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September 2002 News Archives


 

  • (9-30-2002)

  • Nice Gesture by Ward: Six-year-old Dusty Duncan went out Friday night to get Ward Burton’s autograph. What he may have gotten in addition to the autograph was a new shot at life. Dusty suffers from a cleft palate. It’s a condition that doesn’t threaten his life, but because of the way it affects his personal appearance, it does threaten his self-esteem. Especially for a 6-year-old. When Burton’s helicopter landed at the Grandview autograph session, he immediately noticed Dusty. Sonja Duncan, Dusty’s mother, said of Burton: “He looked two or three times at Dusty. All Dusty could say was, `That’s Ward Burton.’ ” Dusty stood in line with his mother and father, Billy Duncan, and got his autograph. Afterward, as they were entering a nearby store, a security guard stopped them. The guard said that Burton wanted their name, Dusty’s age and a phone number. They complied. Shortly after, the guard returned and said Burton wanted to talk to them after the autograph session was over. The Duncan family was ushered into a room at the store where they met Burton. They talked. Then Burton pulled Billy Duncan aside. “He asked what was wrong with Dusty,” Sonja Duncan said. “He asked if it could be fixed and then he offered to pay for it. I was shocked,” she said. Burton said Sunday: “I’m going to help him. I’m going to help with some funds.” Burton said something about the boy just touched him. “I got kind of emotional when I saw him,” Burton said, becoming emotional again. “I’m a sucker when it comes to children.” Burton said he was impressed with the boy’s attitude and said it was very evident he had the love of his mother and father. Dusty has already had eight surgeries in unsuccessful attempts to correct the problem. Dusty’s sister, Angie, also was born with a cleft palate. Hers was successfully dealt with by two surgeries. Rita Ferguson, a friend of the Duncan family who was with them at the autograph session, said the Duncans “are not in position to take Dusty to a specialist.” She also said that Dusty is at the age where he’s been hearing about his appearance from friends. The Duncans said Burton told them he would be in touch early this week to work out the details of getting Dusty’s life turned around. “I can’t help everybody,” Burton said. “This was something that just touched me.”(Kansas City Star)(9-30-2002)
  • Testing at Atlanta: At least three NASCAR Winston Cup drivers and teams are expected to participate in a test session Tuesday and Wednesday at Atlanta Motor Speedway in preparation for the Oct. 27 NEW NAPA 500. #9-Bill Elliott, #41-Jimmy Spencer and #27-Scott Wimmer are the drivers expected to be on hand.(AMS PR)(9-30-2002)
  • First back to back for Hendrick in….6 years: Jeff Gordon’s win at Kansas marked the first time since 1996 that two different drivers have won back-to-back races for Hendrick Motorsports when Gordon and Terry Labonte scored victories at North Wilkesboro [in the track’s last race] and Charlotte [Lowe’s Motor Speedway].(Gordonline)(9-30-2002)
  • McMurray to make Cup debut at Talladega UPDATE in a Melling car? Wingo crew chief in 2003? BGN [#27 Brewco] driver Jamie McMurray is expected to make his Winston Cup debut in a third Chip Ganassi Racing entry next weekend at Talladega. McMurray is expected to drive the #42 Dodge as a teammate to Ganassi drivers #41-Jimmy Spencer and #40-Sterling Marlin. Earlier this month the team announced McMurray would join the organization in Winston Cup full time next season. Other Cup races are being considered for McMurrary this season, including Phoenix, Homestead and possibly Atlanta, sources said.(ThatsRacin.com)(9-27-2002)
    UPDATE: hearing that McMurray will be in the #92 Melling Dodge with Ganassi support? AND Jamie McMurray, who signed on as the third driver for car owner Chip Ganassi, will have a potent Dodge to drive in his Winston Cup debut at Talladega this week. McMurray’s #42 Dodge will be the same car that Stacy Compton put on the pole for both Talladega races last year when he was driving for Melling Racing.(Atlanta Journal ConstitutionAND Jamie McMurray says he’s excited about making his Winston Cup debut at Talladega. McMurray, 26, who announced at Richmond that he will drive for Chip Ganassi next year, will drive the #42 Dodge with Melling Racing’s Dean Johnson as crew chief. A full-time crew chief hasn’t been selected for McMurray’s 2003 season, but Donnie Wingo has been mentioned as a possible candidate.(Sporting News)(9-30-2002)
  • Congrats…speaking of Melling: Brendan Shove Melling arrived at 5:45pm on Sunday, September 29, 2002. 9 pounds 3 ounces….21 inches….and a full head of hair. Mother LeAnne doing fine, Mark Melling is the owner of the #92 Melling Racing Cup team.(9-30-2002)
  • Andretti back to the #43 in 2003? confirmed…sort of: while watching the race coverage at Kansas on NBC, it was mentioned that John Andretti had agreed to drive the #43 Dodge in 2003, just need the signed contract to make it official.(9-30-2002)
  • Spencer says he is staying at Ganassi: during Sunday Morning’s NASCAR Today show on Fox Sports Net, Jimmy Spencer was asked about his status: Steve Waid: What’s the status between you and Chip Ganassi? Will you be part of the three-car team next year? Jimmy Spencer, No. 41 Dodge: I went to him about two weeks ago and asked him, “What about all these rumors?” And I had some ride offers, and these other car owners wanted to know what I was going to do. I said, “I need to know.” And he says, “Man, you ain’t going nowhere. I like what’s going on.”(FoxSports – NASCAR This Morning)(9-30-2002)
  • PPI signs plate engine deal with Childress: #32 team owner Cal Wells III said the in-house engine program he had announced several weeks ago for his PPI Motorsports team was still coming together well, he did have one piece of the puzzle in place. “We’re real pleased to have been able to do an agreement with Richard Childress for the restrictor plate engines for next year, starting with the Daytona 500,” Wells said. “We’re going to be able to focus on our higher-powered stuff — all our open motors — without having to worry about the science of restrictor plate racing next year.” PPI will have plenty on its plate, considering they will switch from Fords to Pontiacs next season for driver Ricky Craven. “We’ll look at doing our own restrictor plate engines in the fall of ’03 looking to ’04. We’ve got some personnel lined up and we’re actually going to start at Rockingham,” Wells said. “We’re lining it all up (a chief engine builder), but we’re not there (ready to announce it) yet.” While he said Robert Yates Racing’s engine department would not build GM engines next season, he did not discount the possibility that his program might be similar to the one employed by Petty Enterprises, which this season employed former Yates engine builder Mike Ege to do its Dodge engines.(NASCAR.com)(9-30-2002)
  • Gordon F1 exhibition. maybe next year: A BMW spokesman said an exhibition switch of cars between F1’s Juan Montoya and NASCAR’s Jeff Gordon is being planned for sometime next year at Indianapolis. Scheduling conflicts prevented the switch this year.(ESPN/AP)(9-30-2002)
  • What Ford model in 2004? On the Ford side, the question is what model Detroit executives will chose to push on the NASCAR tour in the 2004 season, when the Taurus is due for a remake. But Ford is also set to come out with a new, slightly larger mid-size model, currently named the Ford 500 (click to see image of car), which could become the NASCAR nameplate model.(Winston Salem Journal)(9-30-2002)
  • Toyota and NASCAR..in 2004? Toyota officials are working hard to put together a full NASCAR package for the 2004 season and are trying to sign a top-name team to be the company’s flagship operation. Among the teams being linked by unofficial reports to Toyota are Dale Earnhardt Inc., Bill Davis Racing and Penske South. Penske is the most logical pick, since Roger Penske is one of the country’s largest Toyota dealers, but Penske is widely expected to announce a switch from Ford to Dodge within the next few weeks. Toyota executives have been talking with NASCAR officials about getting into this sport, and NASCAR officials have said that they would like to see a factory Toyota Truck running next February at Daytona. That time frame, however, may be too short. It took Dodge more than a year to set up its Winston Cup program after spending five years learning the NASCAR ropes on the Truck tour. So most people in the Winston Cup garage are expecting to see a Toyota Truck at Daytona in the spring of 2004. The big question is, will Toyota also have a Winston Cup program in place by then, and with whom? Toyota is expected to sidestep the BGN [as Dodge did] until it establishes itself in the other two series. Mike Brown, general manager for Bill Davis, says reports that the team is looking at a Toyota Truck program are considerably overblown, that the High Point team is simply providing some guidance for another unnamed operation. Toyota will have to create a 350 V-8 engine to NASCAR specs.(Winston Salem Journal)(9-30-2002)

 


(9-29-2002)

 

  • Jeff Gordon wins the Protection 400 at Kansas #24-Jeff Gordon is the only Cup driver ever to win a Cup race at Kansas Speedway, leading the most laps, it is Gordon’s 61st career Cup win. #12-Ryan Newman ended up 2nd with #2-Rusty Wallace 3rd, #25-Joe Nemechek (his first top five of the year and since winning at Rockingham last November. #9-Bill Elliott finsihed 5th. rookie #48-Jimmie Johnson now leads the drivers points, first time ever a rookie has led:
    Results: at ThatsRacin.com or NASCAR.com and a race rundown with cautions and notes on my Protection One 400 Race Info page.(9-29-2002)
  • Drivers may be tested after wrecking: NASCAR is taking steps to keep drivers with concussions off the track, after Dale Earnhardt Jr. revealed he drove in several races while unable to fully concentrate or communicate with his crew chief. From now on, NASCAR president Mike Helton said Sunday, doctors at infield care centers may require a driver to undergo a CT scan if they suspect the driver has a concussion. If the CT scan reveals a concussion, Helton said, a driver will not be allowed to compete until he obtains a medical release. CART, the Indy Racing League and the NFL have similar policies already in place.(ESPN/AP)(9-29-2002)
  • Truck TV Coverage to move to Speed Channel? UPDATE Official: NASCAR is moving its truck racing series to the Speed Channel from ESPN, leaving the sports network without a NASCAR connection for the first time since 1979, according to motorsports sources. NASCAR and Fox-owned Speed reached an agreement this week. NASCAR and ESPN still are working on exit details that would allow the switch to take place beginning next season. ESPN’s contract to carry the truck series was scheduled to run through 2003, but the two sides likely will agree to terminate early to avoid the “lame duck” scenario they ran into when NASCAR shifted its Winston Cup and Busch series to Fox, NBC and Turner. ESPN carried Winston Cup and Busch racing in 2000, but NASCAR felt it promoted less than it had in previous years because such promotions no longer offered a long-range benefits. A NASCAR spokeswoman refused to comment, saying “it would be inappropriate to make any announcement at this time.”(Sports Business Journal need sub to read)(9-20-2002)
    UPDATE: Beginning next season, Speed Channel will televise all CTS races live, including prerace and postrace shows, NASCAR officials announced Sunday. ESPN has been home to the series since its inception in 1995. “To first know that every race is going to be live, to have a consistent start time every weekend and to be able to promote the Truck series – that collective momentum is important,” said Paul Brooks, NASCAR’s vice president for broadcasting. “It’s a good opportunity for the Speed Channel, as it grows, to be able to have a live NASCAR product. For us, it seems like a win-win situation.” Since Fox owns Speed Channel, Brooks said there will be several opportunities to promote Truck series races during Fox’s Cup and BGN broadcasts. ESPN will conclude its run with the series with the season finale Nov. 15 at Homestead-Miami Speedway. Speed Channel, formerly Speedvision, is the first 24-hour cable network devoted exclusively to motorsports. It is now in 58.5 million homes in the United States and Canada.(ThatsRacin.com)(9-29-2002)
  • Hendrick to debut at Rockingham UPDATE: During an interview on Speed Channel’s NASCAR Victory Lane on Sunday night, Hendrick Motorsports CEO Rick Hendrick said that his son, Ricky, would drive a fifth Hendrick Motorsports entry in the Winston Cup race at Rockingham on November 3rd. Ricky Hendrick, 22, is currently in his first full season in the BGN after two years in the CTS.(Gordonline)(9-23-2002)
    UPDATE: Ricky Hendrick, son of Hendrick Motorsports owner Rick Hendrick, will test a Winston Cup car at North Carolina Speedway in Rockingham,N.C., in preparation for his series debut at the track later this season. Ricky Hendrick will be joined at the test by four-time Winston Cup champion Jeff Gordon. “I’m looking forward to giving him some horsepower under the rear wheels,” Gordon said. “The Busch cars have less horsepower, so I’m interested to see how he’ll do with all that horsepower. I think it’ll be fun and exciting for him.” Asked if Hendrick was going to jump in his car, Gordon replied: “That’s what he thinks. I don’t know what they’ve planned.”(ThatsRacin.com)(9-29-2002)
  • Evernham looking for improvement in the #7 team: Ray Evernham, co-owner of the Ultra/Evernham Motorsports’ #7 Sirius Satellite Dodge with driver Casey Atwood, said Saturday the team will need to improve its performance over the final eight races of the season or more changes will need to be made, perhaps even the driver. “I’ve tried everything I can try. Obviously, we’re not performing,” Evernham said. “We have sponsor pressures again. (Co-owner) Jim Smith and I have spent a lot of money. I know our engines aren’t the greatest but our other cars are running decent with them. I can’t put my finger on it. At some point in the race, (the car) always going as fast as everybody else’s but by then it’s too late.” Atwood, 21, is 33rd in series points with no top-10 finishes this season. His best finish was 11th at the June race at Pocono. Since then, he has finished in the top-20 on two occasions, most recently 18th at Bristol, Tenn., last month. “Casey is aware we need to pick the performance up. Casey is aware that the goal is for him to improve and be in Winston Cup and possibly come back (to Evernham’s teams) when Bill (Elliott) decides to retire,” Evernham said. “But he is also under the understanding that he has to perform.” Atwood’s performance has fueled speculation he may return to the BGN, perhaps even his former team Brewco Motorsports, which is still searching for a driver next season. Evernham said he and Smith plan to watch Atwood’s performance closely. “We need to pick the performance up on that car and if it does, than our plans stay the same as they were,” Evernham said. “I don’t have an alternate plan ready, I’m still waiting for that program to take off.”(ThatsRacin.com)(9-29-2002)
  • Toby Keith on the #40 UPDATE 2 cancelled?: #40-Sterling Marlin will run a Toby Keith (country singer) paint scheme at Phoenix.(7-31-2002)
    UPDATE: hearing this program and scheme have been cancelled.(9-27-2002)
    However this month’s RCCA mag from Action has an inage of the diecast and says it will run at Phoenix but their website says it has been cancelled.(9-29-2002)
  • #29 Crew Chief to miss Kansas: Gil Martin, crew chief for Kevin Harvick’s #29 GM Goodwrench Chevy, returned to his home in Concord, N.C., Saturday after being diagnosed with acute bronchitis. Martin has been fighting the condition all week. Harvick, car owner Richard Childress and car chief Scott Naset will assist in calling the race in Martin’s absence. Martin is expected back for next Sunday’s race at Talladega.(ThatsRacin.com)(9-29-2002)

    (9-28-2002)

  • Stewart Apologizes to Photographer: Photographer Gary Mook, who was freelancing for the Indianapolis Star during the Brickyard 400 at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway in August, told the newspaper Friday that he met with the driver at a suburban Kansas City restaurant on Thursday. Mook said Stewart, a Columbus, Ind., native, told him his “emotional cup was full” when Mook stepped into his path while shooting a picture. Stewart said he shoved Mook, who lives in Kansas City, out of frustration over another disappointing finish to the prestigious race. He apologized and told of his regular visits to a sports psychologist. “He said he believed it happened for a reason, that he was glad it happened and that it has changed his life,” Mook said of Stewart. Asked if he felt Stewart, 31, was sincere, Mook said: “Absolutely.” Stewart could not be reached for comment and Mook said he photographed him Friday at Kansas Speedway without incident.(Indianapolis Star)(9-28-2002)
  • Buckshot to race at Atlanta: Buckshot Jones will test a Chevrolet owned by Michael Waltrip on Tuesday and Wednesday at Atlanta Motor Speedway in preparation for the Oct. 27 NAPA 500. Jones said the sponsorship deal he has is for one race, but there could be others added to the schedule if adequate funds can be secured. “Until you get the sponsorship, you can’t do anything,” Jones said. He said he feels comfortable returning to the circuit in Waltrip’s car. “I know Michael and I know he’s got good equipment,” Jones said. “And He’s capable of doing what I want to do.” Since leaving the Petty Enterprises #44 Dodge after the Martinsville race, Jones has spent his time trying to work out a deal to continue racing. He’s also trying to build a career as a land developer, but his desire to race is foremost at this point. In addition to driving the #15 NAPA Chevy, Waltrip has fielded Winston Cup cars this season for Kenny Wallace [#98 Aaron’s at Talladega] and Jerry Nadeau [#00 Aaron’s at Chicago].(Atlanta Journal-Constitution)(9-28-2002)
  • A Proposal at Kansas: Michael Reed of Kansas City got down on one knee, air gun in hand, at the Richard Petty tire-change challenge at Kansas Speedway. His girlfriend, Kimberly Oliver, was by his side. He started working on the tire and then suddenly dropped the gun. He turned to Kimberly, still kneeling, and popped the question.(what did she say? see the full story at the : Kansas City Star)(9-28-2002)
  • Evernham and F1: NASCAR team owner [#9 and #19, part owner #7] Ray Evernham wants an exchange of information with his Formula One counterparts. “I’m a fan of the technology, the cars and the speed, the way they do things,” said Evernham, who owns the Dodge that Bill Elliott drove to victory in the Brickyard 400 last month. “Hopefully, we’ll make our Winston Cup team better.” Evernham visited the track [Indy where F1 is running thie weekend] Friday and met with McLaren-Mercedes about the possibility of sharing some of the technology. “We’re going to invite them down,” he said. “They look at us and understand that we’re really, really pressed on rules. So they look at a high level of technology in a different arena. As we start to exchange information, there are things they can learn from us.”(Daytona Beach News Journal/AP), also it was reported on Speed Channel’s Trackside [great show] that Rick Hendrick was also at Indy for the F1 race and talking to some F1 teams.(9-28-2002)
  • Stoddard and Fukuyama? UPDATE: Crew chief Frankie Stoddard says he’d be willing to take on the challenge of helping car owner Travis Carter run Hideo Fukuyama’s team next season if the Japanese star puts together the sponsorship package he’s been working on for a planned Winston Cup venture.(Winston Salem Journal)(9-23-2002)
    UPDATE: Frankie Stoddard, the displace crew chief from the #99 team, was visiting Travis Carter’s Statesville, N.C., operation earlier this week. While no specifics were outlined, it was suggested that perhaps Stoddard could be a possibility to wrench Hideo Fukuyama’s Ford for 2003. Fukuyama, who tested Carter’s Ford at Rockingham, N.C., on Tuesday and Wednesday, apparently has a tidy sponsorship package behind him; and there could be an announcement on that front in the near future. Carter’s chances at having two full sponsorships for next year are looking better with each passing week as Discover Card Services personnel are making all the right noises as far as continuing their sponsorship of the #26 Todd Bodine driven Ford. It’ll be a few days before Carter knows for sure, but at least the hope is alive; and doing very well.(Ford Racing)(9-28-2002)
  • #60 to name 2003 sponsor at AMS: Jack Sprague will announce a sponsor for his #60 Winston Cup team, owned by Gene Haas, at next month’s NAPA 500 at Atlanta Motor Speedway. Sprague will receive technical assistance as well as cars (Chevy’s or Pontiac’s?) and engines from the Hendrick operation next season.(NASCAR.com Buzz)(9-28-2002)
  • NASCAR History: For the first time in NASCAR’s half a century existence a race will be absent of the famous words, “Gentlemen, start your Engines.” Instead the race will be started in American Sign Language at the Raybestos Brakes Northwest Series, NASCAR Touring Northwest Racing Enterprises 150 on September 28 in Wenatchee, Wash. Through the overwhelming support of the racing community both in the Northwestern and the Southwestern United States 12 year-old Peter-John, profoundly deaf and legally blind will be signing the start engine command. “I think it is a thrill not only for the track, the fans and the teams, but also all the handicapped fans that will be represented by Peter-John”, said an enthusiastic Melinda Moulaison, owner of Northwest Racing Enterprises. “He will not only start the race, but he will be honored at the closing of the race when he stands with Kevin Hamlin [no not the #31 crew chief] and the race winner in victory circle.” The chase for the championship may be virtually locked up, with racer Kevin Hamlin simply needing to start the event to win.(Racing West and NASCAR.com)(9-28-2002)

    (9-27-2002)

  • New #1 Crew Chief soon? UPDATE Gibson named for 2003: Dale Earnhardt Inc. may announce a new crew chief for driver #1 Steve Park this week. It’s believed the company went outside of DEI and offered a contract to Tony Gibson, who has been serving as the unofficial car chief for Jeff Gordon and the #24 Chevrolet. Word is that DEI has offered a contract to Gibson, but he’s already under contract with Rick Hendrick Motorsports. Upon giving his resignation, the dilemma is whether Hendrick will be willing to let Gibson leave before the end of the year or make him fulfill his contractual commitment until the end of the season to Hendrick.(NASCAR.com Buzz)(9-24-2002)
    UPDATE: Dale Earnhardt Inc. on Friday named Tony Gibson, currently car chief for Winston Cup driver Jeff Gordon’s team, as the new crew chief for driver Steve Park beginning in 2003. Gibson, 37, has been a part of three Winston Cup championships, with the late Alan Kulwicki and Gordon (twice). Before being named as car chief, he worked as lead mechanic on Gordon’s team. “I am really fortunate to have worked with Jeff Gordon and everybody at Hendrick Motorsports over the past five years,” Gibson said. “I have always been a part of championship-caliber organizations, and this move gives me an opportunity to pursue a Winston Cup championship as a crew chief. I feel confident that the resources at Dale Earnhardt Inc. and the experience I can bring will help Steve Park and DEI win races. From there, our focus will be on winning championships.” DEI officials Steve Hmiel and Dave Charpentier will continue to serve as Park’s crew chief for the remainder of this season.(ThatsRacin.com)(9-27-2002)
  • McMurray to make Cup debut at Talladega: BGN [#27 Brewco] driver Jamie McMurray is expected to make his Winston Cup debut in a third Chip Ganassi Racing entry next weekend at Talladega. McMurray is expected to drive the #42 Dodge as a teammate to Ganassi drivers #41-Jimmy Spencer and #40-Sterling Marlin. Earlier this month the team announced McMurray would join the organization in Winston Cup full time next season. Other Cup races are being considered for McMurrary this season, including Phoenix, Homestead and possibly Atlanta, sources said.(ThatsRacin.com)(9-27-2002)
  • NASCAR Finances said to be Sound: Moody’s Investor Services says NASCAR trails only the National Football League amoung U.S. sports in terms of financial strength, according to a variety of reports today. The Philadelphia Daily News and several reports cited by the Sports Business Daily say the assessment shows up in a 12-page report issued by Moody’s yesterday. Moody’s ranked the NFL highly because teams share most revenue equally and the league makes teams fund deferred compensation in advance. NASCAR finished second in the study, followed by the NBA, MLB and the NHL. NASCAR was cited for its revenue sharing and attendance growth. Moody’s also said that corporate sponsorship is on the rise, contributing more than $1.5 billion to the sport annually.(Winston Cup Scene Daily Newsletter)(9-27-2002)
  • Park to run a BGN car in 2003? hearing Steve Park will run a Teresa/Dale Earnhardt Jr owned #8 Maxwell House Chevy at Las Vegas for the 2003 BGN race there and will run another BGN race in a yet un-named sponsored #8.(9-27-2002)
  • Evernham, Elliott, Mayfield and Atwood in NJ..for fun: It was private playtime for Cup team owner Ray Evernham and his Cup drivers on Thursday [Sept 19th] at New Egypt Speedway, as Evernham, Bill Elliott, Jeremy Mayfield and Casey Atwood spent the day at the central Jersey half-mile, getting down ‘n dirty at a specially scheduled Billy Pauch Driving School. “These guys are under a lot of pressure to perform weekly on the Winston Cup circuit and they need a chance to kick back and have some fun,” Evernham said of the decision to treat his team racers to a day of driving dirt cars. “I tried to think of something to do for their birthdays, but none of us are golfin’ or fishin’ kind of guys. This is what they love to do,” Evernham concluded, gesturing toward the arsenal of dirt-track equipment Pauch amassed for the occasion. Evernham’s group, which was flown into a private airport in Toms River early in the morning, arrived at the speedway to find enough playtoys to make even the most diehard driver drool, from Sprint cars, to Late Models, to Modifieds and more. Pauch, the two-time New Egypt Speedway Modified champ from Frenchtown, NJ, initially gave his celebrity students a tour of the track, showing them the best line to run in his two-seater Late Model school car. Once acclimated, first Elliott, then Mayfield, Atwood and Evernham took turns racing a pair of Pauch’s 358 CID school Sprinters, one a Maxim, the other a Gambler chassis. Evernham was a former regular at Wall Stadium’s paved track and the old New Egypt asphalt quarter-mile in the 1970s and ’80s, Ray has a single 1976 Modern Stock victory at New Egypt in the record books; he also raced to numerous top finishes driving Ruth and Jim Bauma’s pavement Modifieds. At Evernham’s invitation, the Baumas visited their famous ex-driver during the unpublicized closed-gate school session on Thursday.(Philly News)(9-27-2002)
  • #55 Crew Chief Suspended a Week UPDATE: NASCAR officials announced today that NASCAR Winston Cup Series crew chief Jimmy Elledge has received a one-week suspension due to a probation violation. Elledge’s suspension will be effective immediately, which will force him to miss Sunday’s Cup race at Kansas Speedway. In addition to the suspension, which ends Oct. 2, Elledge was fined $5,000 for unapproved air directional devices that were found last Friday during pre-qualifying inspection at Dover International Speedway. Elledge, crew chief for the #55 Chevrolet, was fined and placed on probation Aug. 27 following the race at Michigan International Speedway for unapproved fuel cell spacers. His probation continues until Dec. 21. “We felt this was the necessary action to take, considering he was already on probation,” said NASCAR Winston Cup Series Director John Darby. Elledge was penalized under Section 12-4-Q in the NASCAR Winston Cup Series rule book: “Any determination by NASCAR Officials that parts and/or equipment used in the Event do not conform to NASCAR rules.”(NASCAR PR)(9-25-2002)
    UPDATE: team owner, Andy Petree, will assume the crew chief duries this week at Kansas for Greg Biffle.(9-27-2002)
  • Hamilton Cleared for Lowe’s race UPDATE: Bobby Hamilton said he will return to racing Oct. 13 at Charlotte. He has been sidelined by injury since Sept. 5. ”The Sports Medicine Group at University Medical Center have really done a great job helping me recover,” said Hamilton, who suffered a broken shoulder and broken wrist in a truck racing crash at Richmond, Va. ”They’ve cleared me to race at Charlotte.” Hamilton will begin testing next week.(Tennessean), it was reported Hamiton would not be back until Martinsville, see my #55 Team News and Links page for past news on the injury.(9-26-2002)
    UPDATE: Hamilton will test next week at Greenville-Pickens (SC) Speedway to see how the shoulder feels.(FSN’s Totally NASCAR)(9-27-2002)
  • Earnhardt Jr vs Elliott UPDATE: Word has it that the NASCAR Winston Cup Most Popular Driver Award voting has become a two-man race between Bill Elliott and Dale Earnhardt Jr. Elliott trailed in the early going in the voting, which is being held online at nascarpopulardriver.com. However, a surge in voting by fans has pushed Elliott into a near-tie with Earnhardt Jr. Nearly 2,000,000 votes are in, and voting continues until Nov. 17.(NASCAR.com Buzz)(9-25-2002)
    UPDATE: An award that began in 1956 has reached a milestone its founders never envisioned. Sitting just shy of two million total votes, the Grands! Biscuits NMPA NASCAR Most Popular Driver Award has now received more votes in six months than it has in the rest of its history combined. The highest vote total in any single year prior was 400,000 in 2001. In the meantime, 15-time award winner Bill Elliott has made a major jump in the balloting and the battle between him and Dale Earnhardt, Jr. is incredibly close. The two are in a virtual dead heat in the balloting. Jeff Gordon is a close third, followed by Tony Stewart, Mark Martin, Bobby Labonte, Michael Waltrip, Kyle Petty, Rusty Wallace and Kevin Harvick. NASCAR fans can continue to vote online once per day at www.nascarpopulardriver.com. Voting continues through Nov. 17. The Grands! Biscuits NMPA Most Popular Driver of the Year Award will be presented during the NASCAR Winston Cup Awards Banquet weekend in New York. Several fans have voted at www.nascarpopulardriver.com in record numbers since voting began March 4.(Williams Company PR)(9-27-2002)


