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November 2003 News Archives


(11-30-2003)

 

  • Banquet week a few appearances listed for 2003 Cup Champ Matt Kenseth on my Driver Appearances page, will add more as.if I find them.(11-29-2003)
    Friday: What’s on tap Friday for the champion … Before accepting in excess of $5 million in point fund money at the Friday night awards ceremony in the Waldorf-Astoria Grand Ballroom, Kenseth will have another busy day. The day will begin with the Myers Brothers Breakfast, a National Motorsports Press Association-led annual function at the Waldorf’s Starlight Roof, where a variety of awards will be presented. In the afternoon, there’s the traditional Park Avenue photo shoot with the No. 17 show car and the Winston show car. After a brief respite, Kenseth will don a tuxedo for the awards ceremony, which starts at 7 p.m. (And will be televised on a tape-delayed basis, starting at 9 on TNT.)
    AND: Newly crowned NASCAR Winston Cup Series champion Matt Kenseth is used to donning his race-day game face, but even he is likely to gain a new respect for speed following the 2003 Champion’s Week. The headliner of NASCAR’s annual season-ending celebration, Kenseth and his No. 17 DeWALT Ford team will celebrate Roush Racing’s first NASCAR Winston Cup Series title this week amid the glitz, glitter and holiday bustle of New York. Celebrating in the Big Apple is a much-loved tradition: NASCAR has feted the champion of its premier series in New York since 1981, and this year’s Champion’s Week is packed with fun, festivities and appearances –quite enough to keep Kenseth racing about town. He and wife Katie arrive this evening to kick off the week’s activities. Officially, Kenseth’s schedule begins with Monday visits to New York police and fire departments. It includes several mid-week dinners, an official proclamation from New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg on Thursday in Times Square, and even features a Tuesday jaunt down to Washington, to visit the White House and meet President Bush
    There’s also a full slate of photo shoots, guest appearances on top-rated national morning television shows and myriad media opportunities. Kenseth, 31, is celebrating his first NASCAR Winston Cup title, as is his team owner Jack Roush. The fourth-year NASCAR Winston Cup driver from Cambridge, Wis., will culminate the 2003 Champion’s Week by attending – and being the focus of – Friday evening’s NASCAR Winston Cup Series Awards Ceremony at the Waldorf-Astoria Hotel.
    Each morning, a driver will appear on Live with Regis & Kelly, beginning with Kenseth on Monday, Jimmie Johnson on Tuesday, Jeff Gordon on Wednesday, Tony Stewart on Thursday and Kevin Harvick on Friday. McMurray (Thursday) and NASCAR Busch Series champion Brian Vickers (Friday) will appear on ESPN’s “Cold Pizza” morning show.
    NASCAR Class of 2003 photo: At 11:00am/et on Friday [Dec 5th], Kenseth, Vickers and Kvapil will join the champions of NASCAR’s regional and national touring series for a “class photo” in New York’s Central Park. One of the city’s famous horse-drawn carriages will serve as a backdrop.
    2003 Winston Cup Banquet Fast Facts
    What: NASCAR Winston Cup Series Awards Ceremony.
    Who: Top 10 drivers in the final 2003 NASCAR Winston Cup championship standings, led by champion Matt Kenseth.
    Where: Grand Ballroom, Waldorf-Astoria Hotel, New York City.
    When: 7:00-10:30pm/et, Friday, Dec. 5.
    TV: TNT (tape-delay).
    TV Re-Air: on Sunday, Dec 7th at 3:00-4:00pm/et on NBC [check local stations, some may not carry it]
    Radio: MRN, XM Satellite.
    Final 2003 NASCAR Top 10: 1. Matt Kenseth 5,022. 2. Jimmie Johnson 4,932. 3. Dale Earnhardt Jr. 4,815. 4. Jeff Gordon 4,785. 5. Kevin Harvick 4,770. 6. Ryan Newman 4,711. 7. Tony Stewart 4,549. 8. Bobby Labonte 4,377. 9. Bill Elliott 4,303. 10. Terry Labonte 4,162. Master of Ceremonies: Golden Globe-winning actor Kiefer Sutherland [from the hit show 24].
    Musical entertainment: Harry Connick Jr., LeAnn Rimes.(NASCAR PR)(11-30-2003)


