that NASCAR fans won’t miss any programming on TNT in 2003. Paul Brooks, NASCAR VP of Broadcasting, tells us, “Turner has informed NASCAR that they are going through their normal cycle of negotiations with cable affiliates and they feel confident that these negotiations will result in renewed agreements and that NASCAR programming will not be affected. We look forward to giving NASCAR fans even more NASCAR programming in 2003”.(MotorsportsTV)(10-30/11-4-2002)
  • Woman Injured…but OK: How dangerous is the NASCAR garage? A woman had hair ripped from her scalp Saturday when her hair became caught in a rising truck lift-gate, according to NASCAR sources.(Winston Salem Journal) BUT it was mentioned during broadcasting of the race at Rockingham that the woman is OK.(11-4-2002)
  • TNT stuff: TNT’s Discover Pre-race Show, Best Feature: Dave Burns explains on a chalkboard how points are tallied and what the top three drivers in the points standings, Tony Stewart (1), Mark Martin (2) and Jimmie Johnson (3), need to do in the final three races of the season to win the Winston Cup Championship. Burns simplified the mathematics for Stewart saying that he needed only to finish ninth or better in the final three races.
    Feature on the effects of losing on drivers: Kurt Busch – “It eats and you and makes you think ‘maybe you I can’t do this?'”
    Rusty Wallace – “All of us envied Jeff Gordon when he was winning all those championships and making all that money. I was jealous of him for being young and making all that money. I told him that.”
    Bill Weber asking Rusty Wallace whether you can put too much pressure on your team. Rusty Wallace – “Absolutely. I have it to the point where they (his team) love me and hate me within five minutes.”
    Ryan Newman responding to whether or not you need to concentrate 100% of the time when you are racing – “You don’t have to, but if you don’t you’re going to crash.”
    Marty Snider interviewing Ward Burton, whose car was just knocked out of the race – “The 11 car (Brett Bodine) got into me. We were running like [crap] all day.”(TNT PR)(11-4-2002)

 


(11-3-2002)

 

  • Johnny Benson finally wins his first Cup race: In his 226th Winston Cup race, #10-Johnny Benson won his first Winston Cup race leading the last 28 laps to win the Pop Secret Microwave Popcorn 400 at North Carloina Speedway in Rockingham, NC. #6-Mark Martin ended up 2nd and led the most laps. Points leader #20-Tony Stewart who was mired a lap down early and was in the back of the pack most of the day, pulled out a 14th and maintains a points lead over Mark Martin of 87 points. The win puts Benson in the 2003 The Winston.
    Race Re-airs: The race will be re-aired on TNT, Tues, Nov 5th, 2:00am/et;Speed Channel on Wed, Nov 6th, 8:00pm/et (enhanced), Thurs, Nov 7th, 1:00am/et and 12:00noon/et.
    Results at ThatsRacin.com or NASCAR.com and see my rundown of the race with top 10, laps led, cautions and some notes at my Pop Secret Microwave Popcorn 400 Race Info page.(11-3-2002)
  • Nemechek to stay in the #25 in 2003? UPDATE 3: During the rain delay at Atlanta, owner Rick Hendrick said he has no plans to change the lineup on the #25 Chevy — and that was before driver Joe Nemechek finished second. Hendrick says the addition of crew chief Peter Sospenzo has brought new focus to the team.(Sporting News)(10-28-2002)
    UPDATE: Rick Hendrick gave Joe Nemechek a vote of approval to stay with his team next season. Since putting Peter Sospenzo in as crew chief, Nemechek’s team has come alive. Nemechek said that the new design of the cars he has been driving recently is key.(Winston Cup Journal)(10-29-2002)
    UPDATE 2: Hendrick Motorsports is working to keep driver Joe Nemechek in its #25 UAW/Delphi Automotive Chevy next season and the team and Nemechek have started discussions toward that goal. Nemechek, who has been driving for the team since Jerry Nadeau left in May, had been among the leading candidates for the job, but cemented his position with his runner-up finish last weekend at Atlanta – the team’s best of the season. Team officials on Friday would say only that no decision on a driver for the 2003 season had been made.(ThatsRacin.com)(11-1-2002)
    UPDATE 3: Car owner Rick Hendrick has offered Joe Nemechek an official contract to drive next season, according to team sources.(Winston Salem Journal)(11-3-2002)
  • Eury Jr to assume crew chief duties of the #8 UPDATE 2 this is getting confusing: during the rain delay of the NAPA 500 at Atlanta, NBC Pit Reporter said that Tony Eury Jr, driver Dale Earnhardt Jr’s cousin, would be the crew chief of the #8 Bud Chevy in 2003 with current crew chief Tony Eury Sr assuming a different role.(10-27-2002)