    (9-26-2002)

  • Earnhardt Jr’s head injury UPDATE: A hard hit in an April accident left Dale Earnhardt Jr. with a severe concussion and a bad case of paranoia – if word got out that his head was bothering him, Earnhardt was certain it would ruin his career. “You just start back at zero,” Earnhardt said about publicizing his concussion. “People are going `Oh, he’s finished, he’ll never be the same.’ And every time you run bad it’s because of that reason, it’s because of your head. So I just didn’t say a thing.” Earnhardt was injured in a wreck at California Speedway when his car hit the wall at an estimated 130 mph, according to an on-board data recorder. He had the wind knocked out of him during the wreck and also hurt his ankle. But there was something else that just wasn’t right. Sometimes, it took him a second longer than everyone else to get a joke. Sometimes, his speech wasn’t smooth. Even worse, he sometimes couldn’t react fast enough on the race track. Knowing fellow driver Dale Jarrett had suffered his own share of concussions, Earnhardt went to him for advice in early May. Jarrett urged him to see a doctor, explaining that it took months to get over the concussion he suffered in an accident last September. “I realized it was early this year before I felt like I was completely over this concussion,” Jarrett said. “I wasn’t the same person. I was told that everything was going to be fine, and everything wasn’t fine.” But the way Earnhardt saw it, he had only one choice: Drive through it, because getting out of the #8 Chevrolet certainly wasn’t an option. As a teammate to Steve Park, Earnhardt knew all too well how easy it is for a driver to earn a negative reputation. By speaking up now, Earnhardt is offering an excuse for his disappointing season. Expected to contend for the championship, he instead sits in 14th place in the points with just one victory on the year. It would have been easy in May and June, when his Dale Earnhardt Inc. team was struggling, to offer his aching head as an excuse. But he didn’t because image is so important to the son of the late Dale Earnhardt – a tough guy who never complained and whose injuries were something that were dealt with on any day but race day. So Junior said he stayed quiet. Now that he’s feeling better and running well, he isn’t afraid to admit there was a problem. His contract with DEI is up at the end of the year. So far, he’s refused to sign the offer in front of him. At issue, Earnhardt said, is the amount of appearances the deal will require. With so many demands on his time, the 27-year-old wants some control over a hectic schedule that can keep him away from home for weeks at a time. “What I’m doing with this new contract is I’m going to drive your car for X amount of money and 40 appearances. What you do with those appearances, that’s your business,” he said. “That way, I can kind of corral it, because it’s not corralled, it’s not under control.”(see more at ThatsRacin.com/AP)(9-25-2002)
    UPDATE: NASCAR says it was unaware of Earnhardt’s head injury. “We rely on our drivers to be honest about their injuries and tell us what’s wrong with them,” says NASCAR vice president of communications Jim Hunter. “There were no visible effects, no visible signs that we could see” that Earnhardt had anything but an ankle injury after his accident.”(USA Today)(9-26-2002)
  • Long to the #59: Price Motorsports, Inc., NASCAR Winston Cup Series team based out of Raleigh, NC, announced a driver change for the remaining races of the 2002 season. Effective immediately, Carl Long will drive the #59 Dodge Intrepid. The move is expected to be a long-term commitment and will definitely continue through the 2002 campaign. Long will officially take over immediately. A test session at Lowe’s Motor Speedway has been scheduled for October 2. Price Motorsports, Inc. Crew Chief Mike Chance said: “We’re looking forward to working with Carl and having a great test session next week at Charlotte. We are committed to getting this operation headed in the right direction.” Price Motorsports, Inc., with Long as driver, still plans to hit several additional races in 2002. In addition to Lowe’s Motor Speedway, the team’s agenda includes races at Atlanta.(Price Motorsports PR), no word on what this mean with Long and the #51 Ware Motorsports team.(9-26-2002)
  • Schrader has a different Pedigree at Kansas: The #36 team and driver Ken Schrader will trade in its familiar “M&M’s” paint scheme this week for the Pedigree Dog Food [Yellow and Blue] colors. It is one of six races [Atlanta (Mar), Lowes (Winston, Coke 600), Indy, Kansas, Phoenix] this season that the Pedigree car will appear on track.(M&M Mars Motorsports), see images of the car on my Paint Scheme Gallery(9-26-2002)
  • Jarrett had concussion too, lost memory: Please excuse Dale Jarrett if he acts as if it is his first time on Kansas Speedway when Winston Cup cars take the green flag Sunday for the Protection One 400. Even though he qualified, practiced and raced at the Kansas City 1.5-mile oval in 2001, he remembers only a fleeting second before his #88 Ford hit the wall in Turn 1, 370 miles into the 400-mile race. “The only thing I do remember is that entrance into Turn 1 and getting tapped,” Jarrett said. “From that point, I don’t remember anything before the race started and I don’t remember anything after that until I was getting on the airplane to come back to North Carolina.” Jarrett was racing Bobby Labonte on Lap 247 when he got toether with the #18 Pontiac, Jarrett’s car veered violently into the wall of the then-new track, sending him to hospital with a severe concussion. “It was actually the first time I’ve had a concussion, especially one of this magnitude,” Jarrett said in a teleconference call. “It’ll be like my first time at Kansas City. I don’t remember the garage area. I know the shape of the racetrack just from knowing it’s a lot like Chicago, but from actually being on the track, I don’t remember any of that.”(Toronto Sun)(9-26-2002)
  • Dover TV Ratings: The Winston Cup race from Dover turned in a 4.0 cable rating (3.3 national household rating) on TNT, representing 3,497,000 households. It was the third highest rated show on cable for the week, behind the NFL on ESPN and a movie on Lifetime. Last year’s race was on NBC, so there is no accurate year-to-year comparison. The Busch race garnered a 1.4, up 27% from last year’s 1.1.(MotorsportsTV)(9-26-2002)
  • Kentucky Testing Wednesday: #48-Jimmie Johnson, #8-Dale Earnhardt, Jr., #31-Robby Gordon, #15-Michael Waltrip, #4-Mike Skinner, #1-Steve Park and #55-Greg Biffle capped a two week Cup test period at Kentucky Speedway that saw 16 series drivers, including five of the top 10 points leaders, prepare their machines for the season-ending eight-race run.(Kentucky Speedway PR)(9-26-2002)
  • NAPCM Pit Crew Of The Week #48: Awesome pit stops all day (13.54, 13.42, 13.51) helped take the #48 Lowe’s team from a 19th place starting position to Victory Lane. Congratulations #48 Lowe’s Crew on earning the title of this week’s NAPCM “Pit Crew Of The Week”, sponsored by Toxabsorb (www.toxabsorb.com), “21st Century Spill Magnet” and the “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 NAPCM member info available ONLY at the National Association Of Pit Crew Members website (www.napcm.com).(9-26-2002)

    (9-25-2002)

  • Bradshaw book decal on the #12 BGN car at Kansas: BGN team FitzBradshaw Racing co-owner, Terry Bradshaw, continues his publishing success with the release of his second book, Keep It Simple. The book is authored by Bradshaw with David Fisher. A decal of the Keep It Simple cover will be featured this Saturday, September 28, 2002 at the Mr. Goodcents 300 on the Supercuts #12 Chevrolet Monte Carlo driven by Kerry Earnhardt. In his New York Times bestseller It’s Only a Game, Bradshaw told tales of his upbringing on a farm in Louisiana, his school days and the less-than-illustrious start of his professional football career which began when he was the first overall pick of the 1970 draft.. In his follow-up book, Keep It Simple, Bradshaw zeroes in on the intriguing details of his life and reveals how, after a career as one of history’s greatest quarterbacks, he successfully re-channeled his passions and became an award-winning broadcaster and one of America’s most sought-after motivational speakers. Keep It Simple is a far more personal look at Bradshaw.. He focuses on the intriguing details of his life and recalls how, after a career as one of history’s greatest quarterbacks, he managed to redirect his passions and transform himself into an award-winning broadcaster and one of America’s most beloved motivational speakers. “Despite Terry’s incredibly busy schedule with FOX, publishing, his speaking engagements and all of his personal commitments, it is so inspirational to have his enthusiasm focused on the race team,” said FitzBradshaw co-owner Armando Fitz.. “His commitment to leading the team to a full season of Cup in 2004 remains one of his priorities.”
    Speaking candidly to the reader in Keep It Simple, Bradshaw openly reveals the important lessons that life has taught him, including:
    When something unpleasant happens in your life, remain positive, and do what you know how is best.
    Never stop believing in the possibility of true love.
    Hire competent people and allow them to do the job you hired them to do.
    Remember to treat the people working for you as you would like to be treated.
    Find time for those things that give you real pleasure in life.
    Let kids be kids; let them do the same things you did when you were growing up.
    Know that nobody in the world can ever replace you.
    Don’t waste your time fretting about yesterday; it’s done, it’s gone.
    Keep it simple, smile a lot, be nice to other people.
    (Fitz Bradshaw Racing PR), for more info, click on book title or see my Racing Bookstore page.(9-25-2002)
  • Junior Johnson news: Car racing legend Junior Johnson knows a bit about tough races, personal scandal and the White House. That makes him, perhaps, the perfect person to rebut Republican efforts to tie Erskine Bowles to former President Bill Clinton’s lack of popularity in the state. Johnson, once pardoned by Republican Ronald Reagan, is backing Bowles, the Democratic U.S. Senate candidate, in a television commercial. “I’m not going to let them run Erskine Bowles into the wall,” Johnson says in the ad. “They’re going after Erskine because he worked for Bill Clinton? Get off my bumper. Sure, Erskine worked in the White House. He served our country. But Erskine’s his own man. And he’s got North Carolina values. So cut out those attack ads ’cause you folks are headed in the wrong direction.”(Charlotte Observer)(9-25-2002)
  • Testing at Kentucky: A strong contingent of NASCAR Winston Cup Series machines will visit Kentucky Speedway this week to explore race set ups and test new drivers. Winston Cup pilots scheduled to test at Kentucky are #55-Greg Biffle, #8-Dale Earnhardt, Jr., #31-Robby Gordon, #48-Jimmie Johnson, #18-Bobby Labonte, #5-Terry Labonte, #25-Joe Nemechek, #1-Steve Park, #4-Mike Skinner, #2-Rusty Wallace, and #15-Michael Waltrip. Winston Cup testing began Monday, Sept. 23, and continues Wednesday, Sept. 25. Sessions are closed to media, but can be viewed from the area outside the speedway’s Turn 3 Fan Center.(Kentucky Speedway PR)(9-25-2002)
  • IRWIN Rough to Finish Award #4 Team: Persistence and quick reactions paid off for the #4 Kodak Team at Sunday’s MBNA All-American Heroes 400 at Dover Speedway. As a result of the team’s close call and solid effort in the pits, team crew chief Chris Carrier takes home this week’s IRWIN ‘Rough to the Finish’ Award. While running at the 13th position on lap 239, Mike Skinner pitted under green-flag conditions. After having bad luck over the past several races and qualifying 34th, it looked like the team was on it’s way to a good day. On that pit stop, jackman Tony Cardamone was struck by the #4 car as it entered the pit stall. Cardamone rolled across the hood of the Kodak Chevrolet, got up and continued to finish the pit stop. Cardamone was not injured. Skinner returned to action in 27th and finished the race in 19th place, two laps down.
    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)(9-25-2002)


    (9-24-2002)

  • News Expected on Stewart Today UPDATE: A grand jury is expected to decide today whether to indict driver Tony Stewart on assault charges. A West Virginia woman claims Stewart shoved her following a race at Bristol four weeks ago. Following an investigation by Sullivan County law enforcement officials, the case was presented to a grand jury. County district attorney Greeley Wells told the Roanoke Times that if the grand jury does not return an indictment against Stewart he will consider the matter closed. The woman, however, could still seek civil damages. If the grand jury returns an indictment on the Class B misdemeanor, Stewart, who is in contention for the Winston Cup championship, could face up to six months in jail if convicted. Stewart is already on NASCAR probation for assaulting a photographer in August. Officials will not comment on what action, if any, will be taken against Stewart should he be convicted of assaulting the spectator. Stewart confessed to striking the photographer but denied he shoved the fan, even though a sheriff’s deputy said he witnessed the incident.(Tennessean)(9-24-2002)
    UPDATE: A grand jury on Tuesday took no action regarding an misdemeanor assault charge levied against Winston Cup driver Tony Stewart, effectively ending the case. The grand jury was presented with findings and evidence from an investigation by the Sullivan County Sheriff’s Department on a complaint by a female race fan from Napier, W.Va., that Stewart shoved her against his team’s hauler following the Aug. 24 race at Bristol, TN.(ThatsRacin.com)(9-24-2002)
    Stewart Statement: The following is a statement from NASCAR Winston Cup Series driver Tony Stewart regarding the decision by a grand jury summoned by the Sullivan County Sheriff’s Office to take no action in an alleged assault case involving Stewart and a fan following the Aug. 24 Sharpie 500 at Bristol (Tenn.) Motor Speedway. “Just as I’ve contended all along, I did not assault anyone and I’m relieved to know a grand jury has come to the same conclusion. While I’m glad to have this matter behind me, it’s heartening to know the fairness in which the legal system handled the case, specifically all of those associated with the Sullivan County Sheriff’s Office. I greatly appreciate the strong support given to me by my fellow drivers throughout this ordeal, as well as the backing provided by my fans, Joe Gibbs Racing, Home Depot, NASCAR, Bristol Motor Speedway, my family and friends. I look forward to having a renewed focus in the remaining races on the Winston Cup schedule beginning with this weekend’s event at Kansas.”(Motorsports Management International PR)(9-24-2002)
  • #32 gets new assoc sponsor for 2003: – Blair Corporation, a national direct marketer and cataloger, has signed a multi-year agreement to sponsor the #32 Tide entry of PPI Motorsports and driver Ricky Craven. Blair Corporation will provide the PPI Motorsports team with team clothing and apparel from its Custom Wear line beginning in 2003. In addition, the company’s Blair.com website logo will appear on the #32 Tide Pontiac beginning with the 2003 Daytona 500.(PPI Motorsports PR)(9-24-2002)
  • Hornaday to drive ARCA car for Cup team: Sam Belnavis, COO of BH Motorsports, today announced that Ron Hornaday, driver of the #54 National Guard Chevy in the Cup Series, will pilot the team’s ARCA car at Lowe’s Motor Speedway on Thursday, Oct. 10. BH Motorsports has identified the ARCA circuit as a spoke in their National Guard Driver Development Program for Minorities and plan on using Hornaday’s experience to evaluate their equipment at the Concord, NC race track. “By putting Ron in the ARCA race at Lowe’s Motor Speedway, we’ll have a knowledgeable veteran behind the wheel that has the ability to give us feedback on our equipment and race team,” said Belnavis. “Our goal, first and foremost, is to give the participants in our driver development program the best possible chance at success. Having Ron in the car will give us an opportunity to evaluate what we’ve got. We feel that it’s extremely important to come out of the box as a competitive, viable motor sports entity. Ron will show that we’ve got top-notch equipment and personnel.” Following the October events at Lowe’s Motor Speedway, BH Motorsports will officially launch its driver development program, aimed at giving minorities an opportunity to compete in racing. The team is evaluating candidates for the program in hopes of establishing a core group to compete in ARCA races, and possibly NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series events, next season.(BH Motorsports PR)(9-24-2002)
  • New #1 Crew Chief soon? Dale Earnhardt Inc. may announce a new crew chief for driver #1 Steve Park this week. It’s believed the company went outside of DEI and offered a contract to Tony Gibson, who has been serving as the unofficial car chief for Jeff Gordon and the #24 Chevrolet. Word is that DEI has offered a contract to Gibson, but he’s already under contract with Rick Hendrick Motorsports. Upon giving his resignation, the dilemma is whether Hendrick will be willing to let Gibson leave before the end of the year or make him fulfill his contractual commitment until the end of the season to Hendrick.(NASCAR.com Buzz)(9-24-2002)
  • Hamilton probably out until Martinsville: Bobby Hamilton, who has been sidelined by injury for the last three Cup races, might miss at least three more. Hamilton suffered a broken shoulder and broken wrist in a Sept. 5 truck racing crash at Richmond. Team spokesman David Pepper said Hamilton might be unable to race for three more weeks. ”Right now Bobby’s looking at Martinsville [Oct. 20],” Pepper said. ”Charlotte [Oct. 13] hasn’t been entirely ruled out, but Bobby and his doctors will make that decision.” Greg Biffle has driven Hamilton’s #55 Chevy the past three races. Biffle made one Winston Cup start before taking over the #55, so he can run only three more races and still preserve his rookie status for next season. Biffle will drive the car this weekend at Kansas City, next week at Talladega, and the following week at Charlotte (Lowe’s Motor Speedway) if necessary.(Tennessean)
    UPDATE: Greg Biffle will be driving in two out of the next three races for Hamilton. Biffle will be behind the wheel of the #55 Schneider Electric Chevy this week at Kansas, and he will also be driving for Hamilton at Lowe’s Motor Speedway on Oct. 13 for the UAW-GM Quality 500. A driver has not been picked yet for the Oct. 6 race at Talladega.(Hendersonville Times-News)(9-24-2002)
  • Atlanta NASCAR Museum? The owner of Underground Atlanta has an idea of what may draw visitors to the struggling downtown attraction. A NASCAR museum. Dan O’Leary, president of Underground’s owner, O’Leary Partners, said he is considering Underground as a site for a NASCAR interactive museum. The move comes as momentum is returning to downtown Atlanta, spurred by the recent announcement that The Home Depot Inc. co-founder Bernard Marcus would build an aquarium near Centennial Olympic Park instead of in Midtown’s mixed-use project, Atlantic Station. That move was a mixed blessing for O’Leary because The Coca-Cola Co. also announced plans to move the World of Coke from its current Martin Luther King Jr. Drive location to the aquarium site — thus moving a major downtown tourist attraction farther away from Underground. A NASCAR museum may help fill that void. “We haven’t got on the phone and said, ‘This is what we’re going to do,’ ” O’Leary said. “The NASCAR thing is just one of the things we’re trying to do. But we have got a starting, open dialogue with NASCAR. That’s really as far as we are.”(Atlanta Business Chronicle)(9-24-2002)
  • Yates to build Chevy/GM Engines? Robert Yates’ long-term goal may be to ease out of the car-owner business and concentrate on organizing a major engine-building operation, similar to Cosworth, according to men close to him. Already Yates, a Ford man for more than 15 years, has men building Dodge engines, and he will have men building Chevrolet engines next year for Pontiac’s Cal Wells. One question is whether Yates would turn his Winston Cup teams over to son Doug Yates, who is an integral part of the family’s engine building division.(Winston Salem Journal)(9-23-2002)
    UPDATE: Doug Yates says 10 of his former engine builders are working with Cal Wells’ new in-house program at PPI Motorsports. Wells currently leases engines from Yates, but the team will build its own when it switches from Ford to Pontiac next season.(Sporting News)(9-24-2002)
  • Testing on Sept 25th UPDATE postponed until November: New Daytona 500 rules are scheduled to be tested at Daytona on Sept. 25, the Wednesday between tour stops at Dover and Kansas City. NASCAR officials have proposed lowering rear spoilers to increase straightaway speed while decreasing downforce in the corners. The purpose is to try to split up the drafting pack into smaller packs. None of the tour’s top-10 teams made the trek to Florida for the first round of testing three weeks ago, and it is not clear if any of them will be running in this test either. Michael Waltrip, 14th in the standings coming to Darlington, was the top driver at the August test. The Woods #21 team will be at this next test, and Ricky Rudd could be at the wheel. The Woods and Rudd will be testing themselves in the next two weeks at Kentucky and Memphis to sort out chassis designs that Rudd might like. There was an odd anomaly in one of the NASCAR restrictor plates used in the August test, according to one team there: its holes were oddly aligned.(Winston Salem Journal)(9-2-2002)
    UPDATE: The Winston Cup aerodynamic test scheduled Wednesday at Daytona International Speedway has been postponed to November. NASCAR officials gave no reason for the postponement.(Daytona Beach News Journal)(9-24-2002)
  • New Right Side Tire at Kansas UPDATE no new tire: Goodyear will have a new right-side tire next weekend at Kansas Speedway. Goodyear officials have found that since the track has aged a year, its grip has changed. The right side tires, tested by #24-Jeff Gordon earlier this year, should provide that extra grip.(Roanoke Times)(9-21-2002)
    UPDATE:Contrary to published reports, Goodyear will not introduce a new tire this weekend at Kansas Speedway, says Rick Campbell, Goodyear team leader.(Sporting News)(9-24-2002)
  • Teen Safety 500 program at Kansas: Georgia-Pacific Corp. brings its Teen Safety 500 program to two Kansas City area high schools on Thursday, Sept. 26. Shawnee Mission North High School and Shawnee Mission West High, both in Overland Park, have been selected to participate in this innovative program that extends Georgia-Pacific’s involvement with NASCAR to spread the message of safe driving among teen-agers. NASCAR driver Kyle Petty will be on hand to present the Georgia-Pacific Teen Safety 500 program to students. The program will include various local dignitaries, Georgia-Pacific representatives and Petty speaking to students about the importance of safety behind the wheel. After the assembly, students will have the opportunity to view an actual NASCAR Winston Cup car outside the school and receive autographs. Activities begin at 10 a.m. at Shawnee Mission North High School. The Georgia-Pacific Teen Safety 500 program is in its second year, with students from four states logging more than 400,000 safe miles in 2001. Kansas City is the fourth of six stops the Teen Safety 500 will make during the 2002 NASCAR season. Student drivers at the two schools will sign a safe-driving pledge to remain violation-free with no crashes during a three-week period. Once registered at Georgia-Pacific’s Web site, students will have the opportunity to win prizes for themselves and their school. Both schools will receive a cash contribution from Georgia-Pacific for their participation. The school with the highest ratio of students completing three weeks of safe driving will win an additional contribution. Georgia-Pacific will provide participating students with a variety of prizes for those who log safe miles, including MP3 players, phone cards from Sprint, and product coupons from McDonalds and Sonic Drive-In. One winner will be chosen from all participating students nationwide to win the grand prize – a $1,000 gift card from Best Buy. Petty will be joined by Romell Cooks, regional administrator for the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration; Patrice Pomeroy, assistant bureau chief of traffic safety for the Kansas Department of Transportation; Tracie Kalic, education program consultant for the Kansas State Board of Education; Col. Donald Brownlee, Kansas Highway Patrol; George Wurtz, president of paper and bleached board for Georgia-Pacific; Dr. Chuck McLean, principal of Shawnee Mission North High School and Dr. Karl Krawitz, principal of Shawnee Mission West High School.(Williams Company PR)(9-24-2002)

    (9-23-2002)