    (11-29-2003)

  • Get Well: #4 Morgan McClure crew chief, Tim Brewer in back home in NC suffering from Kidney Stones.(11-16-2003)
    UPDATE: Tim Brewer, crew chief at Morgan-McClure Motorsports, is recovering at home. Although he was hospitalized briefly, the kidney stones that prevented him from working the season’s final race in Homestead, Fla., ended up being dissolved without surgery and Brewer is back at work preparing new #4-Chevrolet Monte Carlos for January testing.(Gaston Gazette)(11-29-2003)


    (11-28-2003)

  • Yeley’s NASCAR Debut at Vegas? New Joe Gibbs Racing hire JJ Yeley likely will make his NASCAR debut in March at Las Vegas Motor Speedway. Yeley, 27, said Wednesday in a conference call that tentative plans are for him to make his stock car debut in a Busch Series race [#18 MBNA Chevy]. “Originally, there was some talk about doing the ARCA (Automobile Racing Club of America) race at Daytona (International Speedway in February), but ARCA rules are quite different than NASCAR rules, and it would be hard to get a car ready,” Yeley said.(Arizona Republic)(11-28-2003)
  • Race Car Drivers as Athletes: It’s a subject that’s been debated for years. Are race car drivers really athletes? While athletes are traditionally thought of as running, jumping or swinging their way through competition, race car drivers compete in a different way. Drivers are endurance athletes who must deal with the most extreme conditions imaginable — 150 degree heat with several layers of clothing, high decibel noise and noxious fumes, while driving at speeds near 200 miles per hour. Many top race teams find that the key to winning on the track is keeping its team members in shape off the track. Along side the cars at a race shop, you’re likely to find a complete gym and workout facility. That way, team members can keep their bodies in shape as well as practice pit maneuvers. Racing and winning at the highest levels of the sport require more than just a fast car. They require a driver and crew that is dedicated to all around fitness.(Newstream/GM PR – need to register to view)(11-28-2003)
  • Harrah’s gone? UPDATE: hearing Harrah’s Casino will not be back as the sponsor for the #14 A.J. Foyt Racing Dodge and driver Larry Foyt in 2004.(11-25-2003)
    UPDATE: hearing there is a good chance the team will NOT return to Cup in 2004.(11-28-2003)
  • #54 Still looking for a sponsor: hearing the #54 Belcar Racing team that Todd Bodine drove for in 2003 and that was sponsored by the Army National Guard [to the #16] is down to a skeleton crew but is actively looking for a sponsor for the team and Bodine to run in 2004, team contact info on my Team Address page or for those looking for jobs or schools, see my Racing Schools/Jobs page.(11-28-2003)

    (11-27-2003)

