September 2003 Busch Series Archive
- Cookbook: The Busch Series Ladies Association is pleased to announce the arrival of its first publication . . . Over the Wall Recipes, Checkered Flag Favorites of the Busch Series Ladies Association. Over the Wall Recipes contains nearly 500 recipes submitted by fans, BSLA and Winston Cup Racing Wives Auxiliary members, drivers, crew members and their families.. Also included are recipes from Motor Racing Outreach (MRO), NASCAR officials and broadcasters.. Recipes include the following: appetizers, soups and salads, sides and vegetables, main dishes, breads and rolls, cookies and candy, desserts, this and that. Sara Lee and Carrie Enders, both charter members of the BSLA spearheaded the cookbook project and spent many hours painstakingly typing in the nearly 500 recipes as well as categorizing them.. Support from Kingsford and Amick Farms made the book a reality along with graphics help from the Decal Source. Over the Wall Recipes will sell for $12.00 per book plus a shipping and handling charge.. Log onto www.buschladies.com for more information or to order yours today. All proceeds from the cookbook will benefit the Busch Series Ladies Association. The Busch Series Ladies Association, founded in 1996, is a non-profit organization that helps injured drivers and crew members in the Busch Series family.. In addition, the BSLA works to promote other charitable works.. For more information or to contact us be sure to log on to www.buschladies.com.(PR)(10-21-2002)
- Todd Bodine in the #48 at Kansas: Innovative Motorsports, Inc. (IMI) has reached an agreement with Todd Bodine to place Bodine in IMI’s #48 NASCAR Busch Series Chevrolet Monte Carlo at Kansas Speedway for the running of the Mr. Goodcents 300 on Saturday, October 4. “Our entire organization and everyone at Goulds Pumps want to thank Todd for stepping in and helping us out on such short notice,” said IMI team owner George deBidart. “We are very excited about our chances with Todd driving for us at Kansas.” The #48 IMI team is currently 10th in the NASCAR Busch Series owner standings. Jeff Green drove the #48 at Dover in the last NASCAR Busch Series event, where he finished 39th after getting caught in an accident involving Scott Riggs, David Stremme and David Green on lap 17.(Innovative Motorsports PR)(9-30-2003)
- Dallenbach to run some Busch races UPDATE 4: It appears the deal that former Winston Cup crew chief and current FOX Sports broadcaster Larry McReynolds and driver/broadcaster Wally Dallenbach have been trying to put together to compete in the Busch Series will happen. Dallenbach, the former SCCA Trans-Am champion who works the second half of the NASCAR season for TNT/NBC, plans to compete next weekend in a Reiser Enterprises car when the Busch Series races at Kentucky Speedway. But he and McReynolds are on the verge of announcing a deal to race four times in the fall, in Busch races at Kansas Speedway, Atlanta Motor Speedway, Homestead-Miami Speedway and Phoenix International Raceway.(NASCAR.com)(6-8-2003)
UPDATE – Dallenbach to run Kentucky: NBC/TNT broadcaster/driver Wally Dallenbach is entered at Kentucky in the #17 Aleve Ford owned by John Reiser. The car has been driven by NASCAR Winston Cup Series point leader Matt Kenseth in six races this year and has been to Victory Lane twice (California and Charlotte). In three races last year, Dallenbach had two top-10 finishes with his best (seventh) coming at Lowe’s Motor Speedway in October.(NASCAR PR)(6-11-2003)
UPDATE 2: hearing the sponsor for Dallenbach and McReynolds will be Mr.Clean and the team will be run out the Reiser shop and be #17.(6-11-2003)
UPDATE 3: NBC/TNT broadcast Wally Dallenbach mentioned during the NBC’s Watkins Glen broadcast that he had a five-race Busch Series deal with John Reiser [the #17 Busch team] and hinted that they will have a ‘clean’ sponsor, then the camera show a Mr. Clean look-a-like and Wally said it was a clue. The races mentioned above plus the 2004 Busch race at Daytona.(8-11-2003)
UPDATE 4 Official: Mr. Clean is stepping out of the home and onto the racetrack with the sponsorship of the Mr. Clean AutoDry Carwash racecar. Wally Dallenbach will be in the driver’s seat of the Mr. Clean AutoDry car for five Busch Series races. Mr. Clean AutoDry Carwash is a revolutionary car care system that cleans all the surfaces of your car and eliminates the need for any hand drying — guaranteed. The introduction of Mr. Clean into the car care aisle is a result of 3 1/2 years of exposure testing, working with auto industry experts, and in-home testing with hundreds of consumers. “Mr. Clean is a brand we’ve all known and trusted for 40 years, so it is very exciting to be part of the introduction of Mr. Clean AutoDry Carwash to the NASCAR audience,” said Wally Dallenbach. “I am looking forward to getting back on the racetrack behind the wheel of the Mr. Clean AutoDry car and involved again in Busch Series competition.” The blue and green Mr. Clean AutoDry car will make its first race appearance at the Kansas Speedway on October 4. The full five-race schedule will run through 2004: October 4, Kansas City; October 25, Atlanta; November 1, Phoenix; November 15, Miami; and February 13, 2004, Daytona. “To have Wally Dallenbach, a legend in racing, team up with the legend of cleaning, Mr. Clean, was the perfect way to introduce Mr. Clean AutoDry to NASCAR,” said Bob Gilbreath, Mr. Clean brand manager. “There is no better place to reach car lovers and experts with Mr. Clean AutoDry, a product that will revolutionize car care at home and on the track.”(PR Newswire/MotorsportsTV)(9-28-2003)
- Shelby Howard to Make His NASCAR Debut at Kansas: Shelby Howard, the youngest race winner ever in the ARCA RE/MAX Series, plans to make his NASCAR debut in the October 4th NASCAR Busch Series race at Kansas Speedway. Howard will be behind the wheel of the #43 Dr Pepper/Curb Records Dodge, competing under the Curb-Agajanian Motorsports banner. Veteran Dan Glauz will handle crew chief duties and the #77 Jasper Motorsports Winston Cup crew will perform the over-the-wall duties. With another sponsor being on the #26 car for a handful of races to close out the 2003 season, Dr Pepper decided to jump on board with the #43 team. Wrapping up their sixth year of involvement in the NASCAR Busch Series, Dr Pepper will be a part of the excitement surrounding the debut of NASCAR’s next sensation. Howard is also scheduled for the October 25th Aaron’s 312 NASCAR Busch race at Atlanta Motor Speedway. To learn more about Shelby Howard, check out his website at http://www.shelbyhoward.com.(Trackside Marketing Group PR)(9-27-2003)
- Hamilton Jr. to attempt Cup race at Kansas: it was mentioned during TNT’s Busch Series race coverage while reporting on the full field that Bobby Hamilton Jr. would be attempting to make the Cup race at Kansas Speedway in Oct.(TNT’s Race coverage of the Busch Series race)(9-6-2003)