    UPDATE: The roles of crew chief Tony Eury Sr. and Tony Eury Jr. on Winston Cup driver Dale Earnhardt Jr.’s #8 Budweiser Chevy team are unlikely to change next season, said Ty Norris, executive vice president for motorsports at Dale Earnhardt Inc. Norris said for the past few months that Eury Jr. has been the person on the team with whom Earnhardt Jr. communicates about how the car is performing. Eury Sr.’s role is more of an “overseer,” making sure the organization runs smoothly. TV reports last weekend at Atlanta said Eury Jr. would take on the crew chief role in 2003, but Norris said a change in titles would be unlikely.(ThatsRacin.com)(11-1-2002)
    UPDATE 2: Dale Earnhardt Jr. will have a new crew chief next season, Tony Eury Jr., who has been his car chief the past three seasons. Tony Jr. is the son of Tony Sr., a veteran crew chief who has been something of a father figure for Earnhardt at the track. The Earnhardt-Eury roots go deep. For years Tony Sr. ran Dale Sr.’s Busch operation, and there has been talk within Dale Earnhardt Inc. about Tony Sr. returning to the Busch side of the operation. “Actually the change happened two months ago,” said Ty Norris, the team’s general manager. “It’s really just a re-definition of the roles, a clarification.”(Winston Salem Journal)(11-3-2002)
  • Some 2003 Rules stuff: On Friday NASCAR released a 15-page technical bulletin outlining the rules as they’ll apply to the cars that’ll compete in the 2003 season. Some of it: The highlight of the document is the two – three pages covering the specifics of the ignition system, its installation and wiring into the car. The key word in regards to the whole ignition system is visibility. Whether it be the wiring or the newly specified, removable mounting plate that will contain the ignition electronics, the MSD boxes and supporting hardware, the ignition boxes must be visible through the car’s side windows. The wires leading to the boxes must also be visible through the side windows. Wire gauges and the routing must provide an inch of give in each wire so that NASCAR inspectors can tug each wire to assure there is nothing illegal tied into the ignition system. The dashboard itself must have an access panel to allow NASCAR inspectors easy entry to areas under the dash to view any present wiring systems. The ignition boxes are to be “NASCAR approved” and are subject to any testing that NASCAR might deem necessary — including any destructive tests the sanctioning body might care to do as part of their post-race testing. Also included in the bulletin are a few new intake manifolds numbers, with Chevy getting two and Ford getting one. The new Ford part number is Edelbrock 2938. The new GM part carries Edlebrock number 2862 (replacing Edlebrock 2923) and GM number 889586217 (replacing GM 12370854). Each manufacturer has only five NASCAR approved intakes from which to choose. Another non-surprise was the standard body mounting location as referenced to the vertical centerline of the rear axle housing. This is standard for all makes and brands. All 2003 car makes will carry a 1.5-inch maximum kickout on the nose. All 2003 models will run a 6.25-inch x 55-inch rear spoiler. No angle was specified in a downforce configuration, but the working number for the speedway setting is 55 degrees. The rear spoilers of the 2001 and 2002 models were all reduced by a half-inch – regardless of make. Again, this pertains to the downforce configuration of the cars. One interesting item is that all approved carbon fiber seats must have a “unique imbedded electronic transponder identifier that matches records on file with NASCAR.” The transponder will help NASCAR track the composite seats, which can be compromised in a severe wreck but display no outward indication of lost integrity.(See much more at Ford Racing)(11-3-2002)
  • Templates for under the car? NASCAR officials have body templates for just about every part of the car except the bottom. And that may change next season: NASCAR is considering adding under-body templates to the pre-race inspection ritual, according to NASCAR sources. Under-car aerodynamics is one of the newest frontiers for Winston Cup engineers.(Winston Salem Journal)(11-3-2002)
  • Ten drivers with the wealthiest sponsors, according to a recent Wall Street Journal list of the world’s 100 largest public companies (sponsor’s rank in parentheses):
    — Mark Martin: Pfizer (No. 5 in the world)
    — Scott Riggs: Nestle, Busch Series (No. 24)
    — Ricky Rudd: ChevronTexaco (No. 30)
    — Dale Jarrett: UPS (No. 31)
    — Jeff Gordon: personal contract with Pepsi (No. 34)
    — Tony Stewart: Home Depot (No. 39)
    — Jeff Green: AOL Time Warner (No. 50)
    — Dale Earnhardt Jr.: Anheuser-Busch (No. 58)
    — Jeff Gordon: DuPont, team sponsor (No. 78)
    — Jimmie Johnson: Lowe’s (No. 90)