  • Kirby Testing the #49? UPDATE in at Kansas: hearing the BAM Racing #49 Cup team is testing with Stuart Kirby at Kentucky on Wednesday and Thursday, 9/11 & 9/12.(9-11-2002)
    UPDATE: Twenty-year-old Stuart Kirby, the Bowling Green, Ky., native who has run under the watchful eye of several top Winston Cup owners, will drive the BAM Racing’s #49 MNR Productions Dodge in Sunday’s Protection One 400 at Kansas Speedway. “We are so excited to have a driver with Stuart’s skills and talent in our car at Kansas,” said Beth Ann Morgenthau, owner of BAM Racing. We had been watching him for several races, and really appreciated his abilities. The more we watched what he could do, the more we thought he had a solid future in Winston Cup racing,” she said. “Obviously, this one race won’t make or break him but we are very anxious to see how he handles himself. Kirby has started eight races in the BGN this year, driving for [#34] car owner Jimmy Spencer. “As the word started getting out at Dover this past weekend, it was amazing how many people kind of eased over and asked about him,” Morgenthau said. “When we said, ‘Yeah, he’s going to be running at Kansas for us,’ just about every one said the same thing – ‘That’s a great decision.’” Kevin Lepage ran a solid race at Dover this past weekend for BAM Racing before an accident put him out of the event late. The team appeared to be headed to a top-25 finish prior to that. Like many first-year teams, BAM Racing has tried several drivers this season. “We want to be the best race team we can possibly be,” Morgenthau said. “Every person at BAM is working very hard to reach that goal. We’ve tried different things with the car and different things in the car. And the progress is there because of it. Many of the changes have been really good ones. Bringing in Scott Eggleston as crew chief a few weeks ago has made a profound difference. And each driver has added something to our effort by design,” she added. “The things that have remained constant – Ernie Elliott’s engines, for example – have been great for us as well. We’re looking forward to a really good weekend for this MNR Productions Dodge.”(Williams Company PR)(9-23-2002)
  • Knaus Fined by NASCAR: NASCAR officials have fined NASCAR Winston Cup Series crew chief Chad Knaus $5,000 for his use of inappropriate language during a televised interview after Sunday’s races at Dover. Knaus, crew chief of the #48 Lowe’s Chevy, was penalized under Section 12-4-A in the NASCAR Winston Cup Series rule book: “Actions detrimental to stock car racing: use of improper language.”(NASCAR PR)(9-23-2002)
  • Rookies: #48-Jimmie Johnson tied Tony Stewart’s rookie record for most wins by a Winston Cup Rookie of the Year candidate with his win at Dover, his third win of 2002. With last weeks win at NHIS, #12-Ryan Newman broke the rookie record of top fives, with his 13th, the old record was 12, also by Stewart in 1999. The top ten record is also held by Stewart at 21, Johnson and Newman both have 17, as did Dale Earnhardt in 1979. Some comparisions (all were Rookie of the Year except Earnhardt Jr):
    1979 Dale Earnhardt 27 races, 1 win, 11 top 5’s, 17 top 10’s, 4 poles, final points postion was 7th
    1987 Davey Allison 22 (of 29) races, 2 wins, 9 top 5’s, 16 top 10’s, 5 poles, points pos 21st
    1999 Tony Stewart 34 races, 3 wins, 12 top 5’s, 21 top 10’s, 2 poles, 4th in points
    2000 Matt Kenseth 34 races, 1 win, 4 top 5’s, 11 top 10’s, no poles, 14th in points
    2000 Dale Earnhardt Jr 34 races, 2 wins, 3 top 5’s, 5 top 10’s, 2 poles, 16th in points
    2001 Kevin Harvick 35 (of 36) races, 2 wins, 6 top 5’s, 16 top 10’s, no poles, 9th in points
    2002 Jimmie Johnson 28 (of 36) races, 3 wins, 6 top 5’s, 17 top 10’s, 4 poles, 2nd in points(so far)
    2002 Ryan Newman 28 (of 26) races, 1 win, 13 top 5’s, 17 top 10’s, 3 poles, 7th in pointd(so far)(9-23-2002)
  • Schrader named 3rd Quarter True Value Person of the Year: For his unselfish and continuing work in aiding charities, Ken Schrader has been named the third 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. For more than nine months, Schrader organized a special charity event at I-55 Raceway, a 3/8ths-mile dirt track in Pevely, Mo. His efforts became reality July 31 when he hosted the M&M’s Night of Stars, a celebrity autograph signing and 10-lap charity race to benefit Kyle and Pattie Petty’s Victory Junction Gang Camp, a special camp for children with health-care needs. Along with Schrader, the all-star cast of drivers who took part in the two-hour autograph session and 10-lap shootout on the dirt track were Petty, Bill Elliott, Dale Earnhardt Jr., Johnny Benson, Steve Park and Mike Wallace. More than 10,000 fans from 28 states and Canada attended the event, which raised more than $112,000 for the Victory Junction Gang Camp. For the purpose of determining the NASCAR True Value Person of the Year Award, the NASCAR Winston Cup Series 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 and Jeff Gordon was the second-quarter recipient. An elite group of panelists will select one of the quarterly winners 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 NMPA Myers Brothers Breakfast, which is part of the NASCAR Winston Cup Series awards weekend. The money will be divided evenly between the driver and the charity of their choice. In addition to the NASCAR True Value Person of the Year, True Value sponsors the Driver of the Race Award, which is given to the eligible driver who wins a NASCAR Winston Cup Series championship event during the 36-race season. Each True Value Driver of the Race Award winner receives $2,500 with an additional $2,500 going to the charity of their choice.(NASCAR PR)(9-23-2002)
  • America’s Most Wanted Racing: is moving forward and has launched a new website www.amw-racing.com. This web site will carry information on the team and their campaign for the recovery and education of missing and exploited children. New sponsor highlights (maybe Winston Cup?) will also adorn the site as well as information on John Walsh and The National Center for Missing and Exploited Children and other children’s Safty sites. The site will grow with the team.(PR)(9-23-2002)
  • Kerry Earnhardt to run two additional Cup races in 2002 and four in 2003 with Aaron’s: FitzBradshaw Racing has secured Aaron’s Sales and Lease Ownership as a primary sponsor for two NASCAR Winston Cup Series races this year and four during the 2003 Winston Cup season. The #83 Aaron’s Dream Machine will be driven by Kerry Earnhardt at Lowe’s Motor Speedway on October 13, 2002 and at Atlanta Motor Speedway on October 27, 2002. Earnhardt currently drives the No. 12 Chevrolet Monte Carlo in the BGN. He is also slated to field the #83 RacingUSA.com car in the October 6, 2002 Talladega race. In 2003, Earnhardt will drive the Aaron’s Dream Machine at Daytona International Speedway on February 16, Talladega Superspeedway on April 6, Lowe’s Motor Speedway on May 25 and at Indianapolis Motor Speedway on August 3. The addition of the Aaron’s Winston Cup sponsorship brings FitzBradshaw closer to its goals. Less than a year ago, the team announced its plan to run a full-season BGN schedule in 2002 and 2003, and to pursue limited Winston Cup Series race sponsorships for the latter part of the 2002 season and for select 2003 races. By 2004, FitzBradshaw plans to field its first full-season of Winston Cup Series racing. For more information on Aaron’s, please visit www.shopaarons.com.(FitzBradshawRacing PR)(9-23-2002)
  • Schrader back in the #25? Rick Hendrick’s plans for his #25 team are still up in the air, but Hendrick is now talking with [former #25 Bud driver] Ken Schrader, according to team sources.(Winston Salem Journal)(9-23-2002)
  • First time back-to-back – Correction: #48-Jimmie Johnson’s victory comes a week after #12-Ryan Newman won, marking the first time in series history rookies have won back-to-back races.(News and Record), Actually in 2000 Dale Earnhardt Jr and Matt Kenseth won back-to-back points races, with Earnhardt Jr winning at Richmond and Kenseth winning at Lowe’s Motor Speedway in May of 2000, the Winston was run between the two races, also won by a rookie, Dale Earnhardt Jr.(9-23-2002)
  • Jerry Jones and DEI? The latest on the Dallas Cowboys’ front is the report that Jerry Jones is interested in trying to buy Dale Earnhardt Inc. Jones, who owns the Cowboys, and car owner Andy Petree spent much of the summer in negotiations to team next season on the Winston Cup tour, but that deal fell through. During those negotiations, Jones was reported to be interested in signing a top-name driver and was willing to offer as much as $5 million to Dale Earnhardt Jr. Ty Norris, general manager for DEI, wouldn’t say that there had been no talk with the Cowboys, but he did say that there was no way any such deal could go down. There have been several reports during the year about the possible sale of DEI, but each report has been officially rebuffed.(Winston Salem Journal)(9-23-2002)
  • Hendrick to debut at Rockingham: During an interview on Speed Channel’s NASCAR Victory Lane on Sunday night, Hendrick Motorsports CEO Rick Hendrick said that his son, Ricky, would drive a fifth Hendrick Motorsports entry in the Winston Cup race at Rockingham on November 3rd. Ricky Hendrick, 22, is currently in his first full season in the BGN after two years in the CTS.(Gordonline)(9-23-2002)
  • Dodge….Penske……: Ford men say they are resigned to losing Roger Penske to Daimler-Chrysler’s Dodge brand next season. The Penske-to-Dodge rumors began more than two years ago, but they really heated up this spring. An announcement had been anticipated last month; Dodge sources say that an announcement could come within the next two weeks. Penske men will only say that there’s an offer on the table.(Winston Salem Journal)(9-23-2002)
  • Notes from TNT’s coverage of NASCAR Winston Cup Racing From Dover: Wally’s World: In 1996, Wally Dallenbach and Hideo Fukuyama raced against each other in Suzuka, Japan.. Wally bumped Fukuyama and put him out of the race. On, Sat., Sept. 21, 2002, Wally took Fukuyama for a ride around Dover Downs Int’l Speedway in the TNT car. Fukuyama after the ride (in Japanese): “I didn’t know you were such a crazy driver.. Now I know why you are a television driver and not a real driver.” Dallenbach: “I am not sure what he said, but I am sure he said that I am an excellent, incredible, and talented driver.”
    Announcer for GAORA Sports in Japan, Keiichi Inamine, joined Bestwick, Dallenbach, Parsons in the booth for a few laps and called the race in Japanese. Parsons: “Can you repeat that?. I couldn’t understand you, you talked to fast.”
    Dallenbach on Fukuyama after lap 270: “He is really off pace right now.” Marty Snider reported that Dale Jr. was behind Fukuyama and it seemed like Dale had slowed off the pace a bit, but then reported that Dale radioed in saying he was waiting for Fukuyama to spin out. Dallenbach on Gordon returning to the race on lap 285 after wrecking on lap 65: “That is no fun.. What I always said here and at Bristol, ‘if you are going to wreck me, make sure they can’t fix it’.” Time to Call: TNT promo for NASCAR.com’s Win The King contest on lap 147 letting fans know that they need to call now to win. – Parsons: “I will be right back, I got my cell phone.”(Turner PR)(9-23-2002)
  • Stoddard and Fukuyama? Crew chief Frankie Stoddard says he’d be willing to take on the challenge of helping car owner Travis Carter run Hideo Fukuyama’s team next season if the Japanese star puts together the sponsorship package he’s been working on for a planned Winston Cup venture.(Winston Salem Journal)(9-23-2002)
  • Andretti Close to re-signing with Petty, including Indy 500 UPDATE: #45-Kyle Petty said that the team is close to signing #43-John Andretti to a contract extension and Andretti would be allowed to attempt to drive in the Indianapolis 500 next May. “It’s one of those deals where you’re 99.9 percent,” sure it will happen, Petty said of the contract extension. “It’s just nobody’s name is on a piece of paper.” Petty said he has no problems letting Andretti run in the Indy 500 next year. The problem this year, Petty said, was that Andretti asked on such short notice and did not allow the Petty sponsors to possibly put together a sponsorship package for that race. Andretti said he’s hopeful that his cousin, Michael Andretti, will have an extra car for him next May. Michael Andretti, who bought into an Indy car team, will run three cars in the Indy Racing League next year.(Roanoke Times)(9-21-2002)
    UPDATE: John Andretti knows where and for whom he plans to race in 2003 — has known, in fact, for some time — but he’s not telling. ”I’ve made up my mind,” he said Saturday following ”Happy Hour,” practice at Dover. ”But I haven’t signed anything yet. The ball’s not in my court now. I actually made up my mind a little bit ago and I’m just waiting on a response. ‘It’s not really going to be up to me and, in my mind, it’s never been up to me. The formal announcement comes from the team and from the sponsors, so I’m just a participant. They’re just waiting to do that, they’re just waiting to get everything sewed up.”(Morning Call)(9-23-2002)

 


(9-22-2002)

 

  • Changes to the No Bull 5? while listening to MRN’s radio coverage of the MBNA All-American Heroes 400 at Dover it wass mentioned during an interview that when the time comes there will be changes to the No Bull 5 Program as R.J. Reynold’s (Winston) feels it is getting stale, the changes could come as soon as the 2003 season and it supposedly just as exciting as the No Bull 5. The next and final No Bull Five event of 2002 is at the EA Sports 500 at Talladega on October 6th.(9-22-2002)
  • Rudd/Sadler switch coming soon after all? during TNT coverage of the MBNA All-American Heroes 400 at Dover, Bill Weber said that the #21 Wood Brothers with Elliott Sadler (who is going to Yates in 2003) and the #28 Robert Yates Racing team with Rick Rudd (who is going to the Wood Brothers in 2003) are may be switching teams sooner and are talking about making the switch.(9-22-2002)
  • Safety Requirements on pit road: NASCAR could require all personnel who work on pit road during races to wear fire suits, protective gear currently required for pit crew members who go over the wall and service race cars, spokeswoman Danielle Frye confirmed Sunday. The move is one of many being considered by the sanctioning body to address the safety of race team members and fans in the garage area and pit road.(ThatsRacin.com)(9-22-2002)
  • #4 Jackman OK: Tony Cardamore, the jack man for the #4 Kodak Chevy driven by Mike Skinner, was hit by the car as Skinner entered the pits for a scheduled stop on Lap 239 at Dover. Cardamore rolled across the hood, but continued with the pit stop. He was not injured.(ThatsRacin.com)(9-22-2002)
  • Gibb’s Testing Chevy’s: Bobby Labonte said his Joe Gibbs Racing team plans to test the 2003 Chevrolet this week in preparation for the team’s move to the Chevy camp next season. Gibbs’ drivers, Labonte and Tony Stewart, currently drive the Pontiac Grand Prix. “We’ve tested the 2003 Pontiac already a couple times and basically it is the same sheet metal except for the nose and tail. That kind of helps us out a little bit, also,” Labonte said. “We’ve kind of tested already. We’ve already had a trip to Talladega where we ran this year’s car and next year’s car, too, to get an idea to see which way to start with it. That’s going along pretty good.” (ThatsRacin.com)(9-22-2002)
  • Update on Stewart’s Bristol Incident: A grand jury in Sullivan County (Tenn.) will determine Tuesday if there is enough evidence to charge Stewart with simple assault ( A West Virginia woman claimed Stewart shoved her out of the way after the Bristol night race, which was three weeks after the Indianapolis Photographer incident). Greeley Wells, the county’s district attorney, said that if the grand jury does not return an indictment against Stewart, Wells will consider the case closed. If at least 12 of the 13 grand jury members vote to indict Stewart for the Class B misdemeanor, the case would proceed through the courts. If found guilty there, Stewart could face up to six months in jail and a fine not to exceed $500.(Roanoke Times), see past news on this on my #20 Team News and Links page.(9-22-2002)

    (9-21-2002)

  • Parker and BAM in 2003? UPDATE: hearing that #49 BAM Racing is talking to several drivers for next season but Hank Parker Jr. has apparently moved near the top of the list for a full-time ride with the team next season. There is a possibility Parker might drive one or two Winston Cup races for BAM this year too.(9-20-2002)
    UPDATE: #36 BGN driver Hank Parker Jr. said he is exploring all his options for next season, which include moving up to Winston Cup and remaining with his current team. Parker, 27, is in the final year of his contract with Team Jesel and sponsor GNC hasn’t decided whether to return next season. He has two series wins, including a victory this year at Pikes Peak. “Everything is really up in the air. I’m waiting to see what GNC is going to do. I’d love to go Cup racing, but I’m waiting on the right opportunity,” Parker said. “I really wish I knew what I was doing because it’s getting kind of late and it’s getting kind of nerve-racking for me.” BAM Racing contacted Parker about driving a race this season, but Parker declined because the team was out of tests and he wanted to test the car first. Several rides remain open in Cup, including the #25 with Hendrick Motorsports, #36 with MB2 Motorsports and #49 BAM Racing.(ThatsRacin.com)(9-21-2002)
  • TV Camera Wire Causes Problem on the #29 car: During TV camera installation a TV wire was clamped over a brake wire and when driver Kevin Harvick flipped a switch it caught fire under the dashboard burning some rollbar padding, the team fixed it and Harvick went back out and practiced.(TNT Happy Hour Coverage)(9-21-2002)
  • Marlin switches to the HANS: #40-Sterling Marlin used the HANS device Friday and plans to wear it for the rest of the season. Marlin had been wearing a Hutchens device since last season. He decided to switch safety devices after suffering a sore neck in a crash in the Richmond race two weeks ago. Marlin tested with the HANS device at Kentucky Speedway this week, experienced no discomfort and made the change.(Roanoke Times)(9-21-2002)
  • Penske to Dodge anouncement….this week? UPDATE: hearing the long rumored Penske Racing to Dodge announcement could occur this week.(9-17-2002)
    UPDATE: well no anouncement, just more rumors….(9-21-2002)


    (9-20-2002)

  • Stewart to run Cup races only: Kenny Schrader has been called upon as a relief driver for Tony Stewart in the Sunoco Race of Champions Modified 200 scheduled for Saturday at Oswego Speedway. Stewart will still be in attendance to sign autographs for spectators as well as all of his fans in the scheduled “meet and greet” session. In a letter received at the speedway, dated Friday, September 20th, Motorsports Management International, the group that represents Tony Stewart, states that Stewart has been directed by Joe Gibbs Racing to forego participating as a driver in all non-Winston Cup events. Stewart, who is in the midst of one of the closest point battles in NASCAR Winston Cup Series history has only nine races left on the Winston Cup schedule and his team has emphasized his need to have total focus on that series. In spite of the decision handed down by Joe Gibbs racing, Stewart is honoring his commitment to his fans by attending Saturday’s event and signing autographs for a period of two hours. Stewart had been looking forward to participating in this event.(Oswego Speedway Site and see a story at Syracuse.com)(9-20-2002)
  • Truck TV Coverage to move to Speed Channel? NASCAR is moving its truck racing series to the Speed Channel from ESPN, leaving the sports network without a NASCAR connection for the first time since 1979, according to motorsports sources. NASCAR and Fox-owned Speed reached an agreement this week. NASCAR and ESPN still are working on exit details that would allow the switch to take place beginning next season. ESPN’s contract to carry the truck series was scheduled to run through 2003, but the two sides likely will agree to terminate early to avoid the “lame duck” scenario they ran into when NASCAR shifted its Winston Cup and Busch series to Fox, NBC and Turner. ESPN carried Winston Cup and Busch racing in 2000, but NASCAR felt it promoted less than it had in previous years because such promotions no longer offered a long-range benefits. A NASCAR spokeswoman refused to comment, saying “it would be inappropriate to make any announcement at this time.”(Sports Business Journal need sub to read)(9-20-2002)
  • Air Force Scheme at Dover and crew changed a C-5 tire: The Air Force will be the primary sponsor of Elliott Sadler’s #21 Ford during this week-end’s events at Dover International Speedway. The branch served as the primary sponsor during the Coca-Cola 600 in May and has a smaller sponsor-ship during the other Cup races. Besides sponsoring the #21 Ford, the Air Force sets up recruitment booths at NASCAR tracks and conducts a fly-over on race day. Len Wood, a co-owner of the car with his brother Eddie, said his team’s relationship with the Air Force has a special quality. He and Eddie have taken rides in fighter jets, he said. Members of the #21 pit crew, who will don flight suits instead of their usual uniforms Sunday, and maintenance troops at Dover Air Force Base traded places Thursday. The pit crew taught the troops how to handle a two-tire pit stop on the car and the troops showed crew members how to do a pit stop on a C-5 cargo plane [what Jayski used to work on when stationed at Dover in 82-85] – refueling, changing tires and climbing a tall stair-case to wash the windshield. Maintenance troops completed their NASCAR-style pit stop in 18 seconds. “It’s a whole different world,” Airman 1st Class Alleem Humber said about the difference between work-ing on a large cargo carrier and a Winston Cup car. Airman Humber said the power tools used on race cars are not suitable for the C-5s because the plane is too delicate. Instead of using gas cans to refuel, the C-5 needs a tanker to pump gasoline into it. Mike Smith, the #21’s car chief, said working the C-5 had some similarities to a car, such as having to use a jack to change the tire, but not many. Mr. Smith and the rest of the #21 crew completed their plane pit stop in about 90 seconds. The Air Force also sponsors the #34 Chevy in the BGN driven bt Steve Grissom.(Dover Newszap)(9-20-2002)

    The #21 Air Force/Motorcraft Ford and a C-5B at Dover AFB, photo by Jason Minto of Dover Newszap
  • #66 Crew; and Flags on the car: Should Hideo ‘Joe’ Fukuyama qualify for Sunday’s race, crew members from the #10 BGN team will stay over and pit for the #66 Ford. The car will not bear a sponsor’s logo, rather it will have an American and Japanese flag on the hood with Hideo Fukuyama in Japanese characters on the rear quarter panels and TV panel. Team Owner Travis Carter plans to enter Fukuyama at the upcoming Winston Cup races at Martinsville (Oct. 20) and North Carolina Speedway (Nov. 3).(Cox Marketing)(9-20-2002)
  • Hendrick looking at Hornish? UPDATE: Sam Hornish Jr., who captured his second consecutive Indy Racing League championship Sunday, is on the short list of drivers being considered for Hendrick Motorsports’ #25 Chevy in the Winston Cup series next season, ThatsRacin.com has learned. Hornish, 23, who had been touted in recent months as a possible driver for Dale Earnhardt Inc. because of sponsorship ties, is a “serious candidate” for the #25 ride, sources confirmed Sunday. Among the other drivers being considered are the team’s current driver, Joe Nemechek, BGN drivers Scott Riggs and Ron Hornaday. Hornish now drives for Panther Racing in the IRL with sponsor Pnnzoil, which also sponsors the Cup team of DEI’s Steve Park. Hendrick team officials on Sunday would say only that no decision had been made about a driver for the #25 in the 2003 season. Hornish won the 2001 IRL title in his first year in the series and finished with three wins and led the most laps in six of 13 races. He had five wins, including Sunday’s at Texas, this season.(ThatsRacin.com)(9-15-2002)
    AND more Here’s more on Sam Hornish Jr.’s future from Sunday’s IRL post-race celebration on ABC: Jack Arute: “Tell me what you and Dale Earnhardt Jr. talked about a couple of weeks ago.” Sam Hornish Jr.: “I had a talk about deciding what you wanted to do for the rest of your life. You have your choice, he said, ‘You’ve got make up your mind whether you want to be a stock car driver for the rest of your life or an Indy car driver.’ I still got to win that Indianapolis 500, and it’s becoming more apparent all the time what I need to be doing.”(MotorsportsTV)(9-16-2002)
    UPDATE: after Sam Hornish Jr. win and championship clinching run at Texas, Hornish was linked to another NASCAR rumor involving Rick Hendrick, car owner of four-time Cup champion Jeff Gordon and super rookie Jimmie Johnson. The fact is, Hornish said, that he is signed with Pennzoil Panther Racing through 2003. And Hornish is working on an extension through the 2005 IRL season that will bring the driver in line with sponsor Pennzoil and engine supplier Chevrolet. “I don’t know where all this stuff keeps coming from,” said Hornish, specifically addressing the Hendrick rumor Wednesday. “There’s been plenty of people I’ve talked to about next year. But I haven’t been offered anything by Hendrick Motorsports.”(Fort Worth Star Telegram)(9-20-2002)
  • Elliott to evaluate things at the end of 2003: #9-Bill Elliott said he will evaluate his performance at the conclusion of next season to determine whether or how much longer he will continue to race in the series. “My deal is I’ve got one more year on my contract with Ray (Evernham) with a two-year option. We’ll run next year and see how I feel and then take it a year at a time,” Elliott, 46, said. “Right now, I feel good. I’m healthy. I’m doing what we need to be doing. As long as you can say that, that’s another direction you need to go into. I’m just going to take it a year at a time after next year.”(ThatsRacin.com)(9-20-2002)
  • US Army and Nadeau…to the #36? UPDATE 3: The U.S.Army is expected to be on the quarterpanels of the #36 Pontiacs owned by Nelson Bowers and Thomas Beard [MB2] and driven by Ken Schrader the past two seasons. Jerry Nadeau is expected to get that ride. It is unclear where Schrader might wind up.(Winston Salem Journal)
    UPDATE: been told that the Army was at Richmond over the weekend and has spoken to many teams concerning sponsorship.(9-9-2002)
    UPDATE 2: There is still no official word about the U.S. Army sponsorship that the Jay Frye-Nelson Bowers-Thomas Beard team is expected to sign for next season. The U.S. Army – after watching the Navy, Marines and Air Force get such good publicity through NASCAR sponsorships – has decided to step on to this PR playing field, according to Detroit sources. Ken Schrader has been driving for the team the past two seasons, but Jerry Nadeau is expected to get that ride for 2003. Where Schrader might wind up is unclear.(Winston Salem Journal)(9-16-2002)
    UPDATE 3: Sources indicate that the U.S. Army is talking with MB2 Motorsports and Andy Petree Racing about a potential sponsorship deal for 2003. The Army is apparently looking to sponsor a car for half the schedule, if a sponsor can be fouind for the rest of the schedule. Jerry Nadeau could move to the #36 MB2 Pontiac if the deal is signed.(Winston Cup Scene – need sub to read online)(9-20-2002)
  • Dale Jr on The Sporting News cover UPDATE the column: Dale Earnhardt Jr. is on the cover the Sporting News [a Jayski reading item since 1975] which hits newsstands Wednesday. The title of the story is “In his own groove.” The focus of is how Junior’s driving style differs from his dad’s. The story was written by Roger Kuznia and includes observations from Junior, Larry McReynolds, Darrell Waltrip and Benny Parsons, among others. If anyone is interested in getting an 11 x 14 keepsake cover, for $35, they can contact The Sporting News at 800-443-1886, ext. 608.(9-17-2002)
    The column at the Sporting News: A groove of his own: Junior faces difficult task in making a name for himself by Roger Kuznia(9-20-2002)

  • Friendly’s to step up with Cope in 2003? Friendly’s Restaurants is considering expanding it’s involvement with Derrikeo Cope for the 2003 season. Since the Friendly;s is mainly based in the Northeast, it would like to share sponsorship with another company, if Cope would run the full season, otherwise Cope could run 18 races.(Winston Cup Scene – need sub to read online)(9-20-2002)
  • Geoffrey to crew chief for Brother Brett: For this weekend’s race at Dover, #11-Brett Bodine will have his older brother, Geoffrey, serving as his crew chief. Brett doesn’t have a full-time crew chief at the moment and said turning to his brother seemed like a natural call.(NASCAR.com), Brett failed to make the race at Dover.(9-20-2002)

    (9-19-2002)

  • Former Cup Team Owner almost ready to debut IRL car: Former Ford racing director and NASCAR team [#12 Mobil One] owner Michael Kranefuss, now in the IRL chassis business with MK Racing, said the company’s first rolling chassis will be ready for on-track testing next month. As yet he has no buyers but said, “It’s tough to get any of the frontrunners to talk to you when they haven’t seen a car.”(Indianapolis Star)(9-20-2002)
  • Dr Dick Berggren to inducted into the Manchester Sports Hall of Fame: Fox Broadcaster/Pit Reporter, Dick Berggren, currently one of the biggest names in stock car racing as a writer, editor, publisher and a nationally recognized television personality will be inducted into the Manchester [CT] Sports Hall of Fame. The 23rd annual induction dinner will be held Oct. 25 at Adams Mill. Dinner tickets at $30 are available at the town hall. The six newcomers will swell the total membership to 125, which includes 14 females. Berggren, 59, graduated from Manchester High in 1962, four years later at Southern Connecticut State University, and gained his doctorate in psychology at Tufts University. After an eight-year teaching career at Emanuel College in Boston, Berggren turned to his first love, stock car racing in 1970 and he’s made his mark in the sport ever since. As executive editor of Speedway Illustrated magazine, Berggren’s career on the fast track has included all phases from driver, pit crew, promoter, public relations, announcer to national television exposure with ESPN, CBS and CNN. Berggren was a regular driver in the Sportsman Division throughout the eastern stock car racing circuit and recorded 27 first place finishes before calling it a career as a driver. Berggren’s interest in the sport started when he was a 12-year-old and saw his first race at Riverside Park. After school, he would walk down to Bob Oliver’s garage on Main Street and watch the mechanics work on the Center Motors- sponsored car. Today, Berggren is one of the biggest names in the stock car off track racing world.(Hartford Courant)(9-20-2002)
  • Driver Portraits at Talladega: A rare treat will be awaiting the NASCAR Winston Cup Series stars when they return to Talladega Superspeedway for the EA Sports 500 Weekend, Oct. 3-6, 2002. Alabama artist Kevin Criswell (www.kevincriswell.com) has taken on the improbable task of drawing each driver attempting to qualify for the EA SPORTS 500. Once the team haulers arrive inside the Winston Cup garage on Friday, Oct. 4, each team will be presented a signed portrait of their driver, framed and matted and ready for display throughout the weekend. “This is a unique way for Talladega Superspeedway to say thank you to the world’s greatest drivers and to let them know we appreciate the wonderful show they put on for our fans year after year,” said Grant Lynch, the track’s president. “Kevin has a passion and a talent that is instantly recognizable. He donated several of his drawings for the Race Fever Night auction in April and we began discussing this possibility then.” Criswell, who lives in Centre, Ala., was diagnosed with a severe case of rheumatoid arthritis in the mid-1990s and was forced to leave his job. He uses his artistic abilities to strengthen his spirits and help his fingers from becoming stiffer. Because of the painful bouts with arthritis, Criswell is not able to draw as much as he would like. Criswell’s passion for drawing NASCAR’s brand of racing and its stars quickly erased any doubts this task could be achieved. The biggest obstacle in this challenge is time. But Criswell is ahead of schedule. Not only has he drawn all of the regular Winston Cup drivers, he’s kept up with driver changes and late entries, too. He has already sketched Kenny Wallace in the 1-800-CALLATT Chevrolet and Kerry Earnhardt with the RacingUSA.com Chevrolet. Criswell has already presented some of his works to drivers, including Rusty Wallace. Kevin Criswell and his wife, Debbie, have been married 21 years and have two daughters, Kirsten and Madison.(Talladega PR)(9-19-2002)
  • Bonus Points: So far this season, #20-Tony Stewart, who is fourth in the standings, leads the championship contenders [assuming the top 5 or 6 drivers at current standings] with 85 bonus points. Points leader #6-Mark Martin has 50, and #24-Jeff Gordon, who is fifth in the standings but just 67 points behind Martin, has 70.(Atlanta Journal Constitution), #12-Ryan Newman has 90 bonus points.(9-20-2002)
  • IRWIN Rough to Finish Award #24 Team: The rain was persistent at Sunday’s New Hampshire 300 at New Hampshire International Speedway, and so was the #24 DuPont Chevy of Jeff Gordon. As a result of the team’s solid effort in the pits, team crew chief Robbie Loomis takes home this week’s IRWIN “Rough to the Finish” Award. After rain delays totaling nearly three hours, Jeff Gordon started Sunday’s race in 21st position, running consistently between 18th and 22nd for nearly the entire race. With weather threatening late in the day, crew chief Robbie Loomis called for a two tire change on the final green flag pit stop in hopes of gaining some track position. With a steady rain coming down and darkness looming, Gordon was able to take advantage of Loomis’ strategy and move up to 14th position before NASCAR concluded the event 93 laps shy of its scheduled distance. “With the consistent rain and long delays, we just couldn’t get a handle on the race car,” said Loomis. “We knew that we would have to pull off a great pit strategy in order to get home with a strong finish, and these guys on the No. 24 pit crew really dug deep to make that happen. They deserve all the credit.”
    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)(9-19-2002)
  • Gordon and Johnson to race in Spain: Jeff Gordon, Jimmie Johnson and multiple X-Games champion, Travis Pastrana will represent the United States of America in the Michelin Race of Champions Nations’ Cup Nov. 29 – Dec. 1 in Gran Canaria (off the coast of Spain). The United States team will do battle against some of the best drivers in the world including the drivers from F-1, World Rally Cars and Motor bikes. The Michelin Race of Champions is an action-packed, sun-drenched weekend of head-to-head dueling between the kings of world motorsports. Now in its fourth year, the Nations’ Cup has quickly become the star attraction of the weekend. The contest sees each participating nation enter a team of three, comprising one rally/off-road driver, one circuit racer and one bike rider. The teams will compete in world rally cars on a parallel track that is 30 percent pavement and 70 percent dirt. “Personally, I can’t wait for the competition,” explained Johnson. “Jeff is going to be our asphalt driver and Travis is going to be our bike rider, so that leaves me racing against the off road guys. It will be very challenging competing against top drivers like Markus Gronholm and other dirt specialists in the competition. I grew up off road racing and have raced in the Baja 1000 and in the stadium truck series in the mid-1990’s, so I’m confident that I’ll be able to hold my own and compete against the best in the world.” For more information on the Michelin Race of Champions Nations’ Cup please visit the web site at www.raceofchampions.com.(Golin/Harris International PR)(9-19-2002)
  • Stoddard has a job…for this week..at Dover….in the BGNN: Crew chief Frank Stoddard, who was replaced by Paul Andrews on the 99 car two weeks ago, will be in Dover this weekend, but he’ll be helping out his childhood friend Mike Olsen, the 2001 NASCAR Busch North champion. The North Series races at Dover Friday afternoon.(Fox Sports Net)(9-19-2002)
  • Hermie Sadler announcment? UPDATE 2: NASCAR’s Hermie Sadler (#02) will be at this Wednesday’s NWA (National Wrestling Alliance) TNA. He is expected to make a big announcement concerning NASCAR and TNA.(NWATNA.com)(9-14-2002)
    UPDATE: I’m a fan of Hermie Sadler because: (1)He demonstrated surprising wrestling talent in his last match. (2) He will be driving the NWA-TNA car in a big race. (3) He is a great person who loves our business. I’m looking forward to his appearance on the show.”(Wrestlingdotcom)(9-16-2002)
    UPDATE 2: it was announced on Wednesday’s NWA TNA that they will be the primary sponsor of Hermie Sadler’s #02 car on October 12 at Lowes Motor Speedway [that would be for the BGN race the Cup race is the 13th]. Hermie said that he enjoyed his time in the ring in TNA and talked about the TNA sponsorship on October 12.(NWATNA.com)(9-19-2002)
  • Shepherd in the #51 at Dover: Morgan Shepherd announced today that he will attempt to qualify the #51 Winston Cup Series Dodge owned by Rick Ware.. “This is a one race deal,” stated Shepherd. No other details were made available at this time. Shepherd will take the weekend off from driving duties with his #21 Craftstman Truck Series Ford, and #89 Winston Cup Ford Taurus. This will be Shepherd’s seventh Winston Cup attempt for the 2002 season.. Future plans for the remainder of this season include additional Winston Cup events, as well as entries in the Craftsman Truck Series.. Details will be released as soon as they become available.(STB Marketing)(9-19-2002)
  • Not Cup but… Peter Daniels, of Lebanon, N.H., has won the NASCAR Weekly Racing Series presented by Dodge New England Region and national championship. Daniels recorded 14 wins and 18 top-five finishes in 18 starts in Claremont (N.H.) Speedway’s NASCAR Modified division. He will collect $166,000, a record point fund award for the series’ national champion. Daniels, 44, becomes the 17th driver to win the national championship in the 21-year history of the series. He is the second consecutive New England Region driver to win the national title, following in the tire tracks of 2001 national titlist Ted Christopher, of Plainville, CT.(51racing.com)(9-19-2002)
  • So if Penske goes to Dodge, what happens to the #77? According to crew chief Ryan Pemberton, the #77 will continue to field Fords regardless of Penske South’s decision and the partnership will remain status quo until Jasper is told otherwise. Sources inside Dodge insist that the Penske deal is complete, so that probably leaves Penske-Jasper Engines with additional Ford power plants that won’t be used in 2003. Despite Jasper’s consistent performance this season — Dave Blaney has completed 98.3 percent of all laps, more than any driver on the circuit — it would be difficult with 28 mechanics to make a transition to another manufacturer this late in the year even if it was considered part of the Penske package.(Sporting News)(9-19-2002)
  • NAPCM “Pit Crew of the Week” #12 Ford Crew: A do-or-die, lightening fast, lead gaining pit stop right before the rain shortened checkered flag earns the #12 crew this weeks NAPCM “Pit Crew Of The Week” award sponsored by “Toxabsorb”, “21st Century Spill Magnet”, and the “Official Spill Response Agent of the NAPCM”. Toxabsorb info available at www.toxabsorb.com.
    Third Quarter Finalist of Mechanix Wear “Pit Crew of the Year” Award – #88 UPS Crew
    First Quarter Finalist – #40 Coors Light Crew
    Second Quarter Finalist – #6 Viagra Crew
    Third Quarter Finalist – #88 UPS Crew
    Final Third Quarter Top Five Standings 
    1st Place – Crew #88 UPS – 66 Points
    2nd Place – Crew #20 Home Depot – 63 Points
    3rd Place – Crew #17 DeWalt Total Points – 58 Points
    4th Place (tie) – Crew #29 GM Goodwrench – 55 Points
    4th Place (tie)- Crew #97 Rubbermaid – 55 Points
    5th Place – Crew #24 Dupont – 46 Points
    Complete list of third quarter Mechanix Wear “Pit Crew of the Year” standings, available at the National Association of Pit Crew Members web site.(NAPCM PR)(9-19-2002)