UPDATE: “I want to see how we stack up.” Those were the words of Team Rensi Motorsports Crew Chief Harold Holly when asked why the team would attempt the Banquet 400 Winston Cup race at Kansas Speedway. Since Holly has joined Team Rensi Motorsports and driver Bobby Hamilton, Jr. the organization has been on fire with two wins, seven top-fives and ten top-ten finishes in 14 starts in the Busch Series. Now the organization owned by brothers Ed and Sam Rensi and Gary Weisbaum will make a step up to the Winston Cup Series for the 400-mile race. Bobby Hamilton, Jr. currently sits in sixth position in the NASCAR Busch Series Point Standings and is eager to compete with the Winston Cup drivers. “Everyone here at Team Rensi is excited about the opportunity to see what we can do in Winston Cup. We feel like we have put together a real strong Busch Series team and now we want to see what we can do in Winston Cup. It’s everyone’s goal here to eventually run full-time in The Winston Cup Series. This will be a good test to see where we stand.” Earlier this year, prior to the arrival of crew chief Harold Holly, the team failed to qualify for the Winston Cup race at Atlanta Motor Speedway. The race marked the first time Hamilton, Jr. had failed to qualify for a Winston Cup race in 12 previous attempts. His best career finish came in 2001 at Talladega Superspeedway where he finished 14th. Hamilton, Jr. will pilot a #35 Ford Taurus with Robert Yates horsepower in the Banquet 400. The team spent two days earlier this week testing at the 1.5-mile Kansas Speedway. Team Rensi is currently searching for sponsorship for the event. Interested companies, check the team site at www.teamrensimotorsports.com for more information.(9-26-2003)
- More on the Thurman Thomas Busch team: MSM Sports Marketing Group has signed on handle sponsorships for Thurman Thomas Racing, the business venture launched by the former Buffalo Bills running back. The Rochester firm, a division of Mason Selkowitz Marketing, will be in charge of local, regional and national sponsorship packages. Thomas Racing is based in Orlando, Fla., and made its debut recently on the American Speed Association circuit in Chicago with 20-year old rookie driver Tim Russell. The team will race on two more occasions in ASA events this year and again next year with plans to move to the Nascar Busch Series in 2005. Thurman Thomas was a member of the Bills’ four Super Bowl teams and finished as the National Football League’s ninth all-time leading rusher. His former Bills’ teammate, Hall of Fame quarterback Jim Kelly, has also become involved in professional auto racing.(Buffalo Business First)(9-25-2003)
- Hmiel back by Daytona? both Shane Hmiel’s father Steve and his Busch team owner George deBidart are very optimistic that Shane will make a return eventually to NASCAR Busch Series. And he can follow NASCAR’s road plan that they’ve laid out for him. If everything goes well, then they expect him to make a return perhaps as early as Daytona. When NASCAR changed the wording and said that this suspension was indefinite, that kind of gave them a little wiggle room to see how Shane performs over the next few months.(Sporting News/FoxSports)(9-25-2003)
- Driver Gets to Fly Over at Dover: Busch Series driver Donnie Neuenberger drove the number #52 car in Saturday’s Busch Series race at Dover and then flew in one of the F-16’s piloted by Col. Robert Montgomery of the DC Air National Guard 121st Fighter Squadron for the fly over during the pre-race ceremonies prior to Sunday’s cup race. Jayski’s old Air Force roommate, John Baden, is with the 121st Fighter Squadron.(see images and more on the Donnie Neuenberger Site)(9-23-2003)
- Rooting for Hmiel: Some Busch series drivers say they hope that Shane Hmiel follows NASCAR’s orders to return to racing after he was suspended indefinitely for violating the sanctioning body’s substance abuse policy.
“I’ve always hung out with him in the motorhome a lot and I’ve never seen anything crazy,” Bobby Hamilton Jr. said. “I just couldn’t believe what I heard because he just doesn’t fit the type.”
Said Scott Riggs : “I like Shane. I hope someone gives him a break in the future.”
Brian Vickers, who has known Hmiel for several years, said he hopes to race Hmiel in the Cup series in the future.(Roanoke Times)(9-22-2003)
- Drivers for Rusty’s Busch team? UPDATE 5: Rusty Wallace is looking for a driver for his Busch team, and two men he’s considering are Billy ‘Catfish’ Parker, Hank Parker’s kid brother, and Burt Myers, the son of Bowman Gray racer Gary Myers. Chad Blount has been scratched from the list, according to sources.(Winston Salem Journal)(7-28-2003)
UPDATE: Rusty Wallace plans to field a Busch Series team next season and will make the announcement soon. The driver is expected to be Billy “Catfish” Parker, a late-model competitor and brother of Busch driver Hank Parker Jr.(Sporting News), see my #2 Team News and Links page for past rumors on Rusty’s Busch team.(8-25-2003)
UPDATE 2: Look for an announcement to be made at Dover that Billy “Catfish” Parker is the driver of Rusty Wallace’s Busch car.(9-2-2003)
UPDATE 3: Rusty expected to make major announcement concerning his new Busch Series team next weekend at Dover. Plus… “My top-five was better than yours, dad,” might have been what 16-year-old Stephen Wallace said to Rusty after last Saturday night’s Chevy 400 at Richmond where the elder Wallace ran fifth. The younger Wallace had finished third in the prestigious annual Bobby Isaac Memorial 300 at Hickory Motor Speedway on Labor Day. Stephen was quite impressive, with only veterans Dennis Setzer (winner) and Billy “Catfish” Parker (second-place) finishing in front of him in that tough short-track battle.(Tom Roberts PR)(9-10-2003)
UPDATE 4: former crew chief and current FSN/Speed Channel Broadcaster Barry Dotson will be the teams General Manager and one of the sponsors will be Duraflame.(NASCAR.com conversation with Wallace)(9-15-2003)
UPDATE 5: Winston Cup driver [#2] Rusty Wallace formally announced plans Saturday to begin fielding his own Busch Series next season, which will run Billy Parker in 17 races in the #66 Dodge sponsored by Duraflame. Wallace is constructing a new race shop in Mooresville, N.C., for this team. He formally owned a series team for three years beginning in 1989 with his younger brother Kenny Wallace as the driver. Parker, 26, currently competes in the NASCAR Late Model series at Hickory (NC) Motor Speedway and has made three Busch starts in his career. “This chance to drive a race car for Rusty Wallace is an unbelievable opportunity, and I’m already looking forward to next season,” said Parker, brother of Busch series driver Hank Parker Jr. “This year, I raced against Rusty’s son, Stephen, at Hickory and we became pretty friendly. One day, Stephen asked me if I wanted to have lunch with his father. Next thing I know, I’m driving a Busch car for Rusty Wallace.”(ThatsRacin.com) and see image of the car on my 2003 Busch Schemes page and a full PR and image at Tom Roberts site.(9-20-2003)
- Vickers wins at Dover: #5-Brian Vickers won the Stacker 2 200 at Dover International Speedway, winning the race off pit road during the finals pitstops, Vickers also takes over the points lead after #37-David Green was punted by #10-Scott Riggs and finished 31st with a very damaged car. Rounding out the top five were #25-Hamilton Jr, #10-Riggs, #38-Kahne and #20-Bliss.