    Note: Coca Cola, with several drivers signed to personal contracts, is ranked No. 11; DaimlerChrysler, which backs the Dodge program, is ranked No. 86.(Daytona Beach News Journal)(11-3-2002)
  • Haas to buy Carter Out? Fukuyama in 2003? #26 [and #66] team owner Travis Carter’s will be sweating things out the next few weeks. Carter opened the season with two teams and Bodine partnered with Joe Nemechek. Then sponsor Kmart declared bankruptcy, and Carter was left high and dry. He struggled to keep one team afloat, finally getting a summer sponsorship from DiscoverCard. But now DiscoverCard has decided not to renew. And Carter’s backup plan, a Japanese financed venture with Hideo Fukuyama, may be slipping away into the void as well. He’s got a Monday- morning meeting with the Japanese businessmen willing to put the package together to find out which way they’ll go. Carter said he won’t play the game next season as he did this year, hanging in there on the hope of landing something. “Not me.” What about partner Carl Haas? There’s no word yet. Carter hinted that Haas, the wealthy businessman, might buy out Carter’s half of the team. Carter said he and Haas might run Bodine’s team on a partial schedule next season. “He’s trying to put together something to keep running the thing,” Carter said. “Carl could support the whole thing if he wanted to do that. And I think he’s thinking about it. But there’s a lot of difference between thinking about it and laying it out. And you’ve got to have at least $10 million to run one of these teams, to be even close, to be a middle-level team. This is an expensive business.” If Carter does hang on another season, who might drive his cars? “If Todd wants to drive and he’s still available, we’d probably use him. If he’s not, we’ll just go get somebody. The way I see it now, just go get somebody with a helmet and stick ’em in there.(in part from the Winston Salem Journal)(11-3-2002)
  • Lake Speed at Daytona UPDATE and wins: Located in the infield near Turn 4 at Daytona International Speedway, guests at the Brumos Continental Historics will find NASCAR Winston Cup Series veteran Lake Speed tooling around with his #83 Ford Thunderbird. Speed, who last competed in a Winston Cup car back in 1998, is visiting the “World of Center of Racing” this weekend to compete in a pair of Historic Stock Car Feature races. The 54-year-old Speed, a native of Jackson, Miss., who now resides in North Carolina, is retired from racing, but remains very active by spending time with his wife, children and grandchildren. He’s also involved in the real estate business and is currently the chairman of the board for Motor Racing Outreach. But Speed still misses the feeling of driving a race car. “Full-time basis now with 38 weekends, I don’t miss that part, but I really miss driving a car,” said Speed, who made 402 Winston Cup starts. “It’s been really hard. I started racing when I was 12 years old. I raced non-stop every season until halfway through 1998 when I got hurt. I haven’t been able to race since and that was tough. It was a big life change.” Earlier this year, one of Speed’s friends twisted his arm and convinced him to compete in one of the Historic Stock Car Racing Association events. That was the first time Speed has gotten behind the wheel since he drove his last Winston Cup race at Loudon, N.H., in 1998. Speed had so much fun that he decided to knock the dust off one of the stock cars he still owns and come to Daytona. He visited some Winston Cup auctions to pick up some equipment and another friend built him a motor. This weekend at Daytona, Speed won’t be competing on just the 2.5-mile tri-oval like he did during his Winston Cup career as the Historic Stock Car Feature races utilize the 3.56-mile road course. The Brumos Continental Historics continues this weekend. Tickets are available by calling the Speedway ticket office at (386) 253-7223.(DIS PR)(11-2-2002)
    UPDATE: Lake Speed, retired from NASCAR Winston Cup Series competition since 1998, drove into Victory Lane on Saturday at Daytona International Speedway as a winner in the Historic Stock Car Feature Race during the Brumos Continental Historics. Speed, driving the No. 83 Ford Thunderbird that he built, owned and raced in the early 1990s, couldn’t help but think about all the other victories that have escaped him at the “World Center of Racing” as he drove into Victory Lane after pulling off the dominating win. “This place has been really avoiding me for a long time,” said an emotional Speed holding back the tears. “There have been so many near-misses here where we thought we’re going to win races.” Speed, who finished second in the 1985 Daytona 500, had a little problem with the start of the eight-lap race, but then cruised to victory. Speed, who will get a chance on Sunday at 3:05 p.m. to sweep both Historic Stock Car Racing Association races at Daytona, says he might continue to compete in the series next season.(DIS PR)(11-3-2002)