    (9-18-2002)

  • Kenny Brack and DEI? Ganassi’s current CART lineup figures to look quite a bit different in the IRL next year. He’ll keep Scott Dixon and lose Bruno Junqueira, and Kenny Brack said last weekend he won’t be in CART in 2003. Ganassi will probably add Tora Takagi to keep Toyota happy, while Jeff Ward remains in limbo. Brack will go back to the IRL or possibly NASCAR (it’s rumored DEI would be interested in testing the ’99 Indy 500 winner in a Winston Cup car).(ESPN)(9-18-2002)
  • Tired of this yet…? More Penske to Dodge stuff: Roger Penske’s switch from Ford to Dodge for 2003 and beyond in NASCAR is more than a 50-50 proposition: A bit more than half the people around NASCAR say it’s done and the rest say it’s preposterous. Don Miller, an executive within Penske South, says the notion isn’t preposterous at all, but a deal isn’t done. “They’ve made us a pretty good offer, so we’re reviewing it,” he said at Loudon. “It would be difficult to switch brands, but we’ve done it before [switching from Pontiac to Ford]. We’ll decide something once NASCAR settles on its rules for next year. We want to see about the templates and what engine combinations would work best.”(Autoweek)(9-18-2002)
  • Dale Jr’s Flag in the Pits: Since #8-Dale Earnhardt Jr. won last fall’s Dover race – NASCAR’s first after the Sept.11 attacks – the American flag with which Earnhardt Jr. drove his victory lap has been set up in the team’s pit box for every race.(Roanoke Times)(9-18-2002)
  • Testing at Martinsville: Japanese driver #66-Hideo Fukuyama will test at Martinsville Speedway on Oct.8 and 9. Also scheduled to test those days at Martinsville are #40-Sterling Marlin, #28-Ricky Rudd, #30-Jeff Green and #02-Hermie Sadler.(Roanoke Times)(9-18-2002)
  • Testing at Kentucky II: #2-Rusty Wallace and the Penske Racing Test Team joined NASCAR Winston Cup circuit- mates #26-Todd Bodine and #77-Dave Blaney in addition to BGN driver Casey Kahne during an open Ford Racing test session at Kentucky Speedway today. Wallace made his first visit to the $152 million facility to test new set-ups for the NASCAR Winston Cup season stretch run. “I’ve never been here before in my life, but I’ve heard a lot about the facility,” Wallace said. “I’m real impressed with it. I love the location, how the garages are laid out, and really everything about it. It’s a pretty amazing facility that we’re not holding a Winston Cup race in at the current moment. There are a lot of facilities that I’d like to see one (a race) go away from and one to come here maybe, but the place is really neat. It’s a great place to test.” The Penske Test Team concentrated on suspension work during it’s two-day visit to Kentucky Speedway.(Kentucky Speedway PR)(9-18-2002)
  • France, France and Smith…on Forbes 400 List: NASCAR folks on the America’s Richest – The Forbes 400 – Bill France Jr and Jim France are tied at 209 with 1 billion dollars each and Speedway Motor Sports Bruton Smith is at #232 with $970 million. First? Bill Gates of Microsoft at (gasp) $43 billion (yo! sponsor a car!)(Forbes)(9-18-2002)
  • Hicks wins tournament: Didja hear who won the recent (Sept. 8) annual “racers & friends” fishing tournament hosted by professional angler Woo Daves, held south of Richmond?. It was none other than Larry Hicks, the hero credited with saving Jack Roush’s life earlier this year. “The fish weren’t biting very good,” reported Penske Racing’s gear & transmission specialist Scott Robinson.. “We had 43 boats and most guys didn’t even weigh fish in… I didn’t get a single bite all day. “When Larry weighed in over 7 pounds of fish to beat Jimmy Makar, the guys were asking, ‘wonder what he used for bait to catch all them fish?’.. I told them, ‘I heard he just jumped in and pulled them out,'” quipped Robinson.(Tom Roberts PR)(9-18-2002)

    (9-17-2002)

  • Testing at Kentucky: #6-Mark Martin, #40-Sterling Marlin and #17-Matt Kesneth are scheduled to test at Kentucky Speedway on Wednesday, September 18th.(Kentucky Speedway PR)(9-17-2002)
  • Junie Donlavey to Receive Smokey Yunick Award: Longtime NASCAR Winston Cup [#90] car owner Junie Donlavey will be honored with the Smokey Yunick Award, recognizing lifetime achievement in auto racing, prior to the Oct. 13 UAW-GM Quality 500 NASCAR Winston Cup event at Lowe’s Motor Speedway. The award, instituted several years ago by legendary car owner and mechanic Smokey Yunick who passed away May 11, 2001, annually recognizes an individual whose lifelong efforts have had a major impact on the motorsports industry. Through the years, Donlavey and his Richmond, Va.-based race team have fielded Winston Cup cars for more than 70 drivers, 14 of who were included among the list of NASCAR’s 50 Greatest Drivers in 1998. A Navy veteran, Donlavey tried his hand behind the wheel in the late 1940s and quickly saw his talents were better suited to owning and building race cars. He began fielding a modified stock car in 1949 and had Bob Apperson in the driver’s seat when NASCAR went superspeedway racing for the first time on Sept. 4, 1950, at South Carolina’s Darlington Raceway. The blue ribbon panel that annually determines the Smokey Yunick Award recipient unanimously selected Donlavey to receive this year’s award. Previous winners of the Smokey Yunick Award include Bill Simpson, Ralph Moody, Banjo Matthews, Bud Moore and Cotton Owens.(LMS PR)(9-17-2002)
  • Brett Bodine gets an assoc for rest of 2002: Brett Bodine Racing announced a new associate sponsor for the #11 Hooters Ford. Whizz Rollers (www.whizzroller.com), a product of Worktools International, Inc. has joined the team for the remainder of the 2002 NASCAR Winston Cup season. “We welcome Whizz Rollers to our team of other fine sponsors and look forward to a long and lasting relationship with these fine folks,” said Brett Bodine. Worktools International represents the world’s largest manufacturer of specialty and decorative paint applicators, with manufacturing facilities in Europe and North America. The line of Whizz products provides quality precision rollers, tools and kits to fill the needs of today’s professional and amateur painters.(BBR PR)(9-17-2002)
  • Terry Labonte looking to stay UPDATE 2: #5-Terry Labonte is reported to be negotiating with Rick Hendrick for a contract extension that would keep him on the team another three years.(Winston Salem Journal)(8-5-2002)
    UPDATE – Labonte One Year Offer? and… hearing that Hendrick Motorsports has offered Terry a one year renewal of his contract for 2003 and that the long term plan (no surprise) is to move Ricky Hendrick to the #5 and (surprise) put Casey Mears in the #25.(9-16-2002)
    UPDATE 2 – correction: Both Labonte and Kellogg’s have one year left in a three contract with Hendrick Motorsports and are signed until the end of the 2003 season and there is no current negotiation for an “extension” on Labontes contract at this point(9-17-2002)
  • New Hampshire TV Ratings: This Sunday’s New Hampshire 300 on NBC is the seventh consecutive NASCAR Winston Cup race on NBC & TNT that has experienced a ratings increase over the previous year and the sixth straight race to gain double-digit ratings percentage increases, according to Nielsen Media Research. Through 10 races (since NBC & TNT began broadcasting the second half of the NASCAR Winston Cup schedule) NASCAR on NBC & TNT is averaging a 4.3 rating, an eight percent increase over last year’s 4.0 rating over the same 10 races (beginning with the Tropicana 400 from Chicagoland Speedway on July 14). This is especially impressive considering the 34 percent ratings increase NASCAR on NBC & TNT experienced during its inaugural season in 2001. NBC’s coverage of Sunday’s New Hampshire 300 NASCAR Winston Cup race, including rain delay coverage, earned a 3.7 national rating/ 8 share (2-6:05 p.m. ET), a 16 percent increase over last year’s 3.2/9 for the same race, which was postponed until the day after Thanksgiving, Fri. Nov. 23, due to 9-11. The New Hampshire 300 rating peaked with a 5.1/10 from 5:30-6:05 p.m. ET as rookie Ryan Newman edged Kurt Busch to take his first career checkered flag in a NASCAR Winston Cup points race.(NBC PR)(9-17-2002)
  • #49 BAM Racing and Billy Ray at Dover UPDATE Lepage to drive: BAM Racing and MNR Productions have teamed up to bring the first in a series of special race weekend concerts to compliment their NASCAR Winston Cup program. Billy Ray Cyrus, star of the hit TV show “Doc” shown Sunday nights at 8:00 p.m. EST on the PAX TV network will launch the weekend with a LIVE performance at the historic DuPont Playhouse in Wilmington, DE, on Saturday Sept. 21 at 7:30 p.m. Then he will appear trackside at Dover Downs Speedway on Sunday to follow the Winston Cup action and the BAM Racing “Doc” racecar. Tickets are available at the box office or by calling 1-800-338-0881.(Williams Company PR), no word on who is driving the #49 Dodge, Shawna Robinson? Ron Hornaday? Stuart Kirby? Won’t be Derrike Cope as he is injured.(9-16-2002)
    UPDATE: Kevin Lepage will drive the #49 Dodge fielded by Beth Ann and Tony Morgenthau at Dover. Derrike Cope had been driving the BAM Racing Dodge but was injured in a BGN crash just over a week ago at Richmond. “Kevin Lepage has always shown an ability to adjust quickly and to drive fast,” Beth Ann Morgenthau said. “He has worked successfully with (crew chief) Scott Eggleston before, and that should certainly help us as he begins work with a brand new team. We think he will continue doing what he has done in the past, and give the BAM Racing Dodge team a tremendous effort.” The team has been strong in its last two outings. With Cope behind the wheel at Michigan, the car ran in the lead lap until the very end of the race and Cope spent time in the second half of the race in the top five. The effort at Bristol, Tenn., appeared to be a solid one but Cope was caught up in another car’s accident. “We’ve said all along that we are building a team here, and we will do what we need to do to be successful,” Morgenthau said. “We’ve made progress. We’re not where we want to be yet but we feel we’re headed in the right direction. We are grateful to Kevin Lepage for helping us with that at Dover.” Lepage finished 16th in this Dover race a year ago.(Williams Company PR), no word on Shawna Robinson’s future with the team.(9-17-2002)
  • Energizer Scheme? the Bunny? UPDATE: hearing Jimmy Spencer will run a Energizer Battery scheme sometime this season on the #41 Dodge, will be at Kansas.(4-30-2002)
    UPDATE: Target Chip Ganassi Racing will feature a new paint scheme for the Protection One 400 at Kansas Speedway on September 29. St. Louis-based Energizer will be the featured artwork on the #41 Energizer Dodge driven by Jimmy Spencer for this one event. The black and silver trim paint scheme will feature the famous Energizer Bunny® on the hood of the car.(Chip Ganassi Racing with Felix Sabates PR), see an image of the car on my Paint Scheme Gallery(9-17-2002)
  • Davis on Baldwin and Stoddard UPDATE: Bill Davis had an interesting week after he read in the newspapers that his crew chief, Tommy Baldwin, was entertaining a contract offer from Dale Earnhardt Inc. to fill the position vacated by Paul Andrews with Steve Park’s Chevrolet. Andrews left DEI last week to assume the crew chief job with Jeff Burton #99 Ford entry. Davis had several choice comments about Baldwin’s handling of the situation, and sources told teamfordracing.com that Ty Norris, general manager for DEI, also was unhappy with the public airing of contract negotiations in the media. Davis, addressing his crew chief possibilities said that he’s spoken with Frankie Stoddard this past week, and that he believes Baldwin will stay put where he is. “Frankie Stoddard and I have talked, but we haven’t talked about official job description capacity, yet,” said Davis. “I’d love to have Frankie. He’s one of the best crew chiefs in the garage. Tommy Baldwin seems to talk to [the media] more than he does me. I assume he’s staying. We’ll sit down and talk next week. I figure he’ll be crew chief for the [No.] 22 for a long time.”(Ford Racing)(9-15-2002)
    UPDATE: Tommy Baldwin is expected to re-sign with Bill Davis Racing [BDR], despite reports that he was leaving the organization to take the same role at DEI on the #1 Chevy with driver Steve Park. However, insiders at BDR say Philippe Lopez will not be returning to the #23 car with driver Kenny Wallace since the Hills Brothers sponsorship subsidizes his salary.(Sporting News)(9-16-2002)
    UPDATE announcement…this week? hearing the rumored hiring of crew cheif Frank Stoddard by Bill Davis Racing could come as early as this week (Wednesday?) AND Sunday morning on NASCAR This Morning, crew chief Tommy Baldwin said he expects to stay with Bill Davis Racing and the #22 Dodge next season.(9-17-2002)
  • Biffle’s plans: are to run up to five races for the #55 team as Hamilton’s sub and to run the Atlanta Cup race in the #16 Grainger Ford. Biffle has run one race in the #16 Ford and can only run 7 races so not to lose rookie eligible(9-17-2002)
  • Dale Jr on The Sporting News cover: Dale Earnhardt Jr. is on the cover the Sporting News which hits newsstands Wednesday. The title of the story is “In his own groove.” The focus of is how Junior’s driving style differs from his dad’s. The story was written by Roger Kuznia and includes observations from Junior, Larry McReynolds, Darrell Waltrip and Benny Parsons, among others. If anyone is interested in getting an 11 x 14 keepsake cover, for $35, they can contact The Sporting News at 800-443-1886, ext. 608.(9-17-2002)
  • Kenseth Spotter has team in place, included BGN: NASCAR All-Pro Series driver, Toby Porter of Greenville, SC, and Dirt Late Model driver, Adam Stevens of Portsmouth, OH, have been named as the primary drivers for MJ Motorsports [owned by #17 spotter Mike Calinoff] for the 2003 season. Porter, who has scored two wins on the All-Pro Series this season, will drive the Dodge Intrepids on the USAR Hooters Pro Cup Series. In addition, Porter will compete in a minimum of five BGN races in 2003 for MJ Motorsports. “I’m excited to have the opportunity to run the full Pro Cup Series with MJ Motorsports,” said Porter, “The alliance that Mike and Jenn have made with Team Jesel in the Busch Series will give us the resources to go for the (Hooters Pro Cup) championship.” Stevens, who at 23 has numerous wins on dirt, will compete as a Rookie and pilot the teams NASCAR Late Model Super Truck Dodges at the Hickory (NC) Motor Speedway. He currently works as a mechanical engineer for Petty Enterprises. “I am confident that a weekly racing program will help condition me for the future,” said Stevens, “we’ve got great equipment and I feel that I can adapt well to asphalt racing.” MJ Motorsports has recently formed a technical alliance with Team Jesel, who fields Dodges on the NASCAR Busch Series for drivers Casey Mears and Hank Parker, Jr. “I don’t think that we could have picked two better drivers than Toby and Adam to spearhead our foray to the next level of motorsports,” said Team Owner Mike Calinoff, who works for Winston Cup driver Matt Kenseth and Busch Series competitor Casey Mears as their Team Spotter, “their talents will speak for themselves.” Sponsorship announcements for both teams are forthcoming. More information at mikecalinoff.com.(9-17-2002)

    (9-16-2002)

  • #12 in #28 (to be #38) out: of the 2003 Winner’s Circle Program, for now. With #12-Ryan Newman’s win at NHIS and the teams higher standings in Owners Points, the #12 team is now in The Winners Circle Program and the the #28 RYR is out, if the #28 was to win or move ahead of the #12 in Owners Points, it would go back in. For more info on the program, see my Winners Circle page.(9-16-2002)
  • DEI #1 Team Down to two Choices for Crew Chief: Ty Norris, the manager at Dale Earnhardt Inc., says he’s down to two men for the post of crew chief for Steve Park’s team. “We’ve got two guys we’re comfortable with. I’ve very pleased with the interest people have shown in this position,” Norris said. “It shows the team hasn’t lost any of its luster.” Norris says he may or may not hire one of the two within the next few weeks. “We know that Steve Hmiel and Dave Charpentier and the guys can handle the job the rest of the year,” Norris says. “We just need someone to come in and get started on 2003.” Tommy Baldwin is one man under consideration for the job. Frankie Stoddard is another crew chief working the marketplace. Jimmy Elledge [#55 team] is another crew chief who is on various wish-lists.(Winston Salem Journal)(9-16-2002)
  • US Army and Nadeau…to the #36? UPDATE 2: The U.S.Army is expected to be on the quarterpanels of the #36 Pontiacs owned by Nelson Bowers and Thomas Beard [MB2] and driven by Ken Schrader the past two seasons. Jerry Nadeau is expected to get that ride. It is unclear where Schrader might wind up.(Winston Salem Journal)
    UPDATE: been told that the Army was at Richmond over the weekend and has spoken to many teams concerning sponsorship.(9-9-2002)
    UPDATE 2: There is still no official word about the U.S. Army sponsorship that the Jay Frye-Nelson Bowers-Thomas Beard team is expected to sign for next season. The U.S. Army – after watching the Navy, Marines and Air Force get such good publicity through NASCAR sponsorships – has decided to step on to this PR playing field, according to Detroit sources. Ken Schrader has been driving for the team the past two seasons, but Jerry Nadeau is expected to get that ride for 2003. Where Schrader might wind up is unclear.(Winston Salem Journal)(9-16-2002)
  • Special Flag: The 90-by-45-foot flag used during the national anthem [at NHIS] held a little more significance than just a symbol of our land’s freedom. The mammoth emblem will become the first flag commissioned by the newly developed Department of Homeland Security by Nov. 1 when it will be flown at the Marine Base in Quantico, Va. The flag is currently being kept at the U.S.S. Constitution in Boston as a part of the National Flag Exhibition. “We wanted to get a sense of America and the people with the flag,” National Flag Exhibition Director Marc Valentine said. “We wanted to get the good will of New Hampshire upon it.”(Citizen Online)(9-16-2002)

    Thanks to Dale of the Kenny Wallace Racing site for the image

  • #25 Changes: Because just one year remains on the UAW-Delphi sponsorship, Hendrick Motorsports is making major moves to turn around the #25 team. Ed Guzzo, who was instrumental in building the #24 car with Ray Evernham, has returned to assist new crew chief Peter Sospenzo. “Peter requested that Ed come to the track to help him through the transition and you won’t find anyone that works harder,” said John Hendrick, president of Hendrick Motorsports. “Ed’s attention to detail is second to none.” Guzzo has been overseeing the #25 shop at Hendrick’s operation in Concord, NC, and has not been to the track since he returned to the company last year. Not only does Hendrick hope to restore the team to attract a top driver for next year, but the team has to be running on eight cylinders to entice a sponsor should UAW-Delphi not renew its contract.(Sporting News)(9-16-2002)
  • TV Stuff on NBC about Tony Stewart and the EMT: In the most recently reported incident involving driver Tony Stewart, in which a safety worker accused Stewart of striking him while exiting his car following a crash at the July race here, the New England 300. Today NBC showed never-before-seen footage of the alleged incident. NBC pre-race host and lead pit reporter Bill Weber explained that NASCAR saw the tape this morning: “They reviewed it and restated their original opinion that they do not consider this an issue. It is over with and closed. Now, from the garage there is some concern that the bulls-eye on Tony Stewart seems to be growing.” NBC analyst Wally Dallenbach explained to viewers that, as a driver, he used to speak to track safety workers during safety seminars. He explained what was going through his, and likely Tony Stewart’s mind, while exiting the car after an on-track accident: “If I’m in a wreck and I’m okay, give me room. Do not touch me. Do not get in my space because I’m angry. When you get out of that car you’re very ticked off and you don’t want anybody touching or grabbing you.” NBC analyst Benny Parsons said the incident “was blown out of proportion, but Tony was wrong in doing that. The guy was just trying to help him.”(NBC PR)(9-16-2002)
  • No Hornish in NASCAR? UPDATE Hendrick looking at Hornish? Because of his battle for the IRL championship, combined with his agent negotiating an extension with Pennzoil Panther Racing, Sam Hornish Jr. admitted that time is running out for him with NASCAR. “Because of everything that has gone on with this season, we have put a lot of things on hold until after the IRL season is over,” Hornish said after testing his IRL car at Chicagoland Speedway last Wednesday. “With all that is going on, I would say it’s more likely that we won’t be doing any NASCAR races next season. It’s so late in the game right now that in order to properly do it, I would have already liked to have had a deal together. Any involvement would probably have to wait one more year.” Earlier this summer, Hornish admitted he had talked with Ty Norris, president of DEI, about doing a selected number of Winston Cup and BGN races next season in addition to his full IRL schedule. Hornish was interested in competing in the Daytona 500 and the Brickyard 400 at Indy. Norris expressed interest in adding Hornish to DEI’s lineup, even if it were for just a few races. Since that time, Steve Park has had his contract extended for another year as the driver of the Pennzoil Chevrolet. Dale Earnhardt Jr. drives the 8-Budweiser Chevy and Michael Waltrip the #15-NAPA Chevy for DEI. “What we are focusing on now is getting my contract extended with Panther Racing in the IRL,” Hornish said. “I’m locked in with the team through 2003, but we would like to extend it until 2005.” As for a possible switch to NASCAR, Hornish said his heart belongs in open wheel cars, but he is open to new opportunities in the future. “If I win the IRL title three or four times, maybe it would be time for me to try something different,” Hornish said. “I love Indy cars and I always want to race in the Indianapolis 500. I also have to ask myself if I want to race 36 or 38 times a year in NASCAR. “It’s funny — people in the IRL say I need to consider racing in NASCAR and people in NASCAR say I’m pretty valuable to the IRL. It depends on which side of the fence you’re on as to where I should go.”(ESPN)(9-6-2002)
    UPDATE: Sam Hornish Jr., who captured his second consecutive Indy Racing League championship Sunday, is on the short list of drivers being considered for Hendrick Motorsports’ #25 Chevy in the Winston Cup series next season, ThatsRacin.com has learned. Hornish, 23, who had been touted in recent months as a possible driver for Dale Earnhardt Inc. because of sponsorship ties, is a “serious candidate” for the #25 ride, sources confirmed Sunday. Among the other drivers being considered are the team’s current driver, Joe Nemechek, BGN drivers Scott Riggs and Ron Hornaday. Hornish now drives for Panther Racing in the IRL with sponsor Pnnzoil, which also sponsors the Cup team of DEI’s Steve Park. Hendrick team officials on Sunday would say only that no decision had been made about a driver for the #25 in the 2003 season. Hornish won the 2001 IRL title in his first year in the series and finished with three wins and led the most laps in six of 13 races. He had five wins, including Sunday’s at Texas, this season.(ThatsRacin.com)(9-15-2002)
    AND more Here’s more on Sam Hornish Jr.’s future from Sunday’s IRL post-race celebration on ABC: Jack Arute: “Tell me what you and Dale Earnhardt Jr. talked about a couple of weeks ago.” Sam Hornish Jr.: “I had a talk about deciding what you wanted to do for the rest of your life. You have your choice, he said, ‘You’ve got make up your mind whether you want to be a stock car driver for the rest of your life or an Indy car driver.’ I still got to win that Indianapolis 500, and it’s becoming more apparent all the time what I need to be doing.”(MotorsportsTV)(9-16-2002)
  • Closed Door Meeting at NHIS: NASCAR conducted a closed-door meeting with Winston Cup drivers Sunday, following the regularly scheduled prerace driver and crew chief meeting. NASCAR spokesman Jim Hunter said officials asked drivers to constantly be aware of their surroundings and to remember to “act like professionals.” Hunter said officials also expressed their plan to address some of the issues of fans in the garage area next season.(ThatsRacin.com)(9-16-2002)
  • Engine Stuff: Larry Lackey, the Robert Yates’ motor room specialist who was involved in last week’s garage fight with Ricky Rudd, is expected to move to Kyle Petty’s Dodge team, according to sources. And Cal Wells’ new GM engine operation next season, which will be Wells’ first in-house venture, is expected to be handled by specialists moving over from Yates’ operation.(Winston Salem Journal)(9-16-2002)
  • Benson not happy with Wallace: #10-Johnny Benson, who started on the outside pole and was within striking distance throughout before finishing fourth, was not happy with the driving of race winner #12-Ryan Newman’s teammate, #2-Rusty Wallace. The two brushed and Benson wiggled and slowed. “I’m pleased with the way we ran, just not pleased with the 2 car (Wallace). But he wants his teammate to win and that’s how he does it. I think the team cars showed you how they played that deal. That’s too bad. We had a good enough lead that to have that happen was kind of ridiculous.”(Union Leader)(9-16-2002)
  • Spencer in trouble? Kyle Petty is waiting on John Andretti’s decision whether he will return to Petty Enterprises next year. It’s possible Andretti, along with Bobby Hamilton and Jerry Nadeau, are both waiting to see if anything happens with Jimmy Spencer’s job at Chip Ganassi Racing. Spencer, who’s struggled all year, apparently needs a couple strong finishes in the next few weeks to keep his job. Because of that, several drivers seem content with waiting it out. Hamilton said he’s not in any hurry to find work in 2003. He’s already tendered his resignation at Andy Petree Racing, effective at the end of the year. Petree hasn’t found a replacement, and he’s probably waiting to see who’s available if and when Ganassi makes the next move.(Augusta Chronicle)(9-16-2002)
  • BAM Racing and Billy Ray at Dover: BAM Racing and MNR Productions have teamed up to bring the first in a series of special race weekend concerts to compliment their NASCAR Winston Cup program. Billy Ray Cyrus, star of the hit TV show “Doc” shown Sunday nights at 8:00 p.m. EST on the PAX TV network will launch the weekend with a LIVE performance at the historic DuPont Playhouse in Wilmington, DE, on Saturday Sept. 21 at 7:30 p.m. Then he will appear trackside at Dover Downs Speedway on Sunday to follow the Winston Cup action and the BAM Racing “Doc” racecar. Tickets are available at the box office or by calling 1-800-338-0881.(Williams Company PR), no word on who is driving the #49 Dodge, Shawna Robinson? Ron Hornaday? Stuart Kirby? Won’t be Derrike Cope as he is injured.(9-16-2002)
  • Sad News: A 35-year-old Kalamazoo man, Dion Kevin Parish, was killed Saturday afternoon while driving practice laps around the track at the Kalamazoo Speedway in Michigan. Howe, who has owned the track for the past two years, believes this was the first accident that resulted in a death at the speedway in over a decade. “You can’t express, I don’t know really what to say. Our thoughts go out the family,” he said. Alone on the track, Parish had just completed four or five laps at moderate speed when the modified car he was driving sped off suddenly coming through turn one, Howe said. Apparently unable to control the car, Parish went charging head on into the side of the safety truck parked at the pit entrance, just a few hundred feet from the turn. He was pronounced dead at the scene, according to the Kalamazoo County Sheriff’s Department. The Kalamazoo man was wearing a harness, but no head-and-neck restraint, Howe said. Scott Richard Weimer, the driver sitting in the safety truck that Parish hit, was not injured by the impact. Howe, who has over 20 years experience racing cars, said he didn’t know for sure but that it appeared the race car’s throttle became stuck, causing the car to speed up unexpectedly.(Michigan Live)(9-16-2002)
  • Tim Sauter back in the #71 at Dover: What does it mean to compete at the Cup level: “It is a thrill just to be a part of it. Millions of people wish they had the opportunity to run a Winston Cup Race. I am lucky to have the chance. I will try my best for Marcis again in Dover, hopefully we can put a good run together.”(Tim Sauter Site)(9-16-2002)