For results see ThatsRacin.com, BGNRacing.com or NASCAR.com.(9-20-2003)
- PPM to debut at Kansas: PPM Racing of Houston, TX is pleased to announce an agreement with BG Products for Primary Sponsorship of the PPM Racing #03 Ford in the Mr. Goodcents 300 at Kansas Speedway. Racing veteran Anthony Lazzaro will drive the vehicle in the team’s NASCAR Busch Series debut.(PPM PR)(9-20-2003)
- Some Dover Notes from NASCAR: #23-Scott Wimmer started 26th before winning his first career NASCAR Busch Series race last fall at Dover. In five starts at Dover, Wimmer’s average finish is 7.8. No other driver with five or more NASCAR Busch Series starts at Dover has a better finishing average. #57-Jason Keller has five top fives at Dover. Only four drivers, Todd Bodine, 7; Ricky Craven, Dale Jarrettand Matt Kenseth, 6 have more. #4-Mike Wallace won the first race of his NASCAR Busch Series career at Dover in June 1994. Chevrolets dominate NASCAR Busch Series competition at Dover, with 17 wins in the 21 races. In all, Chevrolet drivers have won 20 races to five for Pontiac and three for Ford.(NASCAR PR)(9-18-2003)
- Hmiel Suspended by NASCAR Indefinitely: Officials of NASCAR have suspended driver Shane Hmiel indefinitely pursuant to sections 12-4-A: Actions detrimental to stock car racing; and 12-4-E: Violation of the NASCAR Substance Abuse Policy as set forth in the 2003 NASCAR rule book.
……….. The indefinite suspension will remain in effect until Hmiel meets the terms and conditions as set forth by NASCAR for future reinstatement. To that end, NASCAR will require Hmiel to attend counseling and undergo periodic random testing.
……….. “NASCAR has a zero tolerance for any type of behavior in violation of our Substance Abuse Policy,” said NASCAR President Mike Helton. “While our primary responsibility is the safety of our drivers and our fans, we also have a moral responsibility to protect the integrity of our sport.”
……….. To emphasize the critical importance of a substance-free sport, NASCAR, in 1988, created its Substance Abuse Policy. The policy provides for testing under reasonable suspicion, an approach that is well suited to NASCAR because of the close and continuing contact between our officials and our competitors.
……….. Hmiel currently ranks eighth in the NASCAR Busch Series point standings. He has four top-five finishes in 26 starts this season.(NASCAR PR)(9-18-2003)
- Hmiel Responds: “I am deeply saddened by the circumstances that resulted in my suspension. I understand and expect there to be widespread criticism and conjecture. NASCAR will be providing me with a plan that I need to follow to regain their confidence in me and regain the respect of my fellow competitors. I am beyond a doubt prepared to cooperate with NASCAR to meet the terms and conditions as set forth for my future reinstatement. While I surely look forward to adhering to NASCAR’s program, which I fully support, I want to make it clear that I have never taken any substance that would interfere with my ability to drive a racecar or place my fellow competitors at risk. I would like to express my appreciation to my team owners George and Vicki deBidart, my team and sponsors. I expect to see my friends and acquaintances during my suspension and ask for their support in the most important endeavor of my young life.”(NASCAR.com)(9-19-2003)
- Hmiel Released? UPDATE 3 Yes: there are some rumors floating around that Shane Hmiel has been released from his ride with the #48 Innovative Motorsports team, but have not been able to confirm that with sources or the team. He is still listed on NASCAR.com’s Entry List for the Stacker 2 200 race at Dover.
UPDATE: Shane Hmiel has reportedly been released from the #48 team, effective immediately. He will be replaced by Jeff Green this weekend at Dover.(BGN Racing Site)(9-16-2003)
UPDATE 2: Shane Hmiel will not compete in this weekend’s race at Dover with his #48 Innovative Motorsports team and may face suspension from the series, ThatsRacin.com has learned. Hmiel will not be driving the #48 Chevy in Saturday’s Stacker 200 at Dover International Speedway and his team has made arrangements for former Busch champion Jeff Green to sub in the Dover event and perhaps longer, several sources confirmed. During Wednesday’s taping of Performance Racing Network’s Alltel Pit Reporters show, Green said he was driving the #48 for most of the rest of the season. He was the show’s call-in guest. Speculation is that Hmiel, 23, faces suspension from the series regarding an undisclosed violation of NASCAR policies. Since Tuesday morning, ThatsRacin.com has sought comment from a number of NASCAR officials on Hmiel’s status. At first, officials referred all questions regarding Hmiel to NASCAR vice president Jim Hunter, who did not return several telephone messages left for him Tuesday at his office in Daytona Beach, Fla. Wednesday afternoon, after additional requests for comment, a one-sentence statement from Hunter was released by email: “It would be inappropriate at this time for us to comment on speculation such as this,” it read. Messages left at Hmiel’s Innovative Motorsports team also went unreturned Wednesday. Hmiel is in his second full season in the series. He is eighth in series points with four top-five and 10 top-10 finishes in 26 starts.(ThatsRacin.com)
AND from NASCAR.com Buzz: An unnamed source said that Hmiel was subjected to a drug test after the race at Richmond International Raceway two weeks ago and allegedly failed it. A spokesperson for Hmiel’s Busch team declined comment Wednesday, and NASCAR could not be immediately reached for comment.(NASCAR.com)(9-17-2003)
UPDATE 3: Innovative Motorsports, Inc. (IMI) is releasing Shane Hmiel of his driving duties of the #48 NASCAR Busch Series Chevrolet Monte Carlo effective immediately.