  • South Carloina License Plates: Fans of NASCAR Winston Cup Series racing now have a new way of showing their support for their favorite drivers with the unveiling of the new NASCAR Special License Plates. The official “first look” at this custom automobile tag took place in a ceremony on the south steps of the State House on October 31. Darlington Raceway president Andrew Gurtis, along with state Rep. Denny Neilson, unveiled the plates. Neilson originally introduced the legislation which made the tags a reality, and which was approved last year. The first series of license plates features five drivers – Dale Earnhardt, Sr.; Dale Earnhardt, Jr.; Rusty Wallace; Jeff Gordon; and Jeff Burton – along with a plate devoted wholly to NASCAR. They are available now at SC DMV offices. In addition to giving race fans an opportunity to demonstrate their loyalty to their favorite sport and its drivers, the plates will also provide financial assistance to three special projects. Part of the proceeds from the sale of the plates will go to the Department of Social Services’ South Carolina Children’s Emergency Shelter Fund. In addition, part of the revenue will be used to promote highway safety through a NASCAR License Plate Highway Safety Fund, administered by the Department of Public Safety in conjunction with the Department of Transportation. Finally, part of the net revenue will be used by the South Carolina Department of Parks, Recreation and Tourism to promote the activities of the agency’s Sports Development Office.(Darlington Raceway PR)(11-3-2002)
  • DW hosts Tennessee rally with President Bush: At the request of the White House, three time Winston Cup champion Darrell Waltrip hosted a political rally Saturday Nov. 2 at the Tri Cities Airport in Bristol TN. Waltrip hosted the rally for Van Hilleary, the Tennessee Republican candidate for Governor and Tennessee Republican U.S. Senate candidate Lamar Alexander. Making a stop at the rally was President George W. Bush who spoke to the audience of over 10,000 people.(see more at whitehouse.gov(11-3-2002)

    (11-2-2002)

  • New feature on NASCAR.com: NASCAR.com announced that it will be offering an enhanced version of its’ TrackPass subscription product, TrackPass with Pit Command, to NASCAR fans free for the final three races of the Winston Cup season in Rockingham, NC (Nov. 3), Phoenix, AZ (Nov. 10) and Miami, FL (Nov.17). In addition, fans can purchase TrackPass with Pit Command for the entire 2003 season for just $50, or roughly 10 cents per covered event (practices, qualifying, Busch Series and Winston Cup races) in 2003. Both services, TrackPass and TrackPass with Pit Command, are available via NASCAR.com and RealNetworks, through its RealOne SuperPass service via www.realone.com. Along with exciting RaceCast features such as fanscan’s live in car-audio, video updates and live radio broadcasts, TrackPass with Pit Command offers fans a chance to customize their experience so they can track their favorite drivers and teams by following their rpms, throttle, time behind the leader, lap speeds, laps led, points and brake telemetry data in real time, five times per second through the black box telemetry provided from each of the 43 drivers’ cars. The Dashboard mode allows fans to choose any two drivers and watch readouts of their speeds, rpms, throttle position and brake position in real-time. Fans will now be able to follow as many or as few cars as they wish to during a Winston Cup race.(11-2-2002)
  • Martin back in the BGN in 2003: during TNT coverage of the Rockingham Cup qualifying, it was mentioned that Mark Martin, driver of the #6-Viagra Ford in the Cup series and 2nd in the Drivers Point, will drive five(5) BGN races in 2003. No details given, like what car or a sponsor or which races he will drive in. Martin is the all time wins leader in the Busch series.(11-2-2002)
  • Hornaday in the #83 at Phoenix: Ron Hornaday will pilot the #83 RacingUSA.com Chevy fielded by FitzBradshaw Racing in the Checker Auto Parts 500 at Phoenix International Raceway. Driver Kerry Earnhardt was originally slated to drive the car, but has chosen to put his Winston Cup attempts on hold for the remainder of the year, opting to focus on the rest of his Rookie season in the NASCAR Busch Series. Earnhardt’s attempt to drive the #83 RacingUSA.com Chevy in the EA Sports 500 at Talladega Superspeedway was interrupted by inclement weather that forced drivers to start the race by owner points. Talladega was FitzBradshaw’s first attempt in the Winston Cup Series and no owner points had been accumulated. While Hornaday will drive the #83 RacingUSA.com Chevy at Phoenix International Raceway, Earnhardt will drive the car next year in the Winston Open at Lowe’s Motor Speedway.(FitzBradshaw Racing PR)(11-2-2002)