 


(9-15-2002)

 

  • Ryan Newman wins rained shortened race at New Hampshire #12-Ryan Newman wins his first career Winston Cup race (points), the 2nd rookie this year to win (#48-Johnson won earlier this year). Newman became the third driver to record his first career victory at NHIS, joining Joe Nemechek(1999) and Robbie Gordon(2001). #97-Kurt Busch ended up 2nd in a race shortened to 207 laps (of 300). #6-Mark Martin takes over the Winston Cup points lead, 6 points over #40-Sterling Marlin who had led the points since Rockingham in Feb. The race ended after 207 of scheduled 300 laps after heavy rain started falling.
    Results at ThatsRacin.com or NASCAR.com.(9-15-2002)
  • Geoffrey Bodine finishes 24th, former CTS driver wins: In the days leading to the NASCAR Featherlite Modified Series New Hampshire 125, much of the talk was about New York state native Geoffrey Bodine returning to the division for the first time in 19 years. When the dust settled from one of the wildest finishes ever at New Hampshire International Speedway, Chuck Hossfeld (former Roush Racing CTS driver), 25, came out on top Saturday. It was the first Modified Series victory for Hossfeld, of Ransomville, NY, who drives for owner Bob Garbarino of Mystic. Mike Stefanik of Coventry, R.I., was second and John Blewett III of Howell, N.J. third. Bodine, 53, finished 24th as the last car on the lead lap in his first Modified race since 1983.(Hartford Courant)
    Also see images of Bodines car in the race at www.horizonassociates.com/loudon/.(9-15-2002)
  • DW’s car stolen UPDATE: One NASCAR driver is missing some property after thieves race off with a car over 20 years old. A 1979 Jaguar belonging to Darrell Waltrip was stolen. According to Charlotte-Mecklenburg police records, early Wednesday morning someone broke into Eurotech International on Morehead Street in west Charlotte. The license plates from the car showed up later Wednesday on another stolen car.(nbc6.com)(9-14-2002)
    UPDATE: been told the car was found the next morning by police in pefect condition.(9-15-2002)


    (9-14-2002)

  • Skinner wrecks at Kansas UPDATE 2: #4-Mike Skinner was involved in a crash at Kansas Speedway during tesiting Wednesday. Hearing a right front tire blew out on the #4 Kodak Chevy. Heavy impact with the wall caused the car to become engulfed in flames. Skinner was treated at the infield care center and then taken to a local Medical Center in Kansas City for further tests and evaluation and was released Wednesday evening.(9-12-2002)
    UPDATE: PRN’s Garage Pass talked with Mike Skinner just a little bit after seeing one of several doctors Thursday. He was scheduled to see his doctor in Florida Thursday night about his right knee which was injured in the crash. It’s the same knee he had operated on this time last year. He’s says he pretty banged up, but he will be in New Hampshire to practice on Friday to see how he feels. Depending on that he may ask Larry McClure [#4 car owner] to find a sub for him. The quotes: “I’m gonna be okay…I’m just beat up a little bit and my face is burned a little bit. I’m gonna try it (practice) tomorrow (Friday) and see how it goes. If I don’t feel like can give them (the team) 100% and if I feel like I’m jeopardizing myself then I’ll have them put somebody else in it.” Skinner thinks the Kansas Speedway testing accident knocked the fuel pump off and knocked the firewall out of the car and blew fire up in the car. He says, “I don’t remember, but I guess it was a pretty big fire.” The Kodak Chevy driver says his safety equipment did “a great job”.(PRN’s Garage Pass Radio show)(9-13-2002)
    UPDATE 2: Mike Skinner, driver of the #4 Kodak Max Film Monte Carlo, qualified fifth for the New Hampshire 300 following a horrific crash at Kansas Speedway: “We were a little timid after our crash the other day (testing at Kansas Speedway) and I think we were second fastest the second time we went out. We got off on the chassis a little bit and lost the car some and then toward the end of the practice, we started getting it better and better. They’re making some changes on the car, but we’re really satisfied with the car right now. We’re just trying to figure out this front-end stuff with the softer springs and all that we’re running. We’re excited. We feel like we still could contribute to the Monte Carlo camp before we go to Pontiac next year. I’d like to go out with a bang for them. I’m sore. I’m beat up a little bit. I thought about not driving. And then I decided to try it for a couple of laps. If I didn’t feel right, we’d just get somebody else. But I felt okay and we started working on the car and the next thing I knew, practice was over.. Then I went out and qualified. We’ll just see how it goes. Happy Hour will tell the tale tomorrow. I will know after the completion of it if we need someone to standby for the race Sunday. Heck, I told Chris Carrier (crew chief) that we might just suit him up and send him out in the car.”(GM PR)(9-14-2002)
    AND after Happy Hour: “Considering what I’ve been through this week, I’m feeling pretty good. I’m a little short on energy. It’s like when you’re trying to shake the flu. You get up in the morning and you feel fine, but you run out of energy real quick. I think I’ll be stronger by (Sunday). “I’m not going to give up. I think I’ll be fine in the car. I’m going to get a lot of rest (Saturday night) and that should help. Right now the plan is for me to drive the car the entire race.”(GM PR)(9-14-2002)
  • Stewart Accused by NHIS EMT: Tony Stewart has been accused by an emergency medical technician at New Hampshire International Speedway of punching him during the July race at the track. EMT Phil Jewett said Stewart punched him as he attempted to attend to Stewart following the driver’s wreck on Lap 121. “As soon as he saw me in the corner of his eye he swung at me and hit me in the left arm,” Jewett told The Concord (N.H.) Monitor in Saturday’s edition. Track officials were unable to confirm if Jewett was working this weekend’s race. Jim Hunter, NASCAR’s vice president for communications, said Jewett notified the Winston Cup series’ medical liaison the day of the incident and the liaison notified NASCAR President Mike Helton. Hunter confirmed that Helton spoke with Jewett the day of the incident and also spoke with Stewart. “That issue ended here. Outside of a ‘Get your hands off me’ gesture or that kind of stuff, we knew Tony was upset that day because he wouldn’t get in the ambulance and wouldn’t go to the infield care center,” Hunter said. “One of things they tell them in the safety meeting, is when the guys get out of the cars, don’t put your hands on them. They tell the EMTs that these guys are mad when they get out of the car,” Hunter said. “In this instance, we just felt (Stewart) just shrugged (Jewett’s) hands off of him.” Hunter said he considered the incident closed and was surprised Jewett chose to bring the issue up again. Jewett told the paper he came forward because he said Helton had told him he would investigate the incident and get back to him. “Nobody ever got back to me,” Jewett told the paper. “They didn’t get back to my supervisors or anyone from Raceway Ambulance. That’s another reason why I’m irritated about it now.” Stewart’s team spokesman, Mike Arning, said Stewart would not comment on the issue. Arning and others with the team could not comment because they were not with Stewart when the incident occurred. “NASCAR is the eyes and ears of the race and they say they couldn’t find any evidence of anything wrong and we accept that,” he said.(ThatsRacin.com) and more at NASCAR.com.(9-14-2002)
  • Penske Q&A: Q: Can you comment on the rumors that your Winston Cup teams will switch from Ford to Dodge next season? Roger Penske A: Our contract is up [with Ford], and when our contracts are up, we look and see what’s available out there. We obviously have talked to Ford. We’ve talked to Dodge and in fact, built a Dodge engine and run that. … But we’ve got to make a decision here by the end of the month.(Fort Worth Star Telegram)(9-14-2002)
  • Stoddard wants to stay a Cup Crew Chief: Frank Stoddard, recently replaced by Paul Andrews on Jeff Burton’s #99 team, made it clear Friday that he still has his mind set on being a Winston Cup crew chief. Stoddard still works for Roush Racing and said he has been offered the chance to stay there and work with Roush’s Truck series operations. But he doesn’t sound like he’s seriously considering that option. “I’ve had calls from three or four teams,” Stoddard said. “There’s no doubt in my mind that I have something to offer some team in this garage.”(ThatsRacin.com)(9-14-2002)
  • Rudd staying at the #28 for the rest of 2002: When asked today at New Hampshire if there is any consideration of a Rudd for Sadler swap before seasons end Rudd said “No, absolutely none, zero.” He went on to say…”I’m moving forward, I’m gonna run the rest of the season…put that behind me.”(PRN’s Garage Pass Radio Show)(9-14-2002)
  • Hermie Sadler announcment? NASCAR’s Hermie Sadler (#02) will be at this Wednesday’s NWA (National Wrestling Alliance) TNA. He is expected to make a big announcement concerning NASCAR and TNA.(NWATNA.com)(9-14-2002)
  • Templates: For the 2003 season, each of the manufacturers has been given 32 templates, 18 which are identical for all cars. There’s a bigger agenda with incorporating similar templates and a standard body location — which will be officially announced sometime over the next few weeks as measuring 60 inches from the top of the windshield to the middle of the rear tires — and that is to even up the playing field.(more at the Sporting News)(9-14-2002)

    (9-13-2002)

  • No 2nd PPI team? It doesn’t appear as though #32-Ricky Craven will have a teammate when he makes the move from Ford to Pontiac with the PPI Motorsports team. That was the word from PPI Motorsports owner Cal Wells III Tuesday. “Right now, it’s way up in the air. We’ll most likely be a single-car team again next year. My preference would be to get a second car but I don’t feel we’re in the right place for that opportunity to happen right now. But we’ll work at it,” said Wells. Wells said he is excited about the opportunity with Pontiac and that they will build the engines themselves. He is in the process of hiring an engineer to head up the engine program.(Bangor Daily News – need to register to read)(9-13-2002)
  • Marlin expected to race at NHIS: #40-Coors Light Dodge crew chief Lee McCall was on PRN’s “The Pitreporters” show on Wednesday and said driver Sterling Marlin has been undergoing physical therapy three times a day this week following his injuries at Richmond. McCall think Marlin will be 100% by Sunday. Even though Marlin wears a Hutchins safety device, and Mcall said it did it’s job during the crash, Marlin would probably wear a HANS device during testing next week at Kentucky Speedway to see how it feels to him.(PRN’s Pit Reporters Radio show)(9-13-2002)
  • Geoffrey Bodine gets outside pole for Modified race: Winston Cup veteran Geoff Bodine returned to NASCAR Modified racing after nearly 20 years away from the open-wheeled division and grabbed the outside pole for tomorrow’s New Hampshire 100 at New Hampshire International Speedway. Pole honors went to 20-year-old Nevin George of Kunkletown, Pa., who ran a 29.806 seconds fast lap for 127.786 mph — his third pole of the season leading the series.(Union Leader)(9-13-2002)
  • No NASCAR for this Foyt: A.J. Foyt IV, who is trying to win the first Infiniti Pro Series championship, said he has no interest in switching to NASCAR: “I like open-wheel much better than taxi cab racing.”(Dallas Morning News)(9-13-2002)

    (9-12-2002)

  • Sadler/Rudd both test the #21 at Kentucky: Wood Bros. Racing became the first NASCAR Winston Cup team to test at Kentucky under its new agreement with Ford Racing that allows any of the manufacturer’s sanctioned race teams exclusive access to the 1.5-mile tri-oval each Tuesday through 2004. Wood Bros. tested two new chassis on Sept. 10 with its 2003 NASCAR Winston Cup Driver Ricky Rudd and also worked on race set-ups that will benefit current driver Elliot Sadler. “We’re testing with Ricky Rudd to find out what kind of chassis he likes, Wood Bros. Owner Len Wood said. œOne car is brand new and one has a couple races under it, but they’re different styles. We’ll have new rules on the body next year so we’re talking about building a lot of new cars so we wanted an idea to try to get a jump start. Next year will be a little different because they’re (NASCAR) going to more common templates for the cars. Each will have their own noses and tails and side glass, but the contours of the hood, roof and back glass will basically be the same. The main change for next year is the body location (on the chassis). The Daytona cars the body will move forward for better aerodynamics and less drag, and it will be the opposite when you go to the speedways. The shorter the track, the farther back you would put it (the body).” Wood also commented on the unique situation of testing a new driver for the 2003 season while preparing to finish the current season with a different driver. “It’s a new situation for us,” Wood said. “Our race team was kind of ˜spun out” and shocked when Elliot asked out (of his contract) early in the season. We tried to put that behind us and focus on racing because we still have to keep going 100 percent for Elliot Sadler. We may be back here in a week or so with Elliot to try to figure something out. We’re not giving up on him at all, but we decided to use this opportunity to test Ricky for next year.”(Kentucky Speedway PR)(9-12-2002)
  • Earnhardt Tribute Postponed 5 days: The unveiling of the sculpture marking the Dale Earnhardt Tribute has been postponed until Oct. 14, five days later than the original date of Oct. 9. The ceremony, called “Kannapolis Celebrates the Life of a Legend: The Dale Earnhardt Tribute Statue Unveiling,” will begin at 10:00am at Dale Earnhardt Plaza, formerly known as Funderburk Park. During a Tuesday night meeting, the Dale Earnhardt Tribute Steering Committee decided to move the date of the unveiling due to scheduling conflicts with a number of individuals, said Jennifer Woodford, Kannapolis’ public information officer. The rescheduling could also affect the possibility of country music star Travis Tritt attending and performing at the ceremony, said John Cox, CEO of the Cabarrus Regional Chamber of Commerce.(Independent Tribune)(9-12-2002)
  • Update on Bill France Jr: Bill France, chairman of NASCAR and International Speedway Corp., continues to recover from heart and hip surgery at an undisclosed hospital. France, 69, slipped, fell and broke his hip at a local restaurant on Aug. 27. After being examined by doctors, France had a triple bypass heart operation, followed two days later by hip surgery. “Bill’s doing very well,” said David Talley, ISC’s director of corporate communications. “He’s been up and walking since this past weekend and constantly asking about the business.” France has assorted but expected “aches and pains for a man who had heart and hip surgery,” Talley said. “Bill is in good spirits and his doctors expect him to make a full recovery from these surgeries, although no timetable for his release has been established,” Talley said Wednesday. The family won’t say where France is hospitalized.(Daytona Beach News Journal)(9-12-2002)
  • Yates Statement: Team owner Robert Yates issued the following statement Wednesday regarding the Rudd/Lackey incident: “On behalf of Robert Yates Racing and our team members, I want to apologize to our many fans, sponsors, associates and NASCAR for the incident that took place at Richmond International Raceway last Saturday night after the race,” he said. “After meeting with my team members I feel confident that in moving forward, all those associated with RYR will compete and represent themselves in a manner that our fans and sponsors will be proud of.”(ThatsRacin.com)(9-12-2002)
  • Andretti and Petty test at Dover: #43-John Andretti, who was testing a Petty Dodge at Dover on Tuesday and Wednesday, isn’t saying yet what that decision will be. He was careful to give no real hint of his plans in an interview with The Associated Press. “Any driver announcement is up to the team and the sponsor,” Andretti said. “I’ll let them take care of that when the time comes. It would be easier to leave than it is to stay and work on things and make them better,” he added. “But I believe in the Petty organization. I’m extremely close (to a decision).” #45-Kyle Petty, who runs the team based in Randleman, N.C., and is Andretti’s teammate, also was in Dover for the test.(ESPN/AP)(9-12-2002)
  • IRWIN Rough to Finish Award #26 Team: Todd Bodine, driver of the No. 26 Discover Card Ford, battled back after an early spin to finish fifth in Saturday night’s Chevy Monte Carlo 400 at Richmond International Raceway, helping to earn crew chief Donnie Wingo this week’ s IRWIN “Rough to the Finish” Award. The early bad break for the team happened on lap 16 when former Winston Cup champion Terry Labonte clipped Bodine, causing both cars to spin. Despite sheet metal damage near the right front tire, Bodine was able to keep going until a caution flag came out a few laps later. Under caution, Wingo called the No. 26 in to have the sheet metal pulled out, along with taking on four fresh tires and fuel. Bodine was forced to take the green flag on lap 24 in 35th position. By lap 200, Bodine rebounded back into the top 20, and within 40 laps, he was racing just shy of the top 10. With fuel mileage becoming an issue, Wingo urged Bodine to coast whenever possible to conserve fuel. Thanks to Wingo’s great advice and great pit stops all night, Bodine crossed the finish line in fifth place, just as he ran out of gas. “It was a great run for the Discover Card Ford,” said Wingo. “We’ve had some really bad luck due to no fault of our own early, but this time we had lady luck on our side in the end. These guys did a great job in the pits all day, and Todd drove a great race. This award is a credit to the entire team’s effort tonight.”
    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)(9-12-2002)


    (9-11-2002)

  • New #44 Crew Chief: Gary Putnum, 32, has been named as crew chief for the #44 Georgia-Pacific Dodge team and driver Jerry Nadeau effective immediately. Greg Steadman, who had been crew chief, will now take the position of Manager of Shop Operations. Steadman’s duties will include overseeing the day-to-day activities of car preparation for all cars in the shop at Petty Enterprises. “The opportunity to bring a talent like Gary into a leadership position and further organize what we are doing at the race shop at the same time was too good to pass up,” said Kyle Petty, CEO of Petty Enterprises. “Greg Steadman suggested we look at this kind of setup and when we saw we could add Gary to that mix, we went for it. This is the kind of move that might not seem as big as it is. This is a major positive move for Petty Enterprises, and one that will help us as we continue to move forward with our organization,” he added. Putnum joins Petty Enterprises after two years with MBV Motorsports, serving as car chief for driver Johnny Benson. A native of Vermont where he developed on the NASCAR Featherlite Modified Series, Putnum has been working in NASCAR Winston Cup competition for seven years.(Williams Company PR)(9-11-2002)
  • Rudd tangles with team member after race UPDATE 2- Fines issued, employee quits: Winston Cup driver [#28] Ricky Rudd and a member of his Robert Yates Racing team got into a physical confrontation following Saturday night’s race at Richmond. As Rudd was preparing to leave the garage area, he and the crew member – whose name the team declined to reveal – started a heated exchange, apparently over comments made by Rudd earlier in the week to USA Today questioning the quality of engines his #28 team receives from RYR. According to witnesses, the crew member threw a punch at Rudd and Rudd responded by throwing a water bottle at the crew member, hitting him in the head. The two were then separated. Team spokesman Steve Post said the incident was considered a “family matter” and would be handled internally. NASCAR spokeswoman Danielle Frye said the sanctioning body was made aware of the incident.(ThatsRacin.com)(9-8-2002)
    AND FSN’s Totally NASCAR has exclusive video of the Ricky Rudd-RYR crew member altercation, which will be aired tonight at 6:00pm/local or 6:30pm/et on Speed Channel. The RYR employee was Engine R&D man, Larry Lacky, punched Rudd in the left eye, Rudd fired a water bottle back at Lacky, hitting him on the head.(9-9-2002)
    UPDATE – Fines: Robert Yates Racing team member Larry Lackey and driver Ricky Rudd were fined and placed on probation by NASCAR for their altercation in the garage area following Saturday night™s NASCAR Winston Cup Series race at Richmond International Raceway. Lackey was fined $10,000 for his role in the altercation between the two while Rudd, driver of the No. 28 Ford Taurus, received a $5,000 fine. Both were placed on probation until Dec. 31. Lackey and Rudd were penalized under Section 12-4-A in the NASCAR Winston Cup Series rule book: “Actions detrimental to stock car racing: Involved in an altercation with a team member.” Lackey also was penalized under 12-4-F: “Fighting.”. “In every fight, there has to be an aggressor and a retaliator,” NASCAR Winston Cup Series Director John Darby said. “The incident between Larry and Ricky took place in the garage area and we, as a sanctioning body, govern the pits and garage. We will not tolerate people hitting each other in those areas.”(NASCAR PR)(9-10-2002)
    UPDATE 2: Robert Yates Racing engine research and development employee Larry Lackey, who punched the team’s Winston Cup driver, Ricky Rudd, following Saturday night’s race at Richmond has resigned, team officials confirmed Wednesday. Lackey and Rudd got into a heated discussion following the race over comments Rudd had made earlier in the week questioning the quality of engines his #28 team was receiving since he is leaving the organization at the end of the season. Lackey struck Rudd in his left eye and Rudd retaliated by throwing a water bottle at Lackey, cutting him in the forehead, before the two were separated. Tuesday, NASCAR fined Lackey $10,000 and Rudd $5,000 for their involvement in the incident and placed both on probation until Dec. 31.(ThatsRacin.com)(9-11-2002)
  • Stewart to wait two weeks: Sullivan County investigators have wrapped up their probe of Tony Stewart, but the NASCAR driver will wait another two weeks to learn if he will be charged with assaulting a fan at Bristol. “The investigation is pretty much finished except to turn it over to (prosecutors),” Sullivan County Sheriff Wayne Anderson said Tuesday. “It will be turned over on Monday.” Prosecutors have said the case will be presented to a county grand jury at the end of the month; the grand jury will decide whether to issue an indictment in the case. Meanwhile, Anderson has made public an incident report filed by Deputy Shane Christian — the officer who said he witnessed the encounter between Stewart and the woman. Christian wrote that he saw the 31-year-old NASCAR driver shove the woman against a race trailer at 11:30 p.m. after the running of the Sharpie 500 on Aug. 24 at Bristol Motor Speedway. He filed the report four days after the alleged incident. “He took his left arm and shoved her out of the way. The female’s back struck the Home Deport car hauler and she appeared to trip over either tires or rims that were lying at her feet,” Christian wrote. Stewart yelled an obscenity and told the woman to get out of his way, Christian wrote. The deputy said he spoke with Shaffer immediately after the incident and asked if she wanted to charge the driver, according to the report. The woman apparently was unharmed in the incident, authorities have said.(Bristol Herald Courier)(9-11-2002)
  • Petty to announce Andretti’s signing…today? UPDATE NO: Kyle Petty has a news conference set for today [doesn’t say where or what time], and it is widely expected that he will announce that John Andretti has signed a new contract. Andretti’s future has been the subject of much debate the last few weeks, with several other teams vying for his services. What Andretti has wanted most out of a new contract is the OK to run in the Indy 500 in May.(Winston Salem Journal)
    UPDATE: There is no press conference with Petty Enterprises scheduled today, and none is anticipated.(9-9-2002)
    UPDATE 2: Kyle Petty may have answered one of the key lingering questions involving Winston Cup racing’s 2003 lineup during an appearance at a Charlotte church Monday evening. Petty, answering a question at Hickory Grove Baptist Church where he took part in a program featuring Oliver North as the key speaker, said John Andretti has agreed to stay with Petty Enterprises as driver of the No. 43 Dodges. A team spokesman on Tuesday said that Petty’s remarks did not constitute an official announcement that Andretti will return, and that nothing has been signed to that effect. Petty said Saturday at Richmond International Raceway that he hoped Andretti would return but that his family’s team was still waiting on a decision. One possible option if Andretti decided to leave the team went away over the weekend when Chip Ganassi announced he had hired Jamie McMurray to drive for his third team with the Chevron/Texaco sponsorship.(ThatsRacin.com)(9-11-2002)
  • Rusty wants changes at NHIS: Rusty Wallace said he hopes New Hampshire International Speedway will make “major, major changes” following this weekend’s Winston Cup race at the 1-mile oval. The track surface proved to be hazardous in two of the turns that were repaved prior to the July 21 race at the Loudon track. “They need to get started with the project as soon as they can after we run there on Sunday,” Wallace said. “They’re going to have to come in there and bulldoze the place; they’re going to have to rebuild the track, reconstruct the turns. They need to come in there and put some banking in the turns and make it a permanent fix, not just the band-aid-type approach that’s been going on there for the last couple of seasons.”(Las Vegas Sun)(9-11-2002)
  • Kirby Testing the #49? hearing the BAM Racing #49 Cup team is testing with Stuart Kirby at Kentucky on Wednesday and Thursday, 9/11 & 9/12.(9-11-2002)
  • Hermie Sadler gets sponsor for NHIS: #02 Winston Cup Driver and Team Owner Hermie Sadler announced today that Magic Circle Inc., makers of “Dixie Chopper Lawnmowers” will sponsor his team for the up coming Cup New Hampshire 300. This marks the first time that Magic Circle has sponsored a Winston Cup team, but racing has been a part of their marketing strategy for many years says company Chairman and founder Art Evans “Motorsports has always been a good arena for the promotion of our product. Being based just out side of Indianapolis our company believes that the race fans have a real appreciation for the speed and performance of race cars, and that is what our mowers are all about. No matter if your cutting your own grass or one of the thousands of professional mowers, our customers love racing.. The Sadler’s are a very special family and as we have just recently structured a new relationship with Elliott Sadler, this opportunity was just to good to pass up with brother Hermie”. Hermie Sadler finished 23rd last week at Richmond’s night event and was running as high as 3rd at one time. “We are proud to have Dixie Chopper on board for the weekend at Loudon. The guys are really pumped up after the great run we were having at Richmond and want to carry some of that momentum to New Hampshire” said Sadler. “We are just running a limited schedule of both Busch and Winston Cup events this years and our family of sponsors Virginia Lottery and Little Trees has meant a lot to us and it just great to add Dixie Chopper Lawn Mowers to that group.” Read more about Dixie Chopper Lawn Mowers at their web site www.dixiechopper.com.(PR)(9-11-2002)
  • NAPCM Pit Crew Of The Week – #17: Hard work along with great pit stops all night took the #17 DeWalt Crew from a 25th place starting position to tire troubles (twice) and finally to a first place finish. Congratulations #17 DeWalt Crew on overcoming adversity and earning the title of this week’s NAPCM “Pit Crew Of The Week”, sponsored by Toxabsorb, “21st Century Spill Magnet” and the “Official Spill Response Agent of the National Association Of Pit Crew Members”. Visit www.toxabsorb.com for all Toxabsorb household and pit road uses. Check out the latest Mechanix Wear “Pit Crew Of The Year” standings, available ONLY at the National Association Of Pit Crew Members web site.(www.napcm.com)(9-11-2002)
  • Shepherd to attempt NHIS: Morgan Shepherd is set to return to New Hampshire International Speedway this week with hopes of qualifying for the New Hampshire 300 on September 15th. This will be Shepherd’s sixth attempt in the Cup 2002 season with his #89 Racing With Jesus Ford. Shepherd has been pleased with several sponsors coming on board this season. Catchfence.com, Motorsportsweb.com and Racing With Jesus Ministries continue their associate sponsorship, however primary sponsorship is needed. One race sponsorship deals are available and additional associate sponsorship packages are also available. “This has been an exciting year for us with the Craftsman Truck Series and returning to Winston Cup on a limited schedule,” said Shepherd. “It has been a struggle, but God has been good to us and blessed us in so many ways. I want to thank everyone who continues to believe in us and who supports our efforts. I love NHIS and always look forward to returning there to our many friends and fans.”(STB Marketing Group)(9-11-2002)