As of today, Hmiel has been suspended indefinitely from NASCAR sanctioned events for actions deemed detrimental to stock car racing and violation of the NASCAR substance abuse policy. “First and foremost, our entire organization wants to apologize to our sponsors, NASCAR, each of the NASCAR competitors, and our fans due to the recent developments surrounding this situation,” said IMI team owner George deBidart. “We certainly do not condone this type of behavior, and we fully support NASCAR in its decision. In an effort to prevent these circumstances from embarrassing our team and me in the future, we will immediately institute a drug testing policy within our organization for all employees.”
The #48 IMI team is currently 9th in the NASCAR Busch Series owner standings. IMI has selected Jeff Green to drive the #48 at Dover this weekend. Green will start 9th.(Innovative Motorsports PR)(9-18-2003)
- Penalties Announced from RIR incident UPDATE: Drivers Shane Hmiel and Jason Keller, along with their crew chiefs, received varying penalties for their involvement in a garage area altercation following last Friday night’s NASCAR Busch Series race at Richmond International Raceway, NASCAR officials announced Monday. Hmiel, driver of the #48 Chevy, and Keller, driver of the #57 Ford, were fined $5,000 each and placed on probation until Dec. 31. Gere Kennon, crew chief for Hmiel, and Steve Addington, crew chief for Keller, were fined $10,000 each and placed on probation until Dec. 31. All parties involved were in violation of Section 12-4-A (Actions detrimental to stock car racing: Involved in an altercation with another competitor in the garage area after the completion of the race) of the NASCAR Busch Series Rule Book. Kennon’s and Addington’s infractions under 9-4-A also included the crew chief assumes responsibility for the actions of his or her driver, car owner and team members.(NASCAR PR)(9-9-2003)
UPDATE: On September 17, 2003, the National Stock Car Racing Commission heard and considered the appeal of Innovative Motorsports.. The appeal pertained to two penalties issued by NASCAR following an incident in the garage at the conclusion of the NASCAR Busch Series race at Richmond International Raceway on September 5, 2003.
The penalties assessed by NASCAR were:
……….. -Driver, Shane Hmiel: $5,000 fine and probation until December 31, 2003 for actions detrimental to stock car racing; being involved in an altercation with another competitor in the garage area after the completion of the race.
……….. -Crew Chief, Gere Kennon:. $10,000 fine and probation until December 31, 2003 for actions detrimental to stock car racing; being involved in an altercation with another competitor in the garage area after the completion of the race; crew chief assumes responsibility for the actions of his or her driver, car owner and team members.
With regards to the penalty issued to Mr. Hmiel, the post-race altercation between Jason Keller and Shane Hmiel clearly sparked the ensuing brawl.
With regards to the penalty issued to Mr. Kennon, the Appellants argued that the Innovative Motorsports Team members were not the instigators of the fight, but reacted defensively to aggression. While the Appellant’s argument was plausible and compelling, the evidence available to NASCAR of exactly who “threw the first punch” is conflicting and inconclusive, so the Commission finds that NASCAR was correct in assessing the same penalty to both teams in this case. It is therefore the unanimous decision of the National Stock Car Racing Commission to uphold both penalties assessed by NASCAR. The Appellants have the right, under Section 15 of the NASCAR Rule Book, to appeal either or both of these decisions to the National Stock Car Racing Commissioner.(NASCAR PR)(9-18-2003)
- Richmond TV: The Sept. 5 Funai 250 at Richmond International Raceway, televised by TNT, had 1,408,000 households tuned in, 69% more than the Sept. 7 IRL race on ABC and 17% morethan the Sept. 7 American Le Mans race on NBC. (Figures from Nielsen Media Research.)(NASCAR PR)(9-18-2003)
- LaJoie to make Truck Series Debut: Randy Lajoie, a two-time NASCAR Busch Series champion, will make his NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series debut on Saturday, Sept. 27 in the Las Vegas 350 at Las Vegas Motor Speedway. He will be driving a truck [#6] owned by NASCAR Winston Cup star Kevin Harvick. “I am very excited about making my truck debut for Kevin and DeLana Harvick,” Lajoie said. “They’ve had a chance to win every race they’ve been in, so for them to trust me enough to drive such a good truck is an honor. I have had some good runs at Las Vegas in the Busch car, and I’m looking forward to this one.” Harvick, who pilots the #29 GM Goodwrench Chevrolet on the Winston Cup tour, is making plans to run his truck team full time in 2004. “We’ve raced the truck mostly on short tracks, and I want to see how our equipment will stand up on the bigger tracks,” Harvick said. “I hired Randy because he can drive a race car. He knows how to get around (Las Vegas Motor Speedway), and I think he can go out there and win.” And what does Lajoie think of his chances? “I’m going to win the race,” Lajoie said. “If I can run in the top five and then have a chance to win the race, then I would be pretty happy.” Lajoie is one of only four drivers to have started all seven NASCAR Busch Series races at Las Vegas Motor Speedway. He has two top-10 finishes with a career-best seventh in the 2002 Sam’s Town 300. The Las Vegas 350 is set for a 7 p.m. start on Saturday, Sept. 27. Qualifying is at noon and a driver autograph session will be held at 4:30.(LVMS PR)(9-17-2003)
- Jeff Green to drive the #92 at Kansas: Jeff Green will run the #92 Herzog-Jackson Motorsports Chevy at Kansas Speedway on Oct 4th per the Jeff Green site.(9-17-2003)
- Qualifying for Cup and Busch CANCELLED: NASCAR has canceled qualifying for the Busch and Winston Cup events at Dover International Speedway as part of a contingency plan implemented due to the impending arrival of Hurricane Isabel. Starting lineups will be based on owner points standings. Kevin Harvick will start from the pole for Saturday’s Stacker 200. Matt Kenseth will be in the front for Sunday’s MBNA America 400.(ThatsRacin.com), current plans have the Busch Series practicing for one hour at 8:00am/et on Saturday, followed by a 1:15 Cup practice at 11:15am, the Busch race at 1:00pm/et, with Cup Happy Hour after the Busch Series race [approx. 3:30pm/et](NASCAR PR)
Lineups at Motorsports One and NASCAR.com – Busch Series.(9-16-2003)
- Waltrip’s New Crew Chief? hearing that Jerry Baxter will be the new crew chief for Michael Waltrip and the #99 Aaron’s Dream Machine in the Busch Series.(9-15-2003)