  • No 2nd Team for PPI: PPI Motorsports team owner Cal Wells III is determined to avoid the collapse that saw the #32 Tide Pontiac driven by Newburgh’s [ME] Ricky Craven plummet from seventh to 27th in the Winston Cup points standings over the final 26 races of the 36-race season. It is Craven’s worst finish in his three seasons with PPI Motorsports. They were 21st in their first year together and 15th in 2002. Mike Beam, who was the crew chief in 2001 and most of 2002, will return as the competition director for the Tide racing program, and David Charpentier will replace Scott Miller as the crew chief. Craven said having Beam and Charpentier on board are positive developments. Wells said he was “very pleased” to have them on board and indicated there will also be personnel changes in the engine program. The PPI Motorsports team built its own engines for the first time this past season instead of leasing them, but the Tide Pontiac’s average qualifying position was a dismal 26th. The team failed to finish 10 races, six more DNFs than it had a year ago. Four were the direct result of engine failure. Wells and Craven praised Miller for the job he did as a crew chief. “He was in a tough position. He was hired at the end of 2002 and he came in during a transition period because two people had left: Mike and [race engineer] Roy McAuley,” said Craven. “It was like having a sixth man coming off the bench and having him play a couple of positions. I certainly appreciate Scott.” Wells said Miller “didn’t have the right chemistry” with Craven. Wells did say there won’t be a second team as he and Craven had hoped. So they will again be a single-car team competing against the multi-car teams that dominate the point standings. Wells pointed out that “three months ago, I would have said the chances were nine out of 10 that we’d land another sponsor and a second team.” But it didn’t work out. “That was pretty disappointing,” said Craven, whose two wins over the last three years are tops among single-car teams. Pontiac has pulled out of Winston Cup racing, so the Tide logo will be on a Chevy next season. They also hope to keep the pit crew together.(in part from the Bangor News)(11-27-2003)
  • Raines says he’s not going anywhere: Tony Raines, who was rumored to be on a short list of NASCAR NEXTEL Cup drivers courted to drive the #30 America Online Chevy for Richard Childress Racing next season, told the Herald-ArgusTuesday that he’s staying with BACE Motorsports and will drive the #74 Chevrolet Monte Carlo for the 2004 season. “I had talked to RCR quite a bit (about driving the #30 car), but I think I’m going to stay right here with BACE,” Raines said Tuesday. “Even if they called me today or tomorrow, I’d tell them I’ve made up my mind to stay.”
    “They (RCR) seem to be having trouble making up their minds, and it’s not fair to leave (BACE team owner Bill Baumgartner) and the rest of the team hanging in limbo,” Raines said. “We’ve been together for a long time, and they don’t deserve to be put in that situation.”(Herald-Argus)(11-27-2003)
  • Fellows to have surgery: Canadian racing driver Ron Fellows, who drove the last two races of the 2003 American Le Mans Series season with a painfully dislocated shoulder, will undergo surgery Dec. 1 in Indianapolis to repair the damage. Fellows, who drives for the factory Chevrolet Corvette team in the American Le Mans Series, has won the GTS class driving title the past two seasons in the sports car racing series. He expects to be fully recovered from the surgery to begin his title defense when the 2004 ALMS season starts with the Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring March 17-20. Fellows injured his left shoulder in a rock-climbing accident on Sept. 20 near his home in the Toronto suburb of Mississauga, Ont. After originally seeing a doctor in Toronto, he traveled to Indianapolis to see Dr. Terry Trammell, a noted orthopedic surgeon who has long been associated with the treatment of injured racing drivers. With Trammell’s help, Fellows was able to painfully complete the minimum amount of laps required for him to earn points in the ALMS event in Miami on Sept. 27, one week after the injury, with co-driver Johnny O’Connell doing most of the driving for the team in the race. Fellows and O’Connell clinched the GTS class driving championship by finishing fourth in that race. Fellows, who has had to sleep in a special sling to prevent him from raising his arm more than 45 degrees, helped the Corvette team conduct tire tests for Goodyear last week at Sebring International Raceway, his last racing activity before the surgery. The team has another major test scheduled for early February and he expects to be able to participate. While he won’t miss any racing, the surgery and resulting recovery will cause Fellows to miss a winter of playing ice hockey, one of his favorite activities, as well as spending time on the ice with his two young sons.(Speed Channel) Fellows, also driver most of the Winston Cup road course races, at Sonoma and Watkins Glen, this past season in the #1 DEI Chevy.(11-27-2003)
  • Retiring: Bill Desmond, who partnered with the late Bob Harmon to form a new grass-roots racing division in the 1980s that became the All Pro Series, is retiring from NASCAR at age 70.(Tennessean)(11-27-2003)
  • Jacques Villeneuve thinking NASCAR? 1997 F-1 Champ Jacques Villeneuve, out of his Formula 1 ride, says he knows he will struggle to get another drive in 2004 let alone 2005 when the driver market is set for a shake-up. He is considering a switch to NASCAR, but has ruled out any move to the Indy Racing League believing the all-oval series is too dangerous. “I won’t go to IRL,” he added. “I have nothing against taking risks but taking risks in IRL means you die or you hurt yourself massively. How many a year get hurt?”(in part from icCoventry.co.uk)(11-27-2003)