  • Update on Beam: Mike Beam will be the crew chief of Cal Wells III’s #32-Ford through the end of this year. After the season Beam will step aside and turn over the lead wrench duties to Team Engineer Roy McCauley. Beam is looking for something a little easier on the travel schedule with Wells’ operation. The reports of Beam being a spotter for the team were twisted somewhat, in that Beam spotted for driver Ricky Craven last week, but it was because the team’s regular spotter couldn’t make the trip to Atlanta. Considering the speed associated with the track Beam did the job rather than risk Craven’s safety on a beginner in the spotters stand.(Ford Racing)(11-2-2002)
  • #2 Crewman Injured: Earl Barban, mechanic and chief spotter for Rusty Wallace, was involved in a motorcycle accident while en route to the speedway last night. According to Barban, he sustained three broken ribs, a punctured lung, lacerated spleen and various cuts and bruises. He was reached in his hospital room Friday afternoon and updated his condition. Barban is expected to remain in the hospital until at least Saturday evening.(Ford Racing)(11-2-2002)
  • Yates talks to Baldwin: Robert Yates said Friday he’s talked to Tommy Baldwin about replacing Michael McSwain as crew cheif on the #28 (to be the #38 in 2003), but that there are other candidates in the mix, too.(ThatsRacin.com)
    AND For the rest of the year it [crew chief of the #28] will be veteran Raymond Fox, who has been chassis man for Yates for years. One crewman under consideration is Peter Sospenzo, according to team sources. Sospenzo is the crew chief for Joe Nemechek at #25 Rick Hendrick’s operation. Tommy Baldwin is another possibility. “We have talked with Tommy Baldwin,” Yates said. “We have a few issues to work out, if it were to be Tommy. And there are some other opportunities for us to look at too. That’s the good part.”(Winston Salem Journal)(11-2-2002)


    (11-1-2002)

  • Nemechek to stay in the #25 in 2003? UPDATE 2: During the rain delay at Atlanta, owner Rick Hendrick said he has no plans to change the lineup on the #25 Chevy — and that was before driver Joe Nemechek finished second. Hendrick says the addition of crew chief Peter Sospenzo has brought new focus to the team.(Sporting News)(10-28-2002)
    UPDATE: Rick Hendrick gave Joe Nemechek a vote of approval to stay with his team next season. Since putting Peter Sospenzo in as crew chief, Nemechek’s team has come alive. Nemechek said that the new design of the cars he has been driving recently is key.(Winston Cup Journal)(10-29-2002)
    UPDATE 2: Hendrick Motorsports is working to keep driver Joe Nemechek in its #25 UAW/Delphi Automotive Chevy next season and the team and Nemechek have started discussions toward that goal. Nemechek, who has been driving for the team since Jerry Nadeau left in May, had been among the leading candidates for the job, but cemented his position with his runner-up finish last weekend at Atlanta – the team’s best of the season. Team officials on Friday would say only that no decision on a driver for the 2003 season had been made.(ThatsRacin.com)(11-1-2002)
  • Eury Jr to assume crew chief duties of the #8 UPDATE: during the rain delay of the NAPA 500 at Atlanta, NBC Pit Reporter said that Tony Eury Jr, driver Dale Earnhardt Jr’s cousin, would be the crew chief of the #8 Bud Chevy in 2003 with current crew chief Tony Eury Sr assuming a different role.(10-27-2002)
    UPDATE: The roles of crew chief Tony Eury Sr. and Tony Eury Jr. on Winston Cup driver Dale Earnhardt Jr.’s #8 Budweiser Chevy team are unlikely to change next season, said Ty Norris, executive vice president for motorsports at Dale Earnhardt Inc. Norris said for the past few months that Eury Jr. has been the person on the team with whom Earnhardt Jr. communicates about how the car is performing. Eury Sr.’s role is more of an “overseer,” making sure the organization runs smoothly. TV reports last weekend at Atlanta said Eury Jr. would take on the crew chief role in 2003, but Norris said a change in titles would be unlikely.(ThatsRacin.com)(11-1-2002)
  • Stewart and DNF’s: #20-Tony Stewart started the season with a last-place finish, his first of six DNFs (Did Not Finish), in February at the Daytona 500. No other driver in the top 10 in points has as many DNFs as Stewart, and no driver has won the championship with that many DNFs since Darrell Waltrip had eight, but won 12 races, in 1982. By contrast, Bobby Labonte, Stewart’s teammate, finished every race — every lap but nine — when he won the championship in 2000.(Sporting News)(11-1-2002)