- Stremme gets full gig in 2004: James Finch liked enough of what he saw from David Stremme in a part-time role this season to make him the full-time driver next season. Stremme, 26, of South Bend, Ind., will drive Finch’s #1 Yellow Dodges for the full, 34-race 2004 NASCAR Busch Series schedule. The move, which Finch revealed last weekend at Richmond International Raceway, consummated a desire the longtime owner had expressed at the beginning of the season, to run a single driver for the championship. Finch and racing magnate Chip Ganassi put together a deal through which several drivers affiliated with Ganassi would drive Finch’s potent No. 1 cars. In the end, Ganassi’s Winston Cup Raybestos Rookie of the Year point leader Jamie McMurray and Stremme have split the season. The No. 1 Dodge, which has also split sponsorship between Yellow and the Miccosukee Indian Gaming Group; is currently seventh in the owner standings. Finch and his team have undergone a move from its longtime base in Lynn Haven, Fla., to the Carolinas. A number of crewmen left at that time and so that added to the building process, Stremme said.(NASCAR.com)(9-10-2003)
- Smallest between 1st and 2nd: The smallest lead between first and second in the NASCAR Busch Series standings with eight races to go was Johnny Benson’s seven-point cushion over Chad Little in 1995. Benson scored the title that season for BACE Motorsports, the first of an unprecedented three NASCAR Busch Series titles in a row for team owner Bill Baumgardner.(NASCAR PR)(9-10-2003)
- DW to field a full-time Truck Team in 2004 – Kennedy from one Waltrip to the other: Three-time Winston Cup champion and current NASCAR on FOX analyst Darrell Waltrip will make a return to the team ownership ranks as he plans to field a full-time entry in the 2004 NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series. “I’ve always loved the truck series,” said Waltrip. When I had my own team back in ’96 & ’97, we almost won the championship. Driving in the truck races the last couple years has given me the desire to own my own team again. It’s going to take a lot of hard work and dedication from my guys but I won’t rest until we are contending for the championship again.” “And,” added Waltrip, “I have the blessing from Headquarters that I can run up to three races next year as well, so look for ol’DW to be back on-track too. In 1997, Darrell Waltrip Motorsports won three NASCAR Craftsman Truck races and four pole positions. The #17 team finished 2nd in the series point standings.(PR/FoxSports)
AND – Kennedy Is the Crew Chief: NASCAR veteran crew chief Bobby Kennedy will leave Michael Waltrip Racing to head up Darrell Waltrip Motorsports return to the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series. Kennedy, who has guided Michael Waltrip to two NASCAR Busch Series wins over the last two seasons is looking forward to the new opportunity. “I feel that when we compete in a Busch Series event, the Aarons Dream Machine is the car to beat. I love building a team and I am very proud of the organization we have put together. Michael gave me everything I needed to form a winning team and I know DW will, as well.” Michael Waltrip is very supportive of Kennedy’s decision. “I love Bobby Kennedy and I love my brother. So, I am happy for them. Bobby really enjoyed racing the truck this year. He has been successful in Winston Cup and the Busch Series and now wants to tackle the trucks. Bobby’s knowledge and experience in the NASCAR world will be valuable to Darrell’s effort. The depth in the team at Michael Waltrip Racing will guarantee our continued success.” Kennedy will continue his at track duties as crew chief for Michael Waltrip Racing until the end of the 2003 season.(PR/FoxSports)(9-10-2003)
- Jay Robinson Racing taking diversity to a whole new level: There’s diversity and then there’s diversity, and Jay Robinson Racing has it. The team’s #49 Advil Liqui-Gels Ford entry has a female driver in Tammy Jo Kirk, and a female general manager in Elaine Hughes, who’s also gone over the wall on several occasions to carry tires or handle the catch can. There’s Louise Kritzberger, who works with tires for the team. And Catherine Roby is a part-time mechanic who’s changed the front tires. And that’s just the female contingent. George Hines is the team’s jackman and a mechanic who’s African-American, as is rear tire changer David Cropps.(NASCAR PR)(9-10-2003)
- Houston to take over PR? UPDATE 2: hearing that Rick Houston, Busch Series editor for Winston Cup Scene, will be taking over the NASCAR Busch series PR job beginning next month.(7-30-2003)
UPDATE: Rick Houston has been named NASCAR’s Manager of Communications for the Busch Series. Houston has served as an editor with NASCAR Winston Cup Scene in recent years.(Tennessean)(8-24-2003)
UPDATE 2: hearing the Daytona Beach News Journal reporter/columnist, Bob Pockrass, will take Houston’s place at the Winston Cup Scene.(9-10-2003)
- ppc to test Atlanta next week UPDATE: on Septmeber 8-9th, the ppc Racing team of #10-Scott Riggs and #57-Jason Keller are schedueld to test at Atlanta Motor Speedway, testing is closed to the public.(AMS PR)(9-4-2003)
UPDATE: After concentrating on finding speed Monday afternoon at Atlanta Motor Speedway, NASCAR Busch driver Scott Riggs and his PPC racing team spent Tuesday trying out different race setups on the #10 Nesquik Ford. Riggs, currently third in the NASCAR Busch Series points standings, was a tick slower Tuesday, recording a fast lap of 184.677 mph (30.02 seconds), concluding a two-day test in preparation for the Oct. 25 Aaron’s 312 Busch Series race. “We’re just trying to see what things will affect the car and to what degree it will affect the car,” Riggs said. “We’re learning which adjustments to make when the car does different things on the track. Not real exciting, but it should be very helpful when we return next month.” Tickets for the Oct. 25 Aaron’s 312 Busch Series race are still available and can be ordered by calling the Atlanta Motor Speedway ticket office at (770) 946-4211.(AMS PR)(9-10-2003)
- TV Ratings from Darlington: The Aug. 30 NASCAR Busch Series Winn-Dixie 200 Presented by PepsiCo at Darlington Raceway was televised by NBCand had an average viewership of 2,292,000 viewers. That was a 40-percent increase from 2002’s TNT telecast. The household viewership of 1,803,000 was a 52-percent increase from 2002. This was the highest-rated, most-watched NASCAR Busch Series race in Darlington’s history.(NASCAR PR)(9-10-2003)