    (9-10-2002)

  • Berrier fined, points taken away: Todd Berrier, crew chief of the #30 Chevrolet Monte Carlo of driver Jeff Green, was fined $5,000 for an unapproved left front spring found in post-race inspection. The coil winding of the spring was not evenly spaced and did not meet the standards set forth in the rule book. He was penalized under Section 12-4-Q: “Any determination by NASCAR Officials that parts and/or equipment used in the Event do not conform to NASCAR rules.” The infraction also cost Green 25 driver points and team owner Richard Childress 25 owner points.(NASCAR PR)(9-10-2002)
  • New Crew Chief for the #25: Hendrick Motorsports owner Rick Hendrick today named Peter Sospenzo as crew chief of the #25 UAW-Delphi Chevy through the remainder of the 2002 Cup season, replacing Brian Pattie. “It’s exciting for me to join an operation like Hendrick Motorsports,” said Sospenzo, who has nearly 20 years of Winston Cup experience. “My goal is to work hard, produce results on the race track and make the most of the opportunity I’ve been given.” Sospenzo, 45, will assume the position immediately, leading the team into Sunday’s event at New Hampshire International Speedway with driver Joe Nemechek. The Brooklyn, N.Y., native most recently worked with drivers Jeremy Mayfield and Mike Wallace as crew chief of Penske Racing’s #12 team from 1999 through 2001. He joined the team in December 1997, serving as car chief before being named crew chief in May 1999. In his first full season as crew chief in 2000, Sospenzo led Mayfield to two victories, four pole positions, three runner-up finishes, six top-fives, 12 top-10s and 10 top-10 starts. Pattie will return to his role with Nemechek’s #87 BGN operation as team manager and crew chief.(Hendrick Motorsports PR)(9-10-2002)
  • Baldwin’s contract up, to the #1? or staying at the #22? UPDATE: Tommy Baldwin’s contract as crew chief for Bill Davis and Ward Burton is up at the end of the season, and there are indications that he is under consideration for a job as Steve Park’s crew chief at Dale Earnhardt Inc. One hangup to a Baldwin-to-DEI move would be Baldwin’s sideline BGN team [#6 Dodge with ties to Davis]. “But Tommy has assured us he has no intentions of going anywhere,” Davis said.(Winston Salem Journal)(9-8-2002)
    UPDATE: Winston Cup crew chief Tommy Baldwin told NASCAR.com Tuesday afternoon that he has contracts in-hand from Bill Davis Racing and Dale Earnhardt Inc., and is currently mulling over which situation is best for him in hopes of making a punctual decision.(NASCAR.com)(9-10-2002)
  • Richmond TV Ratings: TNT continued its strong ratings surge both in Winston Cup and Busch Series racing this weekend in Richmond, Virginia. Saturday night’s Chevrolet Monte Carlo 400 with The Looney Tunes registered a 4.2 national cable rating for TNT, up 20% from a 3.5 in 2001. Friday night’s Funai 250, also from Richmond, scored a 2.2 rating, up a whooping 47% from a year ago when the Richmond Busch race earned a 1.5 national cable rating. The Richmond race concludes a streak of four straight Winston Cup races on TNT, all substantially up from the previous year. During that period TNT averaged a 4.8 national cable rating, up 17% from a 4.1 during the same four races in 2001. For the year, through six Winston Cup races, TNT is up 9%. to a 4.8, compared to a 4.4 in 2001. The Busch Series also continues to show terrific growth. Year to date, the Busch Series is averaging a 1.6 national cable rating on TNT, up 14% from a 1.4 in 2001 for six like races. TNT also telecast the lead-in Busch Series race for the Daytona 500 in February, earning a 2.7 rating. The same race aired on Fox in 2001, garnering a 3.2.(Turner PR)(9-10-2002)
  • Kerry Earnhardt and others test at Talladega: In less than a month, Kerry Earnhardt will make his qualifying run to compete in his first NASCAR Winston Cup Series event at Talladega Superspeedway. On Tuesday, Earnhardt and his BGN crew turned more than 50 laps in preparation to make their first Winston Cup event of 2002. Earnhardt will bring the #83 RacingUSA.com Chevy to Talladega for the EA SPORTS™ 500 Weekend, Oct. 3-6, 2002. Earnhardt races for Fitz Bradshaw Racing, but will bring a Dale Earnhardt Inc. car and motor to Qualifying Day on Oct. 4th. Earnhardt has raced a full BGN schedule this year after competing in a limited number of events in ARCA in 2001. Earnhardt won three of the five ARCA races he entered last year. Racing fans will no doubt see the signifance in Earnhardt’s car number 83. “That number was taken by NASCAR marketing, but they are allowing me to use it for this race,” said Earnhardt. “The number 8 is what my grandfather raced and the number 3 was my dad’s number.” Earnhardt’s brother, Dale Earnhardt Jr., also drives the No. 8. Dale Jr. has put that Chevrolet into Talladega’s Victory Lane in the past two NASCAR Winston Cup Series events. Other teams testing at Talladega Superspeedway were the #36 MB2 Motorsports with Ken Schrader, the #18 Joe Gibbs Racing with Bobby Labonte and the #91 Evernham Motorsports with Dick Trickle. The two-day test session will conclude on Wednesday.(Talladega Superspeedway)(9-10-2002)
  • SAFER at Talladega – Inside walls UPDATE 2: NASCAR officials are to be at Talladega Superspeedway later this month to approve installation of the Indianapolis Motor Speedway’s impact-absorbing SAFER barrier on the track’s inside retaining walls. The system could be in place for the Oct. 6 EA Sports 500 race. Most racing crashes involve the outside wall, but a barrier on the inside wall would help protect drivers from secondary impacts. NASCAR hasn’t approved the system for Talladega’s outside walls. Dean Sicking, SAFER’s lead developer, is working to adapt the barrier, which was developed to fit Indianapolis Motor Speedway and introduced there in May, to high-banked tracks and short tracks with tight turns.(USA Today Print Edition)(8-16-2002)
    UPDATE: Ken Patterson, PR director for Talladega Superspeedway, say it’s not likely that the SAFER wall, similar to the one installed at Indianapolis Motor Speedway, will be installed in time for the October 6 EA Sports 500 Winston Cup race. “Dr. Dean Sickling of the University of Nebraska and NASCAR were out to assess the situation about a month ago,” said Patterson, “but unless they have come up with a way to install it very quickly, It’s unlikely that it will happen by October. We have testing and other things going on. No one has said a word to us about installing the SAFER wall. I don’t know for sure about what NASCAR would have in mind and I don’t know where that story came from, but I don’t believe they would just show up one day and start working on the project, but I’ve also learned to never say never.”(Insider Racing News)(8-17-2002)
    UPDATE 2: Talladega Superspeedway is expected to announce this week that it is lining about 3,000 feet of its inside retaining walls with the SAFER impact-absorbing barrier system. The project should be complete in time for the Oct. 6 EA Sports 500. The barrier system, which debuted on the Indianapolis Motor Speedway’s outside retaining walls in May, is designed to absorb some of the forces generated in a crash. Although the majority of racing crashes involve the outside wall, the barrier needs further development before it can be used on high-banked tracks. Installing the barrier on Talladega’s inside walls could help absorb energy from secondary impacts. Testing of a modified version of the barrier suited to hang on the outside walls of high-banked tracks might begin this week.(USA Today)(9-10-2002)
  • #32 Team Will wear special uniforms at NHIS: Wednesday will mark the one-year anniversary of the September 11th attack on the World Trade Center in New York City. When the NASCAR Winston Cup circuit hits New Hampshire International Speedway for this weekend’s New Hampshire 300, Ricky Craven and his #32 Tide Ford Taurus racing team will be wearing official FDNY and NYPD shirts, courtesy of Adam Mazy and Eric Rowan.Craven, a native of Newburgh, Maine, had an opportunity to get re-acquainted with Mazy, who works for Tower Ladder 79 in Staten Island, N.Y., and his cousin, New York City police officer Rowan, earlier this year at Pocono.(Ford PR)(9-10-2002)

    (9-9-2002)

  • THANKS to NASCAR, the drivers, TNT, the teams, RIR, the military folks in Afghanistan, the great fans and anyone else involved for the great tribute at Richmond Intl Raceway to those who lost their lives on 9/11/2001. Each team will fly a flag in their pits with the names of those who lost their lives that day….
  • Banners: getting swamped with questions regarding the banners used to display the names of those who lost their lives on 9/11. The banners were flown in each pit by the 43 teams, no idea what order the were in on what team had the banner with the name of a certain person. Do not have any photos/pictures of the banners. best bet is to direct questions to the folks at RIR, see their site at www.rir.com. Also, no idea what the plans are for the banners or what they will do with them. Anyone who has any good pics of them, I’d love to post all 43.(9-8-2002)
    AND been told that The banners (flags) had the over 3000 victim’s names from the Sep 11 attacks. They were held alphabetically by the teams at their cars from turn four to turn one during the ceremony. The crew chief then mounted the flag on a pole in their pit box for the race. NASCAR has not yet announced the permanent home for the flags.(9-9-2002)
  • New Ford in 2004? UPDATE 2: Looks like the redesign of the Ford scheduled for 2004 might include more than just a sleek new Taurus. Ford announced plans last week to unveil a new sedan it is calling the Ford 500 for now.(Sporting News)(4-1-2002)
    UPDATE: Ford Motor Co. officials say they have no plans to change its entry in NASCAR’s Winston Cup or Grand National series for the foreseeable future. They caution, however, plans can change and quickly. Ford’s debut of a new Sedan, the Ford Five Hundred, has been mentioned as a possible replacement for the Taurus in NASCAR, which replaced the Ford Thunderbird in 1998. “Ford has no plans to replace the Taurus as our race model in the NASCAR Winston Cup and the NASCAR Busch Series for the foreseeable future. Predictably, I have a disclaimer,” said Greg Specht, North American Operations Manager for Ford Racing Technology. “Product plans are fluid, and that fluidity sometimes causes us to have to react quickly, like we did when we needed to get Taurus ready for its NASCAR debut in 1998 on nine or 10 months notice. Given that, I can say with relative certainty that Ford will still be racing Taurus in 2004.”(ThatsRacin.com)(4-3-2002)
  • No More Taurus in NASCAR after 2003? Next season could be the last season for Ford’s NASCAR Taurus, and it is unclear so far what car-model logo Ford might use on its NASCAR cars.[thats is all it says](Winston Salem Journal)(9-9-2002)
  • Lepage to drive for Cope at NHIS: from the Derrike Cope site: Cope saw an orthopedic surgeon today to have his knee looked at and it was confirmed that he has a broken left fibula (leg). Also, his right scapula (shoulder) is broken. Due to the injuries at opposite points of the body, he is unable to use crutches and is using a wheelchair. There is no operation necessary so it is just a healing process. He will be getting an MRI and CT Scan Tuesday. Jay Robinson and Elaine Hughes (General Manager / Public Relations) were by Cope’s side in Richmond and he is very appreciative of their help. He estimates that he will be unable to drive for 5-6 weeks. Cope said that Kevin Lepage will be driving the #37 Friendly’s Ford this weekend in Loudon/ New Hampshire Intl Speedway. Lepage drove for Quest Motor Racing at Charlotte this past May in the #38 Ford owned by Cope. Friendly’s Ice Cream Corp will sponsor the #37 Ford at NHIS.(Derrike Cope site). And see images of the car on my Paint Scheme Gallery.(9-9-2002)
  • Green tests at Kansas: #30-Jeff Green tested at Kansas Speedway on Monday, running about 100 laps, with speeds topping just over 172mph. Green is the defending inaugural winner of the NASCAR Busch Series Mr. Goodcents 300. This year, he has plans to race in both the Mr. Goodcents 300 on Sept. 28, and the Protection One 400 on Sept. 29. Green will return to Kansas Speedway for more testing on Tuesday. He will be joined by: Jimmy Spencer, Jamie McMurray, Ron Hornaday, Tim Sauter, Jason Keller, Scott Wimmer, Mike Skinner Todd Bodine and Lyndon Amick.(BGN cars??)(Kansas Speedway PR)(9-9-2002)
  • US Army and Nadeau…to the #36? UPDATE: The U.S.Army is expected to be on the quarterpanels of the #36 Pontiacs owned by Nelson Bowers and Thomas Beard [MB2] and driven by Ken Schrader the past two seasons. Jerry Nadeau is expected to get that ride. It is unclear where Schrader might wind up.(Winston Salem Journal)
    UPDATE: been told that the Army was at Richmond over the weekend and has spoken to many teams concerning sponsorship.(9-9-2002)
  • DW gets a store check out www.dwstore.com. Can buy stuff there about Darrell Waltip, Jeff Hammond and Larry McReynolds. Like a Boggity, Boogity, Boogity shirt….(9-9-2002)
  • Penske Dodge UPDATE (like 200): Despite reports that owner Roger Penske will convert his Ford teams to Dodge in 2003, Penske insists no deal has been done. Penske cites NASCAR’s new templates and what would be a complete overhaul of engine development as his greatest concerns about getting Dodges ready and testing them in time for next season. Penske South has 38 cars and 94 Ford engines housed at its facility in Mooresville, N.C.(Sporting News)(9-9-2002)
  • Marlin hurting but expects to race at NHIS: Sterling Marlin, still in intense pain yesterday after a hard crash at Richmond International Raceway this past Saturday night, said if he needed to race today, he couldn’t do it. ”I’m too sore to even climb in the car,” Marlin said from his home in Spring Hill, where he is resting. ”Hopefully I’ll start feeling better on into the week. I plan on racing this weekend.” Marlin crashed early in the Richmond race and had to be helped from his car as he was wincing in pain. He was checked at the infield hospital and released. ”Nothing was broken,” Marlin said, ”but I’m so sore I can hardly move. I must have stretched muscles and tendons in my back, chest and neck. I’m scheduled to go to a chiropractor [this morning] to get some treatments.”(Tennessean)(9-9-2002)

 


(9-8-2002)

 

  • Petty wears special helmet: #45-Kyle Petty wore a special helmet Saturday that memorialized three people killed in the collapse of the World Trade Center last year. Featured on one side is a portrait of firefighter John Vigiano II and his brother, detective Joseph Vigiano. The other side features a portrait of firefighter Peter Martin.(Roanoke Times)(9-8-2002)
  • Rudd to test the #21: Ricky Rudd will test with the Wood Brothers on Tuesday at Kentucky Speedway. Co-owner Len Wood says the one-day test session is mainly to find out what type of chassis Rudd prefers so the team can begin building cars for him next season. Rudd also will test a new car the team has built that current driver Elliott Sadler may race later this season.(Roanoke Times)(9-8-2002)
  • Hamilton hurt in CTS race UPDATE 3 will miss three Cup races, Biffle to drive at RIR, NHIS and Dover: Bobby Hamilton, driver of the #55 Schneider Electric Chevy in Cup, was taken to Memorial Regional Medical Center after Thursday night’s CTS race at Richmond International Raceway. He was to be evaluated for pain in his right shoulder, left wrist and left collarbone following an accident on the final lap of the race. Hamilton hit David Starr from behind in Turn 1 as the final lap began. In all, 10 trucks either wrecked or spun out from the incident. Hamilton’s condition was not known late Thursday. He is scheduled to qualify his #55 Andy Petree-owned Chevy Friday in preparation for Saturday night’s Chevrolet Monte Carlo 400.(ThatsRacin.comAND Hamilton was taken to a hospital as a precaution after the race complaining of a sore right shoulder, left wrist and other aches.(Daytona Beach News Journal/AP)
    UPDATE: Bobby Hamilton will miss the next three Winston Cup races after suffering a broken right shoulder blade and left wrist in a wreck on the final lap of Thursday night’s Virginia is for Lovers 200 Truck race at Richmond. Greg Biffle will drive the #55 Chevy owned by Andy Petree in Saturday night’s Chevrolet 400. That will break a streak of 266 consecutive Winston Cup races in which Hamilton has started. No interim driver for races after this weekend has been determined. Hamilton was driving a No. 4 Dodge truck he owns in Thursday night’s race. As he went into Turn 1 on the final lap, running in the top five, he made contact with another truck and crashed hard into the outside wall. He rebounded across the track and was hit several times by other trucks racing on the final lap of the race won by Tony Stewart. “I’m not really sure what happened,” said Hamilton, whose right arm will be immobilized by the shoulder injury. “I realized I was spinning toward the wall and going to hit on the driver’s side, so I turned the wheel the opposite way. I hit the wall and it pushed me back down the race track, where I got hit several times.”(ThatsRacin.com)(9-6-2002)
    UPDATE 2: Fox Sports Net’s NASCAR This Morning reports Greg Biffle will drive the #55 APR Chevy for the next three races, Richmond, New Hampshire and Dover. BUT Hamilton will be sidelined for three weeks, but car owner Andy Petree has not determined the plan beyond this week’s event.(Ford Racing)(9-7-2002)
    UPDATE 3: Andy Petree Racing officials confirmed late Saturday BGN points leader Greg Biffle would continue to drive the #55 Chevy until the team’s regular driver Bobby Hamilton returns. Hamilton suffered a broken right shoulder blade and cracked left wrist in Thursday night’s Truck series race. He is expected to miss from three to six races, including Saturday night’s race at Richmond. Biffle is expected to drive the #55 next Sunday at New Hampshire and the following weekend at Dover. He will continue until Hamilton returns or his rookie status becomes in jeopardy. Drivers are allowed to run up to seven Winston Cup races without losing rookie status the next season. Biffle currently has two Cup starts in 2002.(ThatsRacin.com)(9-8-2002)
  • Stewart named in assault probe UPDATE 2 Stewart Statement AND more: NASCAR and the Sullivan County, TN, Sheriff’s Department are investigating allegations of assault against a female fan by Winston Cup driver Tony Stewart immediately following the Aug. 24 race at Bristol, TN. A statement released Friday by the Sheriff’s Office said the victim alleges Stewart shoved her in the pit area following the race and an investigation had been started. The investigation will include “all persons known to have been in the area when the alleged assault took place,” the statement said. Following the completion of the investigation, the results will be submitted to the district attorney’s office and presented to the Sullivan County Grand Jury to determine if charges should be brought. The Ssheriff’s Department said officials from Bristol Motor Speedway, NASCAR and Joe Gibbs Racing were cooperating in the investigation. Gibbs officials declined to comment on the matter Friday, but team owner Joe Gibbs is expected to address the media Saturday at Richmond International Raceway, site of Saturday night’s Chevrolet 400 Winston Cup race. NASCAR officials confirmed they knew of the incident as soon as the week following the race through discussions with officials at the track. “We are aware of the alleged incident. We have looked into it and we’re going to see what happens when this investigation is done and we are cooperating in this investigation,” said NASCAR spokesman Jim Hunter. Asked if there was any substance to the allegations, Hunter replied: “I’d rather not say right now until they complete their investigation and we’ll see how that goes. They are pursuing it right now. This lady did not come to NASCAR. As far as I know, she went to the Sheriff’s Department.” Stewart was recently fined $10,000 by NASCAR and placed on probation through the end of the season for striking a photographer following the Aug. 4 race at Indianapolis Motor Speedway. His sponsor, Home Depot, also fined Stewart $50,000 and placed him on probation for the rest of the season.(ThatsRacin.com/AP)(9-6-2002)
    UPDATE: #20 team owner (Stewart – Home Depot Pontiac) Joe Gibbs would speak on the matter at 6:30pm/et on Saturday at Richmond Intl Raceway. i have heard NOTHING besides what is seen here, nothing has been released or said since.(9-7-2002)
    UPDATE 2 – Statement: The following is a statement from NASCAR Winston Cup Series driver Tony Stewart regarding the ongoing investigation by the Sullivan County Sheriff’s Office into an alleged incident between Stewart and a fan following the Aug. 24 Sharpie 500 at Bristol Motor Speedway:
    “In light of the ongoing investigation into the alleged incident following the Bristol night race, it would be inappropriate for me to comment in any great detail until law enforcement officials have completed their investigation, interviewing anyone and everyone who has knowledge about the events that transpired in the moments following the race. I am personally cooperating with the investigators, and I have advised all the people who work with me to cooperate as well. I am confident that once the investigation is complete, I will be cleared of any and all accusations. I will say, however, that I did not assault anyone. In fact, I am shocked and truly at a loss as to why someone would make such an allegation.”(Motorsports Management International PR)
    AND Winston Cup driver Tony Stewart’s car owner, Joe Gibbs, promised Saturday to cooperate in every way with an investigation by Tennessee law enforcement authorities into a charge of assault levied against Stewart by a female race fan. “We want every single thing – whatever it is – truthfully, to be said about this,” Gibbs said, a day after the Sullivan County, Tenn., Sheriff’s Department released a statement saying it was investigating whether Stewart shoved a fan following the Aug. 24 Winston Cup race at Bristol, TN. “We would like for it all to be out in the open,” Gibbs said. “In every way, we want to try and cooperate. I think that is what every single person in our group has done.” Gibbs said he talked with every member of his organization who was with Stewart at the conclusion of the race. “Basically, what they all told me was they saw nothing out of the ordinary.” NASCAR spokesman Jim Hunter said no action would be taken against Stewart regarding the latest incident until law enforcement authorities have concluded their investigation. Driver Dale Jarrett spoke up during Saturday’s prerace drivers’ meeting to express support for Stewart. He received a round of applause from those in attendance.(ThatsRacin.com)(9-7-2002)
    WHAT HAPPENED? According to men familiar with the situation, the incident began when Stewart was walking back to his hauler. With less than three feet of space between the rigs in the garage area, Stewart reached the side door to his rig and pushed aside a woman to open the door and climb into his dressing room. The woman, so far unnamed, then went to the back of the truck and awaited Stewart. When he appeared, after changing, she told him, ‘You owe me an apology.’ Stewart, somewhat taken aback, said, ‘OK, I’m sorry.’ Then Stewart, as he walked away, grumbled to his crew about race fans in the garage, remarks that apparently sparked the official complaint.(more at the Winston Salem Journal) also – After the race started, NASCAR officials had law-enforcement officials sweep the garage of fans, apparently in response to driver complaints about security issues related to the Tony Stewart issue at Bristol two weeks ago.(9-8-2002)
  • Baldwin’s contract up, to the #1? or staying at the #22? Tommy Baldwin’s contract as crew chief for Bill Davis and Ward Burton is up at the end of the season, and there are indications that he is under consideration for a job as Steve Park’s crew chief at Dale Earnhardt Inc. One hangup to a Baldwin-to-DEI move would be Baldwin’s sideline BGN team [#6 Dodge with ties to Davis]. “But Tommy has assured us he has no intentions of going anywhere,” Davis said.(Winston Salem Journal)(9-8-2002)

    (9-7-2002)