    (11-26-2003)

  • Fan Vote To Help Determine Driver Of The Year UNTIL 12-12: There’s one more championship battle left for the race fans as Speed Channel Presents the Driver of the Year – Vote 2003’s final vote gets under way [starts Dec 1st]. In this online ballot fans get their final opportunity, of the year, to help determine which driver will be judged the best regardless of series or car. Since the major titles have been decided; now comes the difficult part with fans weighing performances of champions and winners on the SpeedTV website. The online voting begins December 1st and concludes December 12th. For more on this, the eight drivers who are in the running and to vote….starting Dec 1st [Monday], see my Awards and Voting page.(11-26-2003)
  • Crew Chief looking: hearing veteran crew chief, Gary Cogswell, formerly of the #54 Belcar Racing/National Guard Ford team is looking for a deal – 704-608-1369.(11-26-2003)
  • Casey Mears to Participate in Michelin Race of Champions Nations Cup: Casey Mears will spend his Thanksgiving holiday weekend the same way he spent most of his year, racing. Mears, a member of “Team USA powered by CENTRIX Financial”, is in the Canary Islands for the Michelin ROC Nations Cup. ”I am honored to have this opportunity to participate in a race of this caliber,” Mears said. “It is very special for me to get the chance to race for my country against some of the best racers in the world.” The Michelin ROC Nations Cup was created to find the “World’s Fastest Nation”. Each country participating is represented by a circuit racer, a rally (or off-road) driver and a motorcycle rider. As driver of the #41 Target Dodge for Chip Ganassi Racing, Mears brings his off-road experience as well as his NASCAR experience to the table. Mears will be joined on Team USA by Boris Said, 2002 Trans-Am Champion and Travis Pastrana, Gold medalist at the X and Gravity Games. The Michelin ROC Nations Cup will take place on Saturday, November 29th at 10am.(Chip Ganassi Racing with Felix Sabates PR)(11-26-2003)
  • Wood Brothers to Move? UPDATE After racing out of Stuart, Va., for more than 53 years, the [#21-Ricky Rudd] Wood Brothers Racing Team is considering moving its shop to the Charlotte area. “We’re looking at a lot of options to make our race team better, and moving to the Charlotte area is definitely one of the things we’ll have to look at,” said Eddie Wood, who runs the team with his brother Len and sister Kim. “That’s where everything is; all the technology is there.” Wood said the family likely will make a decision by the end of the year. He also said the team would like to field two cars, but getting the #21 Motorcraft/Air Force/Rent-A-Center Ford back in Victory Lane on a regular basis is its first priority. “Whatever it takes to make our race team better, that’s what we’re going to do,” he said. Even if the Woods move their shop to the Charlotte area, they’ll still have a presence in Stuart, their home- town. “The museum and the business part will always be in Stuart even if the cars and the teams are somewhere else,” he said.(Atlanta Journal-Constitution)(10-20-2003)
    UPDATE: Wood Brothers Racing announced Wednesday it has found a building in Mooresville, N.C., and will begin moving out of its current shop in Stuart, Va., on Monday. The search for a new race shop took several months, but owners Eddie and Len Wood ended up with a familiar location. The team is moving into property owned by Robert Yates Racing in Lakeside Business Park. Ironically, Yates bought it from driver Ricky Rudd, who now drives the #21 Fords for the Wood Brothers in Winston Cup. “It was the first building we thought of way back in the middle of the summer when we first started talking about moving, but all the parties just never got together until a few days ago,” Eddie Wood said. The #21 will continue to work on its 2004 cars in Stuart and its equipment when space becomes available. “Isn’t it funny how things come full circle sometimes. I think it is a great move,” Rudd said. “I laid out the design of that shop, and we worked out of it not only when I had my own team, but then when I went with Robert. “A lot of good wins came out of that building. Maybe this will turn our luck around.” The move will allow the #21 to work more closely with Roush Racing, which is based in Concord, N.C. Roush provides engines and chassis assistance for the #21. Wood Brothers Racing has been located in Stuart for 53 years. The business office and the family’s famed museum will remain at the current location.(ThatsRacin.com)(11-26-2003)