- Testing at Dover UPDATE: hearing some teams are testing at Dover this week, Cup and Busch: #24-Jeff Gordon, #43-Christian Fittipaldi in Cup and #57-Jason Keller, #46-Ashton Lewis, #59-Stacy Compton, and the #87 NEMCO Chevy among others.(9-9-2003)
UPDATE: The drivers testing were: Jimmie Johnson and Christian Fittipaldi in Cup; and Busch Series drivers #48-Shane Hmiel, #87-Kyle Busch, #46-Ashton Lewis and Mike McLaughlin, in Jason Keller’s #57 Ford.(Delaware News Journal)(9-10-2003)
- Reutimann close to a 2004 deal?Anticipation of an imminent sponsorship deal with NEMCO Motorsports would put David Reutimann in a Busch series car full time next year. “It’s looking like a good possibility,” said Reutimann, 33. “Sponsorshipwise, we still still have things to do, and I wouldn’t say it’s a sure thing, but it’s looking good.” NEMCO spokeswoman Debbie Glenn said a sponsorship could be announced soon. Reutimann had two fifth-place finishes and a sixth in six Busch starts this season for NEMCO Motorsports’ #87 Chevrolet, which is owned by Winston Cup veteran Joe Nemechek and his wife, Andrea. Reutimann failed to qualify the #04 Morgan-McClure Pontiac for the Brickyard 400. By running in just six Busch events, he retains his rookie status for 2004. Reutimann also ran on the NASCAR Southeast series and in ARCA this year. Reutimann said he plans to test for NEMCO and will attend a few of the remaining eight races. “I don’t want to be out of sight, out of mind,” he said. Hence the move to an area north of Charlotte where many NASCAR teams are based. NEMCO’s shop is in Mooresville, N.C. “I hate to move,” Reutimann said, “It just makes things easier when you come to the logistics of it all. Sometimes they need you there and in the long run it’s where you need to be, closer to the shop.”(St Petersburg Times)(9-9-2003)
- Vickers to run some Cup races end of 2003: Brian Vickers, who will drive the #25 GMAC Hendrick Motorsports Chevy in Nextel Cup in 2004, says he has learned a lot by racing Cup drivers in the Busch Series. Currently third in the Busch standings, Vickers, 19, says his immediate goal is “to get as much experience as possible and be there at the end of the race.” He will run five Winston Cup races later this season, and Peter Sospenzo will remain his crew chief.(FOX Sports/Sporting News)(9-8-2003)
- Evernham to one team? Akins to move up with Kahne? There has been speculation on the future of Evernham Motorsports if Bill Elliott retires and Jeremy Mayfield moves on after this season. Mayfield, who had a season-high second-place finish at Richmond, says he does not want to leave and adds that the potential for chemistry is there between him and crew chief Kenny Francis. One scenario that has been suggested is Evernham losing one team and Brad Akins’ #38 Busch Series team changing allegiance from Ford to Dodge. That would allow Dodge to promote that team and its driver, 23-year-old Kasey Kahne, to Winston Cup.(FoxSports), thought Kahne was signed with Ford?(9-8-2003)
- New Team? Former Miami Dolphin football player Joe Auer and Barry Haefele, the general manager of Auer’s Winter Park (FL)-based company RaceCar Engineering, have formed a partnership to start a race team called Competitive Edge. It will field a car for two Busch Series races this season – at Phoenix and Homestead – and tentatively compete in a full Busch schedule in 2004. The driver will be Mike Garvey, who competed in one Busch Series race in 1993 and 13 of 28 races in 1994, with a best finish of 14th. He raced in one more Busch race in 1995, but was forced back to short-track racing due to a lack of funding. Garvey, who won Monday’s ASA race (at Elko Speedway) can’t use his favorite number, #17, but he wouldn’t mind racing #32, the number worn by Auer in his football days – if it’s available. Auer’s team is self-funded, but he is working on getting sponsorship. The 40-year-old Garvey has always wanted to return to the Busch Series, saying “I feel like I had unfinished business.’ (Miami Herald via BGNRacing.com)(9-8-2003)
- Riggs tests at Atlanta Monday/Tuesday: #10-Scott Riggs will test Monday and Tuesday at Atlanta Motor Speedway in preparation for Oct. 25’s Aaron’s 312. It will be a true battle for the championship when the Busch drivers return to Atlanta Motor Speedway for the Aaron’s 312 on Saturday, Oct. 25. Great seats are still available and can be purchased by calling Ticketmaster or the Atlanta Motor Speedway ticket office at (770) 946-3951. The two-day test session is closed to the public.(Atlanta Motor Speedway PR)(9-8-2003)
- Jeff Green back to Busch? UPDATE: Jeff Green, on the sideline since DEI hired John Andretti, has approached Ed Rensi [#25 Busch team] about a Busch driving job, according to team sources.(Winston Salem Journal)(9-6-2003)
UPDATE: Reportedly Green and the team were unable to reach an agreement with each other over contractual issues.(BGNRacing)(9-8-2003)
- Navy Sticking Around: FitzBradshaw Racing announced Friday the Navy will return next season as full-time sponsor of the team’s #14 Chevrolets, presumably with driver Casey Atwood. Details of Atwood’s contract with the team remain to be completed, but he is expected to stay with the team in 2004. The #14 team is running a total of 11 races this season. So far, Atwood has two top-10 finishes in seven starts.(ThatsRacin.com)(9-6-2003)
- Biffle to start his own Busch team? #16-Greg Biffle is considering starting his own Busch Series team, which would begin operation in 2004. “I’m exploring options right now. I think running in the Busch series really helps my Winston Cup program,” Biffle said. “There aren’t a lot of Ford Busch teams, so it’s tough for me to find a decent ride with someone else.” Biffle, who drives the #16 Fords for Roush Racing in Cup, has run several Busch races this season with Evans Motorsports but received some criticism from Ford since Evans uses Chevrolets. “There is such a conflict with Ford and Chevy and we don’t want to give information to other teams, so I’m looking into doing my own program,” he said. “I would entertain the thought of running a partial or full schedule, even.” Biffle said Roush officials have told him they have been trying to put together a Busch program for him. “They’ve been saying for quite some time that they were going to get something together. We were going to run a part-time Busch deal when we were Truck racing; a part-time Cup deal when we were Busch racing; and now a part-time Busch deal when were Cup racing. None of it has materialized,” Biffle said. “If I’m in control of it then I know it’s going to happen.” Biffle doesn’t own a race shop but said the most difficult part would be finding the sponsorship money.(ThatsRacin.com)(9-5-2003)