  • Kenseth wins 4th race of 2002: winning at Richmond. It was Kenseth’s 4th Cup win of 2002, he leads in that category. It was 2nd time a driver had come form 25th at Richmond to win (Bobby Allison did it in 1969). #12-Ryan Newman ended up 2nd again.
    Race Results at ThatsRacin.com or NASCAR.com
    and a Jayski race rundown, caution info and notes at the The Monte Carlo 400 with the Looney Tunes Race Info page.(9-7-2002)
  • Ganassi Third Driver is…..Jamie McMurray: ChevronTexaco today announced that a multi-year sponsorship contract has been signed with Chip Ganassi Racing with Felix Sabates for its Havoline brand. Jamie McMurray will drive the Havoline Dodge for the Ganassi team in the 2003 NASCAR Winston Cup Series season. The terms of the contract were not disclosed. Commenting on the announcement today, ChevronTexaco’s Vice President of North American Lubricants, Mark Nelson said, “ChevronTexaco is thrilled to continue our participation in NASCAR racing by teaming with Chip Ganassi Racing and to continue our long standing involvement in the NASCAR Winston Cup Series. Havoline has a long history in NASCAR, and in this tradition, we look forward to pairing with a proven winner like Chip Ganassi. While we have truly enjoyed working with Robert Yates Racing over the years, we are excited about entering this next chapter in our successful NASCAR sponsorship.” Jamie McMurray is also looking forward to being a part of the new racing team and to run for the Rookie-of-the-Year title in the 2003 NASCAR Winston Cup Series. “This is the right move for me, and I am pleased to be part of Chip Ganassi Racing with Felix Sabates. Chip’s use of new technology has been introduced into every aspect of his NASCAR Winston Cup Racing teams. I am especially proud to drive ChevronTexaco’s Havoline car. Havoline has been an excellent sponsor in NASCAR for many years, and I am very humbled to be driving for them.” McMurray is currently racing in his second full season in the BGN (#27 Brewco Chevy). Team owner Chip Ganassi said, “The addition of ChevronTexaco adds alot of experience and energy to this team. Havoline has a successful history in NASCAR and I am excited about our new partnership with them. Jamie is a sought after young driver with a great work ethic and the talent to win a lot of races in the future and we will provide him with every resource and opportunity to succeed on our team. Our company is about winning races and championships, and adding value to our sponsor’s investments; and we hope to do both for Havoline.”(Chip Ganassi Racing with Felix Sabates PR), no mention of the number of the car, if it will #28 or something else, like #42.(9-7-2002)
  • Petty Announcment on Saturday UPDATE 2: With “Silly Season” in high gear – and the Petty Enterprises name part of the talk – Kyle Petty and the #45 Sprint Dodge team head to Richmond this week for Saturday night’s Cup race. Some of that talk may be cleared up Saturday at the speedway. Petty Enterprises will make a media announcement at 3:30pm/et, Saturday, September 7, in the Infield Media Center. The thoughts of Sprint Dodge driver Kyle Petty heading into Richmond: “We’re going to make an announcement Saturday afternoon at Richmond. That’s a good example. Hearing what people think we’re going to announce or hearing what people think we’re doing, some of it is pretty funny. Some of it might be kind of close. Some of it is absolutely outrageous. There was one wild rumor a few weeks ago that we had some motorcycle company [Harley Davidson – posted here – DOH!] that was going to sponsor us. The rumor had everything all figured out – other than the fact that I ride a Victory and we have agreements with Victory, and the fact that if it isn’t a Victory, I’m not going to ride it. That would pretty much kill out any other company being involved. Once that filtered out, that particular rumor died out – for a while anyway. It’s coming up before, will come up again and won’t be any more true then than it was before or it is now. When we put the word out this week about our press conference, there is going to be a bunch of talk. ‘Kyle told me this’ or ‘Kyle told me that’ and then someone will take all of that and start trying to add it up. The problem is it doesn’t always add up the way it is supposed to. We feel we have a pretty significant thing or two to say Saturday, and that race fans – and the media and the rest of the garage – are going to want to know what we had to say. And it should make our plans clearer. You’re going to hear a lot of different ideas of what it might be and what we might say but, you know what? Nobody knows for sure until Saturday. Finally making the announcement ends it. That’s the only way to stop rumors. Well, most of the time anyway.”(Williams Company)(9-3-2002)
    UPDATE: Petty Enterprises is expected to announce Saturday that the Georgia-Pacific sponsorship will be switching from the #44 Dodge now driven by Jerry Nadeau to the #45 Dodge of Kyle Petty.(Atlanta Journal-Constitution)
    UPDATE 2: Richard Petty, seven-time Winston Cup champion, and Georgia-Pacific Chairman and CEO A. D. “Pete” Correll announced that Kyle Petty, NASCAR champion and CEO of Petty Enterprises, will be behind the wheel of the #45 Georgia-Pacific Petty Dodge for the 2003 NASCAR Winston Cup season. Sharing the podium at the Richmond International Raceway, the Pettys and Correll unveiled plans to shift Georgia-Pacific’s sponsorship to the #45 car, with Petty Enterprises’ lead driver, Kyle, at the wheel. “Our partnership with Petty Enterprises is based on the common values our organizations share, including a strong commitment to family, community, hard work and performance,” Correll said.. “We’ve been proud to have the Georgia-Pacific name on a Petty Enterprises race car for the past couple of years. Having Kyle Petty behind the wheel is the perfect next step in our partnership.”
    “We wanted to provide Georgia-Pacific with a competitive driver — one who knows his way to victory lane and has the ability to win,” explained Richard Petty. “We wanted a driver that has a strong following among the millions of NASCAR fans that make our sport so popular. We wanted a leader. We wanted a driver that gave time and service back to the community, and inspired others to do the same.” The #45 Georgia-Pacific Petty Dodge, bearing a striking new design, will be unveiled Oct. 25 at Atlanta Motor Speedway during Georgia-Pacific Qualifying Day. Although the #45 car will be our primary focus, by linking the Georgia-Pacific name with the other Petty Enterprises’ teams, we will be able to further spotlight our household brands such as Brawny, Dixie, Angel Soft and Vanity Fair, among others, through our participation in NASCAR racing,” Correll said. Georgia-Pacific joined the Winston Cup circuit two years ago as a primary sponsor of the #44 car with Petty Enterprises, after a few years of motorsports involvement, including a past sponsorship with Petty in the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series.(Williams Company) – no word on the fate or plans for the #44 or if John Andretti will be back in the #43, but Andretti will not be in the third Ganassi ride as the new driver was announced today.(9-7-2002)
  • #1 Crewman to China: Conspicuously absent for the next two weeks will be Pennzoil gasman Mike “Mongo” Bodick, who embarked on a journey to China this week. Bodick and his wife, Wendie Leigh, are adopting an eight month-old orphaned Chinese girl. The Bodick family recently welcomed another family member when Wendie Leigh gave birth to 8 lb. 0 oz. Catherine Faith on August 20, 2002. Bodick, suddenly a daddy twice over, will resume his race-weekend duties at Dover.(Steve Park Site)(9-7-2002)
  • PPI Racing to do their own engines? UPDATE: NASCAR.com’s The Buzz has learned that Cal Wells III and his #32 PPI Motorsports team will do their own engines beginning in 2003, when the team — with driver Ricky Craven — plans to switch from the Ford Tauruses it currently runs to the newly designed 2003 Pontiac Grand Prix. Wells’ team currently employs Ford engines from Robert Yates Racing, and is extremely pleased with the power output. However, unlike Roush Racing — which has heavy Ford involvement but has built GM engines for the NASCAR Busch Series — Yates does no GM engines. Wells plans to announce the head of his engine program this week.(NASCAR.com)(9-1-2002)
    UPDATE: Having recently made the decision to switch to Pontiacs for 2003, PPI Motorsports has announced that they will build their own engines for the #32 Tide entry. Longtime engine partner, Robert Yates Racing Engines, only builds Ford powerplants-thus leaving the Cal Wells’ operation searching for a replacement to compliment their new program next year. “A lot of thought and decision-making went into this process,” said team owner Cal Wells. “Certainly we benefited an enormous amount from the relationship with Robert and Doug Yates. With the power and reliability provided by Yates, we didn’t have to think about what was under the hood. We ultimately realized that if we were going to be as competitive as they are week to week, we had to build our own motors. So as we move forward with our new friends at Pontiac, we will take on this responsibility directly,” he added. Historically, PPI has managed every aspect of their motorsports operations. From building their own cars to developmental engineering, all facets of the successful racing program have been under PPI’s performance umbrella.(PPI PR)(9-7-2002)
  • Back to Points and Coils? The latest widespread rumor sweeping through the Richmond garage is that NASCAR wants to put a standard set of points and coil in the cars. This move, if it should come to fruition, would replace the magnetic pick-up/MSD ignition system run now in NASCAR’s top series. Many motor builders responded, “Are you kidding,” while others simply walk away shaking their heads. In theory a straight points system will keep traction control out of the garage. But as one motor builder pointed out, “The traction control goes between the MSD and coil, delaying the spark. Why would using points stop a system like that from working? You’d just put the traction control between the points and coil, rather than the ignition box and coil.” The engine builder then added, “Not that I know anything about traction control.”(Ford Racing)(9-7-2002)
  • Earnhardt Jr/Ward talk: Ward Burton and Dale Earnhardt Jr. have talked about the incident at Bristol. The two were involved in an incident on the 402nd lap at the Sharpie 500 in Bristol on Aug. 24. Afterward, Burton was captured on television throwing his heel pads at Earnhardt’s car. Burton finished 37th, Earnhardt third. Yesterday, the two chatted before qualifying for tonight’s Monte Carlo 400. “We had a good talk and I was glad that we did that,” Burton said. “I think that we ought to leave it amongst Dale and I. But I’m glad we got to talk.”(Richmond Times Dispatch)(9-7-2002)
  • Derrike Cope hurt in BGN race at Richmond: Derrike Cope was injured in a severe crash during Friday night’s Funai 250 BGN race at Richmond. On Lap 68 of 250, Cope’s #49 Chevy entered Turn 1 and went directly into the outside retaining wall at full speed. After impact, his car skidded around the wall and rested at the exit of Turn 2. Cope was pulled from the car and treated on the track before he was placed in an ambulance and taken to the infield care center. After an initial examination by Dr. Stephen Kramer, Cope was diagnosed with a possible right shoulder injury and was taken to Memorial Regional Medical Center. Kramer described Cope as “awake and alert” at the scene.(ThatsRacin.comAND Derrike Cope suffered a broken right scapula(shoulder blade) and a broken left fibula(leg).(RacingOne)(9-7-2002)
  • Cope sponsor for NHIS: Friendly’s Restaurants will sponsor #37-Derrike Cope at the New Hampshire International Speedway September 15, 2002. Cope will kick off this partnership at Friendly’s Corporate headquarters on Monday, September 9th with his show car will be making scheduled appearances throughout the state leading up to his Sunday performance at Loudon.(Derrike Cope Site)(9-7-2002)
  • Andrews In, Stoddard out at the #99 UPDATE Stoddard to Davis?: Roush Racing announced that Paul Andrews has been hired as the crew chief of the #99 CITGO Ford, effective immediately. Andrews has been a Winston Cup crew chief since 1988 when he was teamed up with the late Alan Kulwicki. In 1992 the pair won the Winston Cup Championship in addition to racking up two wins and six poles. Andrews has achieved 12 total Winston Cup victories in addition to 74 top-five and 145 top-10 finishes. Andrews was most recently crew chief of the #1 car of Steve Park (see next story). “Paul will make a great addition to the #99 CITGO team,” said Jeff Burton, driver of the #99 CITGO Ford. “The CITGO team has been running really well and we’re looking to build on that with the addition of Paul. Frank has done a magnificent job helping to build a Winston Cup championship contending team,” said Burton. “But after long consideration, we both think we’re better served to take the next step forward by revamping the chemistry of the team, by making this change.” Former Crew Chief Frank Stoddard has been offered a choice of other management positions within the Roush Racing organization, and his decision will be announced in the near future. “I’m proud to have been crew chief for a start up team that has been able to win 17 times and earn three top-five seasons’ point finishes,” said Stoddard. “And I think the addition of Paul Andrews to Roush Racing will be a positive one for the organization.”(Roush Racing PR)(9-4-2002)
    UPDATE: hearing some rumors that former #99 crew chief, Frank Stoddard could be heading to Bill Davis Racing as the crew chief for Kenny Wallace and the #23 Hill Bros Coffee (Stacker2 in 2003) Dodge.(9-6-2002)
    UPDATE 2:You’ll likely be reading tomorrow about Frankie Stoddard’s big deal with Bill Davis to take over as crew chief of the #23, Kenny Wallace, Dodge. The story, while intriguing – and possible, will be premature if it should make it to print. Davis said, “We’ve been good friends with Frankie for years. Of course we’re interested in talking with him —when he’s ready.” Stoddard’s wife, Heidi, works for Davis and told TFR that Frankie is going to take a little rest this weekend and clear his mind. Frankie will have options with Roush, but nothing has been offered firmly to the displaced crew chief.(Ford Racing)(9-7-2002)
  • Andretti leaving Petty? UPDATE 2: With Ricky Rudd out of the picture, Winston Cup team owner Chip Ganassi continues to look for a third driver for a new car that will begin competition for the team next season. John Andretti said he was leaving Petty Enterprises at the end of this season to pursue another ride and may ultimately end up with Ganassi. Andretti would love to return to the Indianapolis 500 and that is something that Ganassi would give him. Andretti reportedly met with Ganassi this week.(FoxSports/SportsTicker)(9-3-2002)
    UPDATE: John Andretti said he is leaving Petty Enterprises at the end of this season to pursue other options, and his best option may be a third Winston Cup car for Chip Ganassi’s team. Andretti has made it clear he wants to compete again in the Indy 500, and that easily could be arranged through Ganassi’s IRL team. Kyle Petty will reveal his team’s plans for 2003 on Saturday at Richmond. It’s expected that Petty will have two cars next year instead of three, but Christian Fittipaldi probably will run a third Petty car in selected Winston Cup races while competing full time in the Busch series.(Dallas Morning News)(9-5-2002)
    UPDATE 2: John Andretti told MRN Radio in an interview Friday at Richmond that no decisions had been made regarding his plans for next year, and that he had not talked to any reporters about definite plans. Apparently, some people are writing some things without bothering to ask Andretti.(9-6-2002)
    UPDATE 3: John Andretti is vigorously denying stories on the Internet after the Darlington, S.C. event that had Andretti leaving Petty Racing. Andretti said he never said more than a “Hi, How are you?” to the reporter who first broke the story. That’s not to say that Andretti has a signed deal with Petty at this time, but rather he’s still working on next year’s plans in general. Andretti said to TFR, “I’m more worried about this week’s race than next year.”(Ford Racing)(9-7-2002)


    (9-6-2002)

  • No Hornish in NASCAR? Because of his battle for the IRL championship, combined with his agent negotiating an extension with Pennzoil Panther Racing, Sam Hornish Jr. admitted that time is running out for him with NASCAR. “Because of everything that has gone on with this season, we have put a lot of things on hold until after the IRL season is over,” Hornish said after testing his IRL car at Chicagoland Speedway last Wednesday. “With all that is going on, I would say it’s more likely that we won’t be doing any NASCAR races next season. It’s so late in the game right now that in order to properly do it, I would have already liked to have had a deal together. Any involvement would probably have to wait one more year.” Earlier this summer, Hornish admitted he had talked with Ty Norris, president of DEI, about doing a selected number of Winston Cup and BGN races next season in addition to his full IRL schedule. Hornish was interested in competing in the Daytona 500 and the Brickyard 400 at Indy. Norris expressed interest in adding Hornish to DEI’s lineup, even if it were for just a few races. Since that time, Steve Park has had his contract extended for another year as the driver of the Pennzoil Chevrolet. Dale Earnhardt Jr. drives the 8-Budweiser Chevy and Michael Waltrip the #15-NAPA Chevy for DEI. “What we are focusing on now is getting my contract extended with Panther Racing in the IRL,” Hornish said. “I’m locked in with the team through 2003, but we would like to extend it until 2005.” As for a possible switch to NASCAR, Hornish said his heart belongs in open wheel cars, but he is open to new opportunities in the future. “If I win the IRL title three or four times, maybe it would be time for me to try something different,” Hornish said. “I love Indy cars and I always want to race in the Indianapolis 500. I also have to ask myself if I want to race 36 or 38 times a year in NASCAR. “It’s funny — people in the IRL say I need to consider racing in NASCAR and people in NASCAR say I’m pretty valuable to the IRL. It depends on which side of the fence you’re on as to where I should go.”(ESPN)(9-6-2002)
  • Geoffrey Bodine to run NHIS in a modified: Geoffrey Bodine will attempt to qualify for the NASCAR Featherlite Modified Series New Hampshire 125 on Sept. 14 in a car owned by Don Barker of Newtown. Bodine has not driven in a Modified since 1983. Barker currently fields a car for rookie Todd Szegedy of Ridgefield. “I’ve been friends with Geoff for many years,” Barker said. “He came over to see us at [NHIS] when we raced there [in July]. When he was standing next to the car I said, `Hey Geoff, what do you think of this?’ He said `This is gorgeous, I love it.’ I said `It runs as good as it looks, and, by the way, I have another one back home just like it in case you ever get itchy.’ “Two weeks ago he called up and said `Hey, are you serious?’ … He said he’d love to make a comeback and do a race up there. I just told him I would make that happen.” Bodine, a native of Chemung, N.Y., was a terror in a Modified in the Northeast in the 1970s. He won track championships at Stafford Motor Speedway in 1975, ’77 and ’78. Bodine has 18 career Winston Cup victories, including the 1986 Daytona 500. His last Winston Cup victory came in 1996. He has never raced in the Featherlite Modified Series, which began in 1985.(Hartford Courant)(9-6-2002)
  • Earnhardt Jr not signed yet….but: Dale Earnhardt Jr. said he still hasn’t signed a deal to drive the #8 car for Dale Earnhardt Inc. beyond this season but stressed the deal would be a mere formality. “I still haven’t finished going over one they proposed to me, but it’s not really an issue,” he said. “I don’t feel like they’re pressuring me to sign one now. I can assure you, it’s going to be a long-term effort.”(Richmond Times Dispatch)(9-6-2002)
  • CTS and BGN races: Six Cup drivers qualified for the CTS race at Richmond: #6-Kevin Harvick (qualified 6th), #4-Bobby Hamilton (7th), #52-Ken Schrader (14th), #33-Tony Stewart (25th), #21-Morgan Shepherd and #51-Carl Long(21st).
    #8-Dale Earnhardt Jr is on the pole for the BGN race with 10 total Cup drivers making Friday nights race: #9-J Burton(4th), #21-J Green(6th), #1-Spencer(11th), #19-T Sauter(12th), #99-Waltrip(16th), #48-K Wallace(17th), #4-M Wallace(18th), #92-T Bodine(21st), and #02-H Sadler(31st.
    See my BGN Silly Season Site and the CTS Silly Season Site for lineup links and news.(9-5-2002)
    Stewart wins the CTS race at Richmond, see story and results on my CTS Silly Season Site.(9-6-2002)
  • IRWIN Rough to Finish Award #99 Team: Gray skies and rain were consistent at Sunday’s Mountain Dew Southern 500 in Darlington, S.C., and so was the No. 99 CITGO Ford of Jeff Burton. As a result of the team’s top-10 finish, Frank Stoddard takes home this week’s IRWIN “Rough to the Finish” Award, his second award in as many weeks and third overall. As the storms began to subside Sunday on a rain-filled weekend at Darlington Raceway, the race cars began shuffling onto the track. Starting from the 13th position, Burton quickly climbed his way through the field to sixth position by lap 45. Fueled by quick pit stops, Burton was able to take the lead by lap 129, where he remained for the next 24 laps. On lap 204, Burton, now running third, ran through some oil and crashed into the wall causing damage to the #99 CITGO Ford. The No. 99 team sprung into action and by lap 245, the team had the car fixed and Burton was running in 22nd. One by one Burton worked his way back through the pack, again with the help of some of the day’s quickest pit stops, to cross the start/finish line in 10th place, the team’s 10th top-10 finish of the year. “The CITGO team is running well,” said Stoddard. “It’s a shame that we hit that oil patch in turn one after the accident, but what can you do. I applaud the efforts of everyone in the pits today. When our backs were up against the wall, these guys really came through. These guys, including Jeff, deserve all the credit.” With this week’s award, Stoddard is now tied with #97 crew chief Jimmy Fennig for the points lead in the year-long competition. Each crew chief has three awards to his credit so far this season. Four other crew chiefs are tied for second with two awards apiece. They include Chad Knaus (#48), Bill Wilburn (#2), Tony Eury (#8) and Todd Parrott (#88). Five others are tied for third with one award each.(NOTE: Stoddard iss no longer the crew chief of the #99, see story below)
    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)(9-6-2002)


    (9-5-2002)

  • Carter, Japanese Driver….and a twist…Toyota? Winston Cup team [#26 and #66] owner Travis Carter hopes to put Japanese driver Hideo Fukuyama in a Haas-Carter Motorsports Ford for three races later this season. Fukuyama, a road racing driver in Japan, has competed in two Winston West races, but the last was three years ago. Fukuyama tested a car for Carter at Dover International Speedway last week in hopes of competing at that track Sept. 22. He’ll also try to make the races at Martinsville, Va., and Rockingham, N.C. If Fukuyama proves himself, it could lead to backing from Toyota. Toyota officials are considering entering Winston Cup racing by 2005. The one immediate problem with Fukuyama is the language barrier. He speaks little English and probably would need a spotter and someone in the pits who speaks Japanese.(Dallas Morning News) see my #66 Team News and Links page for the past news on this.(9-5-2002)
  • Let’s Roll: On Sep. 11, 2001, Todd Beamer uttered the battle cry, “Let’s Roll!,” just before he and other passengers confronted the terrorists who took over their passenger jet in an attempt to prevent the terrorists from attacking another American target. Unfortunately during the struggle, the aircraft crashed in a Pennsylvania field killing everyone on board, but the sacrifices made by those heroic passengers saved many more lives. Since then, the Air Force has taken those now famous words and incorporated them into artwork that is currently on the nose of many Air Force aircraft. During this year’s Winston Cup race on Sep 22nd at Dover Downs International Speedway (near Dover Air Force Base), NASCAR has agreed to allow the Air Force to offer each race team “Let’s Roll!” decals to be placed on the “B” Pillar (the vertical column between the front and rear windows on each side of the car) as the Air Force remembers the events of 9-11.(Wood Bros Site)(9-5-2002)
  • No Bull Five: The Monte Carlo 400 with the Looney Tunes at Richmond is a No Bull Five event.
    UPDATE: the Eligible drivers: #15-Michael Waltrip, #2-Rusty Wallace, #40-Sterling Marlin, #41-Jimmy Spencer, #6-Mark Martin (top five from Pepsi 400).
    The Fans: Joe Bowser, New Smyrna Beach, FL; Lisa Reynolds, Sioux Falls, SD; Lowell Thomas, Belleville, IL; Teresa Garnett, Naugatuck, CT; Tommy Medley, Roanoke, VA.
    How the drivers/fans will be paired: Each fan will be paired with a driver in Saturday night’s Chevrolet Monte Carlo 400 pre-race. At about 6:50pm/et, five Loomis Fargo trucks will park near the pre-race stage. One of the eligible Winston No Bull 5 drivers will be in each truck. Each eligible fan will choose a truck and then meet the driver they’ll be paired with.
    The prize: If an eligible driver wins, he and his fan each win $1 million.
    The record: In the 23 previous Winston No Bull 5 events, there have been 12 winners and a program payout of $24 million.(Daytona Beach News Journal).(9-5-2002)
  • The #24 almost went to Petty: Jeff Gordon’s car number, 24, is the one sought by the late Lee Petty when he began competing in NASCAR in the late 1940s. “But the number was already taken, so Daddy just reversed it to 42,” Richard recalls. That’s how the whole Petty 40 series began, with Richard getting 43, then Kyle 44 and Adam 45, until Adam’s death in 2000. Kyle now drives 45 to help keep his son’s memory alive. Had Lee gotten his preference, Richard likely would have made the number 25 legendary. Gordon’s number now? Well, 43 might have been available, in that there would have been no mystique attached to it.(Orlando Sentinel)(9-5-2002)
  • Reverse Pit Stop: On Sep. 19, 2002, Air Mobility Command and Dover Air Force Base [where Jayski used to be stationed] will conduct a “Reverse Pit Stop” with the #21 Wood Brothers Racing Team. Events will begin at 2:30 pm, on the Base flight line where the Air Force will display the tremendous capabilities of the C-5 aircraft. The Air Force and Wood Brothers will be demonstrating and comparing the similarities between a NASCAR and an Air Force “pit stop.” The opening will show the enormous capacity of the C-5. Then the #21 “gas man” will fuel the C-5 as an Air Force maintainer fuels the #21. A #21 pit crew will climb the maintenance stand to wash the C-5 windows as the Air Force maintainer cleans the grill and windshield of the #21. Following that will be C-5 and #21 oil checks and tire changes and when both vehicles fail to start, they may have to be pushed. #21 driver Elliott Sadler and the Wood Brothers will be in the cockpit of the C-5, while Air Force maintenance folks take a spin in the #21. There might even be some “pit stop” competition and the end of the demonstrations. Participating in the Pit Stop for the Air Force will be Air Mobility Command’s and Dover’s best C-5 maintenance people. Participating for NASCAR will be the legendary Wood Brothers #21 Racing Team, including driver Elliott Sadler.(Wood Bros Site)(9-5-2002)
  • Template Meeting Update: NASCAR officials met with all Winston Cup teams Wednesday to explain the plans to use the so-called “greenhouse top” on all cars next season. The greenhouse template, which includes the bottom of the windows up on the body frame, will be the same for all makes. Its purpose is to reduce the problems of aero push, which causes cars to lose traction and slide up the track.(Dallas Morning News)(9-5-2002)
  • da Matta beats Elliott: Cristiano da Matta, the runaway points leader in the CART series, was the overwhelming choice for third quarter 2002 Driver of the Year honors. Da Matta, who earned four poles and three victories during the quarter, received 15 of 17 first-place votes and 143 points from a 16-person panel of motorsports writers and broadcasters and a fan vote on ESPN.com. NASCAR’s Bill Elliott, who won two straight races in the third quarter, including the Brickyard 400, was second with one first-place vote and 83 points.(ThatsRacin.com/AP)(9-5-2002)

    (9-4-2002)

  • Andrews leaves DEI: #1 Dale Earnhardt Inc crew chief Paul Andrews has left the team effective immediately, the parting was termed mutual. Steve Hmiel and Dave Charpentier will handle the crew chief duties until a replacement can be named for the #1 team and driver Steve Park.(Fox Sports Net Totally NASCAR)(9-4-2002)
  • Aero Rules for GM to get another look UPDATE: NASCAR spokesman Jim Hunter said that NASCAR would would review the kick-out on front air dams allowed on the Chevy and Pontiac in Sunday’s Southern 500. Hunter said, however, that early indications point to allowing the rule to remain in effect for the rest of the season. A 1-inch kick-out was given to the Chevrolets at Michigan as was a 1/2-inch allowance on Pontiacs. It was retracted last weekend at Bristol, then reinstated this weekend at Darlington on a week-to-week basis.(ThatsRacin.com)(9-2-2002)
    UPDATE: the GM front air dam rule will stay for the remainder of the 2002 season.(Fox Sports Net Totally NASCARAND NASCAR officials have announced that recent NASCAR Winston Cup Series rules modifications regarding Chevrolet and Pontiac air dams, in effect for races at Michigan and Darlington, will be in effect for the remainder of the season. The modifications were not in effect for the Aug. 24 event at Bristol. For the remainder of the season, the leading edge of the Chevrolets’ air dam must not extend more than 3½ inches forward of the bumper. For Pontiacs, the leading edge of the air dam must not extend more than 1½ inches forward of the bumper. Prior to the race at Michigan, the Chevrolets’ air dams could extend 2½ inches forward, while the Pontiacs’ air dams could extend 1 inch forward of the bumper. The leading air dam for Dodges and Fords must not extend more than 1½ inches forward of the bumper.(NASCAR PR)(9-4-2002)
  • Darlington Ratings: Turner Network Television’s (TNT) live coverage of the Mountain Dew 500 from Darlington Raceway was the week’s top sports program across demos and household ratings. TNT’s.coverage the Mountain Dew 500 (Sunday, September 1, 2:31pm/et) was the week’s top sports program.delivering a. 5.0 household rating.(4,301,000 HH). The NASCAR telecast was up 14 percent versus the 2001 race on TNT (4.4 household rating). In addition,.the network aired the NASCAR Busch Series Racing from Darlington on Saturday, August 31, which delivered.a 1.4 rating. Last year, the Darlington Busch Race also did a 1.4 rating.(Turner.com PR)(9-4-2002)
  • Penske to Dodge likely: this weeks Winston Cup Scene (print edition) reports that while Rusty Wallace said he expects Roger Pensek to make a decision within three weeks, several sources believe Penske has already chosen to field Dodges in 2003. See my #2 Team News and Links page for all the past news/rumors on the subject.(9-4-2002)
  • No Rain this week: NASCAR competitors and fans coming off the Darlington deluge of last weekend should take special delight in the Weather.com forecast for this week’s triple-header in Richmond. The Web service of the Weather Channel puts the chance of rain at 0 percent for Thursday, when the Virginia Is For Lovers 200 Craftsman Truck Series race is scheduled. It says the chance of rain is also 0 percent on Friday, when the Funai 250 Busch Series race is planned. And to round things out, it also calls for a 0 percent chance of rain on Saturday for the Chevy Monte Carlo 400 Winston Cup race. And like AccuWeather and the National Weather Service, it calls for temperatures in the mid-80s all three days with only occasional clouds.(Winston Cup Scene Daily Newsletter)(9-4-2002)
  • Open Testing at Lowe’s Scheduled TUES/WED: Lowe’s Motor Speedway has confirmed open testing dates for the Oct. 13 UAW-GM Quality 500 NASCAR Winston Cup race, the Oct. 12 “Little Trees” 300 NASCAR Busch Series event and the Oct. 10 EasyCare Vehicle Service Contracts 150 ARCA Series season finale. NASCAR Winston Cup Series Testing is scheduled for Tuesday, Sept. 3 (8:00am -10:00pm) and Wednesday, Sept. 4 (8:00am – 4:00pm), ARCA on Tuesday, Sept. 24 and Busch Series on Tuesday, Oct. 1 and Wednesday, Oct. 2.(LMS PR)(8-20/9-3-2002)
    UPDATE: no speeds reported, heard the #22-Ward Burton, #29-Kevin Harvick and #77-Dave Blaney were the Cup drivers testing today.(9-3-2002)
    TUESDAY SPEEDS: #29-Kevin Harvick topped the unofficial speed chart Tuesday as NASCAR Winston Cup teams began preparations for the Oct. 13 UAW-GM Quality 500 at Lowe’s Motor Speedway. With eight teams on hand, the testing session started at 8:00am/et and ran until 10:00pm/et as crews performed an all-day exercise in mechanical engineering, making countless adjustments to their finely tuned machines. Harvick’s #29 GM Goodwrench Chevrolet was caught on the unofficial stopwatches at 181.941mph around the 1.5-mile superspeedway. Harvick’s fastest lap came shortly after 7:30pm/et, approximately the same time teams will be on the track during Bojangles’ Pole Night qualifying on Thursday, Oct. 10. Driving a #22 Caterpillar Dodge that was skinned in bare sheet metal, Ward Burton was second fastest at 180.965mph while Greg Biffle was third on the unofficial watches at 180.783mph in the #16 Team Caliber Ford. Biffle, the NASCAR Busch Series point leader, will attempt to qualify for the UAW-GM Quality 500 as the Roush Racing team continues preparations for a full-time Winston Cup assault next season. Two race teams with close ties to Hendrick Motorsports were next on the speed chart as Jack Sprague’s #60 Haas Automation Chevrolet and Ron Hornaday’s #54 National Guard Chevy rounded out the top-five. The starter never unfurled the caution flag as the entire testing session was incident free. Testing continues Wednesday with Winston Cup teams slated to be on the track from 8:00am to 4:00pm/et. Fans can watch the action from the main grandstand beginning at 9:00am/et. Tickets for the Oct. 13 UAW-GM Quality 500 start at just $19 and can be obtained by calling 1-800-455-FANS or online at www.lowesmotorspeedway.com. Unofficial testing speeds: 1. #29-Kevin Harvick, 181.941mph; 2. #22-Ward Burton, 180.965; 3. #16-Greg Biffle, 180.783; 4. #60-Jack Sprague, 179.104; 5. #54-Ron Hornaday Jr., 177.049; 6. #77-Dave Blaney, 176.759; 7. #27-Scott Wimmer, 176.297; 8. #74-Tony Raines, 176.125.(LMS PR)(9-4-2002)
  • Sadlers top 20’s mean donation: Emporia, VA natives Hermie and Elliott Sadler have another reason to perform well for a hometown crowd in the Monte Carlo 400. Richmond resident Fain Peebles, who owns Peebles Golf Car Sales, has promised a substantial donation to the Faison School for Autism in Richmond if the Sadler brothers both finish in the top 20 on Saturday night. Hermie Sadler’s daughter, Halie Dru, attends the Faison School.(Richmond Times Dispatch)(9-4-2002)
  • Template Meeting UPDATE: Crew chiefs, car chiefs and head fabricators were expected to meet at the NASCAR Technical Center in Conover, N.C., to discuss the templates the teams will use in 2003. Because there was confusion between NASCAR inspectors and teams at the Daytona 500 this season, series director John Darby doesn’t want any misunderstandings when the teams return to Daytona for the season opener in 2003. NASCAR also will use the time for teams to sound off about the cars’ body placement on the chassis for next year.(Sporting News)(9-2-2002)
    UPDATE: According to well-placed NASCAR sources a Wednesday meeting could bring the Winston Cup teams an early Christmas present. All crew chiefs are expected in NASCAR’s Hickory, N.C. Research and Development Center to discuss inspection policies for the 2003 season. The NASCAR source said that Winston Cup director John Darby would like the teams to have a very good idea of what to expect in the inspection bays when they arrive at Daytona International Speedway in 2003; and lower the anxiety levels that comes with preparation. Several teams worked on Christmas Eve and Christmas Day 2001 to get ready for 2002 Daytona testing. Advance notice of templates and inspection process could allow building of most of the fleet built prior to Christmas. The meeting is anticipated to focus closely on the car templates, featuring the new “greenhouse” template that will go into use in 2003. The greenhouse template, which will fit onto the car from the base of the “A” pillar and run over the roof to the bottom of the “C” pillar, will be the identical for all makes and models competing.(FordRacing)(9-3-2002)
    UPDATE 2: the meeting will be held Wednesday.(Fox Sports Net/Totally NASCAR)(9-4-2002)
  • NAPCM Pit Crew Of The Week (Darlington) #99 CITGO Crew: This Weeks NAPCM Pit Crew Of The Week sponsored by Toxabsorb, 21st Century “Spill Magnet”, Pit Road Competitive Edge and the Official Spill Response Agent of The National Association Of Pit Crew Members goes to the #99 Crew for their hard work all day in making repairs and keeping their car on the lead lap and coming in with a top 10 finish. The #99 Crew fought adversity for the last to weeks in a row now with a good finish. Visit www.toxabsorb.com for all Toxabsorb household and pit road uses. Check out the latest Mechanix Wear “Pit Crew Of The Year” standings and finalist available ONLY at the National Association Of Pit Crew Members website.(www.napcm.com).(8-29-2002)
  • Sauter back in the #71 at RIR: Tim Sauter, 13th in Busch Series points despite driving an unsponsored car, will attempt to make his Winston Cup debut Saturday at Richmond. Sauter failed to make the field at Bristol two weeks ago and will try to put the Dave Marcis Racing #71 car into the field this weekend. “Dave wanted to give it another try,” Sauter said. “I really want to make my first Winston Cup start this season, and Richmond is a place where I have had some success.”(Daytona Beach News Journal)(9-4-2002)
  • Trackside at RIR: Trackside @ Richmond will be televised live on the Speed Channel this Friday from the Fairgrounds Amphitheater outside the turn one area of Richmond Raceway. Race fans are invited to attend the show, which airs from 7:00 to 8:00pm/et. This is the second time this season the program will be televised in front of a live audience. Several thousand fans packed “Coca-Cola Speed Street” in Charlotte this May to be part of the program, and interact with Darrell Waltrip, Larry McReynolds, Jeff Hammond, Mike Joy and their guests. All seats are unreserved, and there is no charge to attend, and no tickets are needed. While the guest list is still being worked on, Jeff Gordon promised on last Friday’s show that he would stop by if he won Darlington. A visit from the MonteCarlo 400 polesitter is also expected.(MotorsportsTV)(9-4-2002)