- Johnny Sauter wins at Richmond in wild ending: Following a restart with three of 250 laps remaining in Friday night’s Funai 250 at Richmond International Raceway, #17-Matt Kenseth passed #43-Johnny Sauter for the lead in Turn 2. Sauter stayed close and on the final turn of the final lap, Sauter nudged Kenseth out of the way to claim his first victory of the season and first for Curb-Agajanian Motorsports. The last-lap dramatics followed an eventful race that saw Sauter start 30th, drive to the lead, then fall back to 16th on a bad pit stop. He eventually made his way back to the front, but got a shove from behind from Kenseth during the final caution. “We were not even supposed to be here. At the beginning of the year I wasn’t even going to run the full schedule,” said Sauter, who splits time in Curb’s #43 and Richard Childress Racing’s #21. “Hat’s off to Kevin Harvick for letting me get by there and getting a good run at Matt. I know don’t what the hell Matt’s problem is, but if he wants to race that way, we can race that way.” #21-Harvick finished second, 0.198 seconds behind Sauter. #25-Bobby Hamilton Jr. was third, #5-Brian Vickers fourth and #37-David Green fifth. Kenseth ended up sixth. Green took over the series lead and holds a 48-point advantage over Vickers. #10-Scott Riggs finished 29th and dropped from first to third. While Kenseth was upset after the race with Sauter’s last-lap bump-and-run, Harvick and Sauter criticized Kenseth for his run-in with Sauter under the final caution. Harvick and Kenseth engaged in an animated discussion on pit road after the race ended. “I just didn’t want my teammate (Sauter) to get picked on. Damn, Matt just ran into the back of him under yellow,” Harvick said. “I’m so damn proud of Johnny, I can’t hardly stand it.” The race was slowed seven times by caution for 32 laps. There were 10 lead changes among five drivers.(ThatsRacin.com)
Penalties Likely: Members of four Busch Series teams could face NASCAR penalties after several altercations broke out on pit road and in the garage following Friday night’s Funai 250 at Richmond International Raceway. The teams involved were those of drivers #10-Scott Riggs, #57-Jason Keller, #48-Shane Hmiel and #2-Ron Hornaday. Hmiel was involved in a late-race wreck with Keller, which brought out the final caution of the race. Riggs and Hornaday also made contact during the race. After the race, Riggs criticized Hornaday in an interview with a pit reporter that aired on TNT.(ThatsRacin.com)
For results see ThatsRacin.com, BGNRacing.com, Motorsports One or NASCAR.com.(9-5-2003)
- Qualifying rained out at Richmond: The lineup for the Funai 250 NASCAR Busch Series race scheduled Friday at Richmond International Raceway after qualifying was canceled because of rain and the field set according to rules by Owners Points (not drivers) so #21-Kevin Harvick starts 1st, followed by #10-Scott Riggs [driver points leader), #37-David Green, #5-Brian Vickers, and #57-Jason Keller. Missing the race as they were low in owners points or race attempts was quite a long list: #84-Dion Ciccarelli; #97-Jimmy Kitchens; #55-Paul Menard; #94-Kenny Hendrick; #13-Franklin Butler; #89-Morgan Shepherd; #02-Hermie Sadler; #63-Jimmy Henderson.
For lineup see ThatsRacin.com, BGNRacing.com or NASCAR.com.(9-4-2003)
- Stacker 2 cars to carry special decals: The Station #23 program was developed to pay tribute to the fallen firefighters of Station 23 FDNY (Midtown Manhattan), who were performing their jobs of saving lives when tragedy struck on September 11, 2001. The name of their station is “The Lion’s Den.” Through the common grief following September 11th, a special bond was created between Station 23 FDNY and Station 23, Grand Terrace (San Bernardino County FD) in Grand Terrace, California. The two have become “sister stations” and Station 23, Grand Terrace, has since adopted the name “The Lion’s Den” in honor of the fallen firefighters. “The Lion’s Den” decal being placed on the #23 Stacker 2 Busch and Cup cars feature both “sister stations” and will be included on the team cars throughout the month of September.(Bill Davis Racing see the cool decal there)(9-4-2003)
- Sadler Sponsor for RIR: Hermie Sadler will return to the NASCAR Busch Series next weekend as the pilot of the “Dollar Tree” Chevrolet in the Funai 250 at Richmond International Raceway. Sadler’s last NASCAR Busch Series start ended with an eleventh place finish in the Spring race at RIR. The race will also be the first major sponsorship in NASCAR for Dollar Tree Stores, Inc., whose.corporate offices are located in nearby Chesapeake, VA. In addition to sponsorship, Dollar Tree is also providing Sadler with added incentive to perform.well. Dollar Tree stores have pledged donations for each lap completed. The donation will be made to The Faison School for Autism in Richmond. If he can complete all 250 laps, that will mean over $30,000.00 for the.Faison School, which is attended by Sadler’s daughter, Halie Dru. “This.is going to be a very special weekend for me”, stated Sadler. “I am honored to carry the Dollar Tree colors at Richmond. They are a great company, and what they are doing for the Faison School means a lot to my family. I.hope to take.Dollar Tree to victory lane.next Friday night.” Gary Philbin, Senior Vice President of Operations for Dollar Tree says everyone at Dollar Tree Stores is equally as excited. “Dollar Tree is thrilled to leverage the “Power of the Dollar” to support Hermie and.The Faison School for Autism. We are excited about Dollar Tree’s participation in one of NASCAR’s most exciting events. This gives us the chance to not only create brand recognition to millions of NASCAR fans, but also support the local communities we serve.”(Dollar Tree Stores PR)(9-4-2003)
- CAP and Lewis Motorsports Helping Make the Pentagon Memorial a Reality: In an effort to bring more awareness to the Pentagon Memorial, a memorial commemorating the 184 lives lost in the Pentagon and American Airlines Flight 77 on September 11, 2001, the No. 46 Civil Air Patrol Chevrolet Monte Carlo, driven by Ashton Lewis, Jr., will feature the logo for the Pentagon Memorial on its hood in Friday night’s Funai 250 at Richmond International Raceway on September 5, 2003.
Construction of the Pentagon Memorial is being funded entirely by private donations. Family members of the victims have established the “Pentagon Memorial Fund, Inc.,” a not for profit organization to raise the funds to build and maintain the Memorial, which will be completed approximately 20 months after enough funding is available to begin the first phase. The amount needed to begin work is about $1.5 million. Money raised to date is $300,000.