    (9-3-2002)

  • New Team to debut at Kansas: The #60 Haas CNC NASCAR Winston Cup team and driver Jack Sprague will test at Lowes Motor Speedway on Tuesday and Wednesday with many other Cup teams with plans to make their 2002 Winston Cup debut later this month in the Protection One 400 at Kansas Speedway. And after a less-than-exemplary performance at a Lowe’s test in May caused the new team to cancel its planned debut in the Coca-Cola 600 at LMS later that month, they hope this session will tell them exactly how much progress they’ve made this summer. They tested three cars — one a brand new piece and the others the same ones they ran at Lowe’s in May’s test — on the 1.5-mile Kentucky oval last month and were pleased with the results. Crew Chief Dennis Connor said the team has an industrious testing schedule planned for the next two months, along with racing and testing the #24 NetZero BGN Chevy. “We’ll have a total of four Winston Cup races: Kansas, Charlotte, Rockingham and Homestead.”(NASCAR.com)(9-3-2002)
  • Donlavey still looking for sponsor, hopes to return: Junie Donlavey still is hunting for sponsorship for his #90 Ford for next season and doesn’t anticipate making a full-time return to Winston Cup this season. The 78-year-old team owner said he also would like to step away from the day-to-day operations in the future. “The ideal situation would be to be involved not in the mainstream of it but kind of on the edge,” Donlavey said. “I’d like a way to have time to talk to everybody and have someone else run it. That would be the perfect situation.” Donlavey’s team likely won’t be on the entry list for its hometown race, Saturday’s Monte Carlo 400 at Richmond International Raceway. Without a regular driver since Rick Mast fell ill in May, Donlavey is leery about trying to make the RIR race with a fresh face.(Richmond Times Dispatch)(9-3-2002)
  • North Carolina NASCAR License Plate Bill: NASCAR racing fans could buy N.C. license plates showing their support for Jeff Gordon, Ricky Rudd or another driving hero under legislation facing roadblocks in the state House. Under the bill, motorists wanting to display their fan loyalty could pay $35 a year to the state to get a license plate bearing their favorite NASCAR driver’s team logo or number. The fee is in addition to the $20 required to get license plates or renewals. But a subcommittee scheduled to meet again next week is struggling with a proposal for royalties from the plates to be paid to NASCAR and drivers for using their logos on the plates. Some say that would set a precedent of paying businesses for logos used on state plates. Lawmakers also are debating whether to keep the state requirement that there be at least 300 motorists committed to buying a specialty plate before prison inmates could start pressing them.(ThatsRacin.com/AP)(9-3-2002)
  • Plate Problems Denied: NASCAR Winston Cup Series Director, John Darby, laughed when he heard of recent published reports of a cheater restrictor plate. NASCAR officials have long been accused of having a “special” plate, which could be parceled out in an attempt to ensure a team wins at either Daytona or Talladega. After recent testing at Daytona, Ford officials questioned the possibility of a cheater plate based on tracings they made during the test. When asked about the situation Darby nearly doubled over in laughter. “Let me help you get this story straight,” said Darby. “We noticed several of Ford’s factory people making drawings of a plate used during the testing. They laid the plate on a sheet of paper and traced it with a pen or pencil. Days later they came to my office asking how it could be that the plate they measured was different from the plate owned by the race team.” Darby’s reply included an explanation of the manufacturing and testing process. “We make a batch of 250 plates, which are all stamped with the NASCAR logo and given a serial number, that are then flow tested.” NASCAR looks at the results of the flow testing which allows them to cull 100 plates from the batch. Those 100 plates are then placed under lock and key only to be used on race weekends at Daytona Int’l Speedway and Talladega Superspeedway. Of the remaining 150 plates, NASCAR holds back a few for their own testing. The remaining plates are sold to race teams through the suppliers on the circuit. To further ensure the integrity of the system NASCAR has a new batch of plates manufactured at least every two years. “Every year,” said Darby, “If there are any questions concerning the performance of the plates.”(The Racing Insider)(9-3-2002)
  • Stewart comes in 2nd in ARCA race, Kimmel wins: Tony Stewart came up just a few feet short at DuQuoin, Ill. on Monday. Stewart gave Frank Kimmel all he could handle over the final 20 laps, but Kimmel held on for his 42nd career ARCA/ReMax Series win. Ken Schrader finished third. Seventy-five year old Red Farmer finished fourth, and Winston Cup owner Andy Petree finished 33rd.(FoxSports)(9-3-2002)
  • Allison News: Bobby and Judy Allison, now living in Mooresville (NC) keep busy traveling the country doing appearances and autograph signings. Judy says the couple put 68,000 on her car last year, but haven’t been quite as busy this year, possibly because of the events of September 11th. The couple fly occassionally, but always commercial since Bobby has given up flying. Judy also told this writer that son Davey’s widow, Liz, is expecting a third child. The current due date just happens to be Davey’s birthday.(The Racing Insider)(9-3-2002)
  • Long to do double duty: Carl Long, will join five other Winston Cup veterans and a field of forty-one other contenders as Long will attempt to qualify his #51 Revival Soy Dodge Ram for team owner Rick Ware in the CTS race at Richmond on September 5. Long will be attempting his second truck series start of the year. In May, Long qualified 16th for the MBNA America 200 at Dover. Long looks forward to his second truck series race of the season, the tenth of his career, “I’m looking forward to going back to Richmond, one of yearly highlights of my old late model days. Racing in the Virginia is for Lovers 200 will provide me with an opportunity to get a better feel for my team, as it will be my Winston Cup team working on the car and also to help give our generous sponsor Revival Soy more exposure within the NASCAR community.” Revival Soy, a retailer of soy products (available at Revivalsoy.com or 1-800 Revival Soy), which have many health benefits and are a proven alternative to HRT, has signed on with Ware Racing as a primary sponsor for through Richmond and an associate sponsor throughout the rest of the 2002 season. Although primary sponsorship is only in place through Richmond – Ware Racing and Carl Long plan to enter all remaining 2002 and 2003 Winston Cup races as well as a handful of Truck Series events.(Ware Racing PR)(9-3-2002)
  • Teams Fighting Over Crewmen and drivers: Joe Gibbs’ teams are being criticized by rivals, some from the Roush camp, for hiring away crewmen in the middle of the season and by car owner Bill Davis for attempting to sign BGN driver Scott Wimmer. Wimmer’s contract with Davis was up at the end of the season until he signed a new one with Davis four days ago. Gibbs said that Wimmer began talking with him when Wimmer started worrying about Davis’ plans for him next season. “A couple of weeks ago Steve Desuza, who runs our Busch program, was walking out of the race track and asked Scott ‘Hey, what’s your situation for next year?’ ” Gibbs said. “Scott volunteered to him ‘Hey, I don’t have anything. I’m concerned. We’re down to a few cars, and Bill hasn’t re-signed my contract for next year. So I have nothing. I’m worried.’ Basically what we said to him was ‘Can we see that contract to make sure that’s the case?’ And Scott sent the contract to us, and sure enough that was the case. The contract had run out a couple months ago. At that point we started discussions with him. And I guess Bill got upset about that and jumped back in it and re-signed him. That’s fine with us. We have a policy here that we don’t talk to anybody under contract. And we didn’t. So we don’t think we’ve done anything wrong or unethical. I’m going to try to get with Bill this week. I’m going to call and see if I can come up and have a meeting so we can talk this out, because this is important. It’s important to me to keep a good relationship with the other car owners.” Davis was irate over the situation and had a vigorous discussion with Gibbs. Mike Brown, general manager for Davis: “We (Davis and Wimmer) had all verbally agreed to go forward, and we were working on all our different sponsorship scenarios, to see if we’d be Busch racing or Cup racing with Scott. A lot of the team owners that we respect … called us and said ‘Hey, what are y’all doing with Scott? If you’re not going to go forward with him, we’d love to speak with him.’ We told everybody who called us that we planned to go forward with him, and they respected that, and they left him alone. Greg Zipadelli, crew chief for the Gibbs-Stewart team, says that Rockwell, which has sponsored Richard Childress’ Busch team this season, called Davis’ team to get Wimmer’s phone number, apparently to try to put together a sponsorship package to shop around. Davis has sponsored Wimmer basically out of his own pocket this season. Zipadelli pointed out that Davis didn’t offer Wimmer a new contract until the overtures from other teams were made. Gibbs also declined to talk about the Rockwell sponsorship. On the issue of crewmen moving one team to another, Gibbs seems to attract a number of men looking to move on. The latest addition comes from the Jeff Burton-Roush team – top tire changer Mark “Hollywood” Armstrong. But then Gibbs has long had a reputation for having one of the best places to work on the tour. He guarantees his men at least one day, sometimes two days a week off, a luxury in this sport and one that is appreciated by crewmen with families. Gibbs is also offering nice wages, according to crewmen in the garage. That combination has at times earned the ire of rival car owners. Zipadelli says that crewmen move all the time: “We just lost two fabricators to Cal Wells, but you don’t see us crying about it. They’re moving over because they’ll be getting … more money. But this time next year they’ll probably be laid off, just like the last bunch. “I’m tired of people bashing us. We shouldn’t be criticized for trying to make our team better.”(more at the Winston Salem Journal)(9-2-2002)
    And more at Ford Racing: Signed Or Not, Wimmer Prompts Davis, Gibbs Talk(9-3-2002)
  • “NASCAR Racers” Moves to ABC Family: Making its ABC Family debut on Saturday, September 14 (11:30 a.m., ET/PT), this animated series follows four young rookie racers — Mark “Charger” McCutchen, Megan “Spitfire” Fasier, Steve “Flyer” Sharp and Carlos “Stunts” Rey — who rely on courage, teamwork and a specialized knowledge of high-tech auto racing to win in the ultimate challenge — NASCAR races. With their futuristic cars pushed to the limits, the racers battle for pole position, accelerate to faster than 400 miles per hour, and sometimes fly through the twisting, turning and looping tracks of the speedway. Owned by the industrial giant Fasier Technologies, Team Fastex’s biggest rival, on and off the track, is the Rexcor team owned by the dishonest and corrupt Garner Rexton. The series is produced by Saban Entertainment, Inc. and Saban International N.V. (Business Wire via MotorsportsTV)(9-3-2002)

    (9-2-2002)

  • and even More Penske to Dodge talk: There are more indications of a Penske move from Ford to Dodge next season. According to team sources, more than three dozen Dodge engine blocks have been delivered to Penske South. A Penske move to Dodge would, according to team sources, be part of much larger business venture between Penske and Mercedes, which is DaimlerChrysler’s top-of-the-line car. Penske already has extensive business ties with Mercedes, and he is expanding his Mercedes dealerships which are run under the United Auto Group (UAG).(Winston Salem Journal). See ALL the past rumors on Penske to Dodge on my #2 Team News and Links page.(9-2-2002)
  • Darlington spends $15,625 to keep track dry: Keeping a race track dry doesn’t come cheap. Seven jet dryers used about 12,500 gallons of fuel at $1.25 a gallon in an attempt to keep Darlington Raceway dry over the past two rain-plagued days. That’s $15,625 of kerosene, otherwise called jet fuel, to make sure NASCAR fans got to see Saturday’s Bush Series race and Sunday’s Southern 500 Winston Cup race. Had they needed it, another 12,000 gallons were on standby. While Darlington Raceway gets the bill for the fuel, it didn’t supply its own jet dryer. Three came from Daytona, one from Talladega, one from Rockingham, one from Martinsville and one from Richmond.(The State)(9-2-2002)
  • Petty Enterprises to two cars in 2003? UPDATE denied and more on Andretti: The Buzz has learned that Petty Enterprises may be making a sponsor switch between the #44 and #45 Dodge teams. Sprint has already announced they would not be returning to the #45 of Kyle Petty after this year. With current sponsor Georgia Pacific still signed on with Petty, the team may move the sponsor from the #44, currently being driven by Jerry Nadeau, to the #45 for the 2003 season. With Christian Fittipaldi coming aboard next year in Busch and ARCA competition, Petty Enterprises may not put a driver in the #44 at all and utilize the shop space and resources for Fittipaldi. An announcement is expected to be made in Richmond next week if a sponsor switch is going to be made.(NASCAR.com Buzz)(8-28-2002)
    UPDATE: PRN’s Garage Pass radio show reports that Kyle Petty said Petty Enterprises will have three Cup teams in 2003, contrary to reports and that they need three teams to make it work. Petty also said the main question is if John Andretti will return in 2003 to the #43. Andretti has a contract in hand from Petty but has not decided on his 2003 plans yet.(8-31-2002)
    UPDATE 2: Petty Enterprises is waiting to see what John Andretti decides to do for next season. Andretti’s contract is up at the end of this season, and he has been wooed by Rick Hendrick and Chip Ganassi, according to team sources. It is not clear when Andretti might have to make a decision.(Winston Salem Journal)(9-2-2002)
  • Cowboys still looking to be in NASCAR: Owner Andy Petree’s inability to secure a top-name driver squashed the proposed partnership with the Cowboys organization, according to sources close to the situation. “We have to make sure that this will be done the right way and the way our fans would expect of anything the Cowboys are involved in,” Jerry Jones Jr., the Cowboys’ vice president/director of marketing, told The Dallas Morning News. NASCAR sources say the Cowboys are talking to other teams in the Winston Cup and Busch Series garages. Although there was speculation the NFL had “cross-marketing” concerns from the start, Jones and Petree would not confirm that. Petree faces the task of rethinking his game plan for 2003. Although he would like to field two teams, he might have trouble fielding one; he currently is without a driver or sponsor for next season.(Sporting News)(9-2-2002)
  • Testing on Sept 25th: New Daytona 500 rules are scheduled to be tested at Daytona on Sept. 25, the Wednesday between tour stops at Dover and Kansas City. NASCAR officials have proposed lowering rear spoilers to increase straightaway speed while decreasing downforce in the corners. The purpose is to try to split up the drafting pack into smaller packs. None of the tour’s top-10 teams made the trek to Florida for the first round of testing three weeks ago, and it is not clear if any of them will be running in this test either. Michael Waltrip, 14th in the standings coming to Darlington, was the top driver at the August test. The Woods #21 team will be at this next test, and Ricky Rudd could be at the wheel. The Woods and Rudd will be testing themselves in the next two weeks at Kentucky and Memphis to sort out chassis designs that Rudd might like. There was an odd anomaly in one of the NASCAR restrictor plates used in the August test, according to one team there: its holes were oddly aligned.(Winston Salem Journal)(9-2-2002)
  • Mike Wallace Looking: #14 A.J. Foyt Racing posted two top 10s in the last four races after not having finished better than 18th all season. Mike Wallace, who finished 10th at Bristol, says he’s “the most determined driver in the garage right now.” Although Wallace says A.J. Foyt asked him “to stick around for a while,” Wallace does not have a firm commitment. He says he is talking with several teams about next season.(Sporting News)(9-2-2002)
  • Yates and three teams in 2003? There’s still a slight possibility Robert Yates could be forced to field three teams next season if sponsor Chevron/Texaco opts out of an agreement with Chip Ganassi Racing. Chevron [Havoline/Texaco], which currently sponsors the #28 Ford that Ricky Rudd drives for Yates, is believed to be moving to Ganassi next season to fund a third entry. But Yates said the deal had a clause that allowed the sponsor to go back to him if the Ganassi entry did not shape up to its liking. Because there’s such a slim pool of available drivers for Ganassi to pick from, that could happen. The deadline is this week, Yates said. Yates is firm in that he only wants to field two cars next season. Elliott Sadler is stepping into the ride Rudd currently drives and M&M’s will sponsor it [but will switch to #38]. So Yates tried to get out of his deal with Texaco a year early, freeing the company to sign with Ganassi. Ganassi officials have not confirmed that they have made a sponsorship deal with Texaco, but have admitted they want to field three teams next season.(ThatsRacin.com/AP)(9-2-2002)
  • Standard Boby Locations the law in 2003: NASCAR has informed the teams it will require them to have standard body locations in 2003, meaning all the cars will be nearly identical in chassis setups. There is now no restriction on how far forward or backward the body on a Cup car can be located. Teams vary that position from track to track to help balance the car. Bodies are moved forward on superspeedways to keep air off the rear spoilers and reduce drag, and moved backward on shorter tracks.(NASCAR.com/AP), see more on this on my NASCAR Past News page.(9-2-2002)
  • Aero Rules for GM to get another look: NASCAR spokesman Jim Hunter said that NASCAR would would review the kick-out on front air dams allowed on the Chevy and Pontiac in Sunday’s Southern 500. Hunter said, however, that early indications point to allowing the rule to remain in effect for the rest of the season. A 1-inch kick-out was given to the Chevrolets at Michigan as was a 1/2-inch allowance on Pontiacs. It was retracted last weekend at Bristol, then reinstated this weekend at Darlington on a week-to-week basis.(ThatsRacin.com)(9-2-2002)
  • Crew Change at DEI during the race: Two members of Dale Earnhardt Jr.’s pit crew were switched out during the race and replaced by two crew members from Dale Earnhardt Inc. teammate Steve Park’s team after Park was involved in an accident. Walt Smith, who oversees the pit crew training on all three DEI teams, made the change, which involved the rear tire carrier and tire changer. (ThatsRacin.com)(9-2-2002)

 


(9-1-2002)

 

  • Jeff Gordon wins his 5th Southern 500 at Darlington: #24-Jeff Gordon won the Mountain Dew Southern 500, winning his 5th ever Souther 500 which ties him with Cale Yarborough for the most ever. The 23 cars that finished on the lead lap is a record for the Southern 500. It is Gordon’s 60th career win. #12-Ryan Newman was 2nd.
    Race Re-Air: The Southern 500 will be re-aired on TNT, Tues, Sept 3rd, 1:00am/et; Speed Channel on Wed, Sept 4th, 8:00pm/et and Thurs, Sept 5th, 1:00am/et.
    Race Results: at ThatsRacin.com or NASCAR.com.
    Past news, cautions, notes on the race at my Mountain Dew Southern 500 Race Info page.(9-1-2002)
  • PPI Racing to do their own engines? NASCAR.com’s The Buzz has learned that Cal Wells III and his #32 PPI Motorsports team will do their own engines beginning in 2003, when the team — with driver Ricky Craven — plans to switch from the Ford Tauruses it currently runs to the newly designed 2003 Pontiac Grand Prix. Wells’ team currently employs Ford engines from Robert Yates Racing, and is extremely pleased with the power output. However, unlike Roush Racing — which has heavy Ford involvement but has built GM engines for the NASCAR Busch Series — Yates does no GM engines. Wells plans to announce the head of his engine program this week.(NASCAR.com)(9-1-2002)
  • Papis and Fukuyama in NASCAR? Travis Carter said his Lakeland, FL test with Indy-car driver Max Papis was inspiring: “He is the most dedicated race-car driver I have ever seen.” Carter said he wants to put Papis, who has a rigorous weight-training program, into a Busch car next season if he can put together a sponsorship package. Carter will head to Japan this week for some PR appearances with Hideo Fukuyama, one of that country’s top drivers, who would like to run the Winston Cup tour next season in one of Carter’s two cars. “He’s real cautious and doesn’t want to get in over his head,” Carter said of Fukuyama. “He wants two little mirrors – but said he figures he won’t need them for at least the first 10 laps.” One problem: Fukuyama speaks very little English, and Carter speaks very little Japanese. Spotting could be a problem. Danny Culler spotted for the team on the Motegi-Suzuka trips.(Winston Salem Journal)
    UPDATE: Former Japanese GT champion Hideo Fukuyama has tested a Haas Carter Motorsports Ford in hopes of making his Winston Cup debut this fall. Fukuyama, 47, was able to test one day last week at Dover before rain interrupted the test. Owner Travis Carter has hired young crew chief Teddy Brown, who at the beginning of the season worked on the turnaround by BAM Racing with Shawna Robinson, to engineer Fukuyama’s program. Carter, who was planning a trip this week to Japan, would like to test Fukuyama again at Dover and at Rockingham before he attempts Winston Cup races at Dover, Martinsville and Rockingham [in the #66 Ford?]. Fukuyama has also raced in a couple NASCAR Winston West Series events, including one at the Twin Ring Motegi oval in Japan and another at Pikes Peak International Raceway. He met Carter at the first NASCAR exhibition race in Japan, at the Suzuka Circuit road course and drove his #23 Team Camel Ford. Fukuyama competed in both Winston Cup style exhibitions at Suzuka and also drove in the Winston Cup race at the 1.5-mile Motegi oval in 1998 and the final NASCAR appearance in Japan, the Winston West finale in 1999.(NASCAR.com)
    AND Winston Cup car owner Travis Carter plans to enter Japanese driver Hideo Fukuyama in his No. 66 Ford in three races this season, at Dover, Martinsville and Rockingham. Fukuyama has two starts in Winston West series events, November 1999 at Twin Ring Motegi in Japan and July 1998 at Pikes Peak in Colorado. His best finish was 15th at Motegi. He also competed in the NASCAR exhibition race at Suzuka, Japan, in 1996. The team expects to have a sponsor in place for the races soon.(ThatsRacin.com)(9-1-2002)
  • Carter talking to DiscoverCard to extend: #26 team owner Travis Carter said he has been in discussions with executives from Discover Card in hopes the company would extend the sponsorship program with his #26 Ford driven by Todd Bodine. That deal began about a third of the way through this season, then was extended through the end of 2002. The team owner said he hoped to retain Bodine’s services for 2003, but that retaining Discover was critical to that aim.(NASCAR.com)(9-1-2002)
  • Inductions: Dale Inman, former crew chief for Richard Petty, pioneer NASCAR official Edward Otto and legendary team owners Leonard Wood and Bud Moore were inducted last night into the National Motorsports Press Association Stock Car Racing Hall of Fame.
    AND Proving that it’s not always about the driver, the National Motorsports Press Association on Saturday night inducted into its Hall of Fame four new members who have a collective total of zero Winston Cup starts. Dale Inman, Bud Moore and Leonard Wood all played major roles in building some of the sport’s greatest race cars and teams. The fourth inductee, the late Ed Otto, was a pioneer in NASCAR’s early organization and promotion. Inman had 193 career victories as a crew chief, 180 of those with seven-time champion Richard Petty. Moore was a team owner who scored 63 victories, 43 poles and two championships in his long career. Wood is part of the Wood Brothers racing dynasty that has won 97 races and 116 poles with at least one victory in each of the sport’s six decades. His brother, Glen, was inducted into the NMPA Hall of Fame a year ago. Otto was the first vice president of NASCAR who helped the fledgling organization expand its reach to the Northeast, Midwest and West regions of the country shortly after its founding in 1948.(ThatsRacin.com)(9-1-2002)
  • Stewart ain’t going anywhere: Joe Gibbs Racing hoped to silence talk that Tony Stewart might be trying to get out of his contract early, saying there have been no discussions between the driver and team. “There’s absolutely no truth to that,” said J.D. Gibbs, president of JGR. “The nature of this sport is that when a guy is running well, other teams try to talk to him. But there’s no truth that Tony is trying to leave.” Stewart, in his fourth season with Gibbs, is signed through 2004. There’s been speculation that he might drive for Chip Ganassi, who fielded a car for Stewart in the Indianapolis 500 last season, and it’s believed Dallas Cowboys owner Jerry Jones tried to get him when he was considering buying into a Winston Cup team. But Gibbs said Stewart isn’t going anywhere, at least for the time being. “He’s here at least through ’04,” Gibbs said. “Our policy has always been to not talk about guys under contract, so we don’t talk about that.”(ThatsRacin.com/AP)(9-1-2002)