Brett Eaton, Communications Team Leader for the Pentagon Renovation Program is hopeful that more Americans will become aware of the project through their involvement with the Civil Air Patrol and Lewis Motorsports in this weekend’s event at Richmond International Raceway.
Relatives of those who lost their lives have been involved with the project since its inception having input into both its exact location and its design. The memorial will be located just 60 yards or so away from the point of impact and directly along the flight path taken by the plane that struck the building on Sept. 11, 2001. Its design is composed of 184 6-foot-long benches, arranged in parallel rows under clusters of maple trees on the nearly two-acre site. Each bench is linked with an individual victim, whose name is to be incised on the narrow end face of a bench.
After learning about the project, Lewis Motorsports owner, Ashton Lewis, Sr., went to the Civil Air Patrol and inquired if they would be willing to donate their hood space for the Richmond event to the Pentagon Memorial. Colonel Al Allenback, Executive Director for the Civil Air Patrol, immediately agreed.
Donations to the Pentagon Memorial Project can be made by guidelines below:
Checks should be made payable to the “United States Treasury
Washington Headquarters Services
Pentagon Memorial/ Repair Fund Budget & Finance, Room 3B269
1155 Defense Pentagon
Washington, DC 20301-1155.(PR)(9-4-2003)
- Blount in the #26 at RIR: Chad Blount will drive a Busch car in tomorrow’s FUNAI 250 that is painted to resemble the Miller car that Bobby Allison drove to his lone Winston Cup title. Allison won seven races at Richmond, including both events at the old Fairgrounds track during his 1983 championship season. Blount is replacing Kevin Grubb in the #26 Dodge for this race. Grubb is running a limited schedule with Carroll Racing for the rest of 2003.(Richmond Times Dispatch)(9-4-2003)
- Cat in the Hat Schemes: hearing some some drivers will run special Cat in the Hat schemes at Atlanta in October, so far the only driver known is Michael Waltrip in his Busch #99 Aarons/Cat in the Hat Chevy, also World of Outlaws driver Danny Lasoski will run the scheme, maybe Tony Stewart in Cup?(7-9-2003)
UPDATE #57-Jason Keller has been added to the Cat in the Hat program.(8-18-2003)
UPDATE 2: hearing #03-Kerry Earnhardt has been added for the Busch or the Cup race; have no images yet of the cars, supposedly the #03 is under consideration.(9-4-2003)
- Vickers to Cup in 2004 in the #25; Busch to the #5 car: Hendrick Motorsports #5 Busch Series driver, Brian Vickers, is getting a bump up to Winston Cup. Vickers, 19, and his Busch Series sponsor, GMAC, will move to Hendrick Motorsports’ #25 Chevy next season, ThatsRacin.com has learned. An official announcement of Vickers’ move could come as soon as Tuesday afternoon. Vickers will replace Joe Nemechek, who has spent over a year in the car and won earlier this season at Richmond, Va. Nemechek is 23rd in points, with a win, one top-five and four top-10 finishes. He has also failed to finish six races. Following his win last weekend, Vickers moved into third in Busch points, just 67 behind leader Scott Riggs. He has won two of the past four races (Indianapolis and Darlington). Vickers’ move to Winston Cup will open his #5 Chevrolet ride in the Busch Series. Hendrick plans to move 18-year-old Kyle Busch into the ride next season, sources said. Busch, brother of Winston Cup standout Kurt Busch, has been running a combination schedule of Automobile Racing Club of America and Busch series races this season. He has two ARCA wins and two poles in five starts and has finished second twice in three Busch starts.(ThatsRacin.com), see the official releases at the Hendrick Motorsports site.(9-2-2003)
- Grissom testing at Peach Tree to prepare for Richmond: Steve Grissom is testing the #61 DCT Motorsports Chevrolet today (Tuesday September 2) at Peach State Speedway in Jefferson, Ga. in hopes of making the field for Friday night’s Busch Series race at Richmond. Veteran crew chief Ricky Pearson is working with Grissom today during the test session. Peach State Speedway hosted a Busch Series race in 1986 and two more in 1987. The track is a half-mile in length with 18 degrees of banking in the corners. Today, the track regularly runs local shows (late models, etc) twice each month in addition to hosting two USAR Hooters Pro Cup races each season. Grissom will likely make the field for Friday night’s race irregardless of how well he qualifies. With 53 cars on the entry list, he should be eligible for a past champion’s provisional. He is the 1993 Busch Series champ.(9-2-2003)
- 2nd Team for Wells in 2004? UPDATE Riggs? #32-Ricky Craven, whose single-car team has struggled at times in a sport dominated by multi-car operations, may soon get some help. “I believe Cal is well on his way to having a second team, as early as next year,” Craven said this week at Darlington, referring to car owner Cal Wells III. Wells fielded two cars in 2001, but dropped back to one after losing a sponsor.(Charleston Post and Courier)(8-24-2003)
UPDATE: hearing Busch Series driver Scott Riggs [#10 Nesquik/ppc Racing Ford] could end up in the 2nd PPI Motorsports Ride and the team is close to signing a sponsor.
However being told that the team has brought in at least two other drivers to talk to in the past week who were not Riggs.(9-2-2003)
- Riggs to Decide in two weeks: Busch Series driver [#10] Scott Riggs has given himself two weeks to make a major, and enviable, decision. Second in a tight Busch Series points race behind Brian Vickers, the 32-year-old has received “way more than 10” offers to drive in NASCAR’s Nextel Cup series next year. “I still haven’t whittled everything down to where I can figure out the most competitive ride and where I feel the most comfortable,” Riggs said Wednesday during a trip to Tampa. “I’ve had a lot of calls about my future and people wanting me to be a part of theirs. I’m almost ready to make (the decision) so I can go on and focus on winning a championship.” Contrary to numerous published reports, he said no offer has come from Richard Childress Racing, which fired Steve Park on Tuesday. “I’ve not heard from Richard Childress,” he said. “I had a great opportunity with them two years ago; he offered me a chance to go Busch racing with him, but it wasn’t the best choice for me because it was going to be a rookie team. I felt like as a rookie, going into a new series with an all-rookie team would be more than I could bite off, so I decided to go with (ppc Racing).”(St Petersburg Times), heaviest rumors seem to be with DEI [#1 Chevy], Evernham [#9 or #19] and a smaller team, #57 CLR, which he tested for at Lowe’s last month.(10-2-2003)