  • 2003 Auto Racing All-America team ballots out: Almost 300 members of the motorsports press have been sent their annual ballot to select the 2003 Auto Racing All-America team. Among those on the ballot are former three-time Jerry Titus Award winner Jeff Gordon (1995, 1998, 2001), and the driver who has been All-American more than any other, Steve Kinser, who seeks his 21st All-America selection. Also on the ballot seeking selection in one of seven categories – Open Wheel, Stock Car, Road Racing, Drag Racing, Short Track, Touring Series and At Large – are 16 drivers who could be making their first-ever All-American appearance. Members of the American Auto Racing Writers and Broadcasters Association, will vote from among six drivers named in each category. Two from each category will be named to the first team, to be honored at the annual AARWBA banquet Jan. 10 in Pomona, Calif. The winner of the Jerry Titus Award will also be announced at the banquet. The Titus Award honors the team’s top driver – the one earning the most votes in the balloting regardless of category. The banquet also will salute racing legend Dan Gurney, is open to the public. For the full driver list and more info, see my Awards and Voting page.(11-26-2003)
  • #10 Cup Crew to be replaced? with #10 Busch Crew? UPDATE 2 Randolph named #10 Cup crew chief: The #10 MBV Motorsports crew may be facing a major shakeup, according to sources who say that incoming driver Scott Riggs may be bringing his Busch crew and crew chief Doug Randolph along with him. Current crew chief, Jay Guy, says he and the crew haven’t been told what’s in the future.(Winston Salem Journal)(11-1-2003)
    UPDATE – Randolph leaving the #10: #10 ppc Racing crew chief, Doug Randolph will leave the team at the end of the 2003 season. The driver of the #10, Scott Riggs is leaving also, moving up to the Cup Series.(FoxSports Net’s Totally NASCAR) Rumors have Randolph going to the #10 MBV Cup team with Riggs.(11-5-2003)
    UPDATE 2: MBV Motorsports has named Doug Randolph crew chief for the #10 Valvoline Racing Chevys that will be driven by Scott Riggs in 2004. Randolph comes to MBV Motorsports from ppc Racing where he was crew chief for Riggs’ efforts in the NASCAR Busch Series. Together, they posted wins at Nashville Superspeedway and Gateway International Raceway, on the way to a sixth-place finish in points in 2003. “Doug is going to be a great asset to both of our NEXTEL Cup team operations,”said Jay Frye, CEO/General Manager of MB2/MBV Motorsports. “He already has an established relationship with Scott, which should make for a seamless transition to the Valvoline team.” Randolph began his motorsports career while he was a student at the University of Tennessee, where he received a bachelor’s degree in wildlife and fisheries biology in 1988. During college, he worked for L.D. Ottinger’s NASCAR Busch Series team, and later for legendary team owner Junior Johnson. In 1995 Randolph joined Hedrick Motorsports and earned the role of car chief. He moved to Bill Davis Racing in 1999 and was named crew chief for Davis’ second team just one year later. In 2001, Randolph joined Chip Ganassi Racing with Felix Sabates as crew chief. The 38-year-old native of Morristown, Tenn., currently lives with his wife Diana; daughter, Morgan; and son, Nick in Mooresville, N.C. The 2004 season marks the fourth year of Valvoline’s partnership with MB2 Motorsports, not only as a sponsor but as 50-percent owner of the #10 race team. MB2 Motorsports also fields the No. 01 U.S. Army Chevrolets for driver Joe Nemechek.(MBV Motorsports PR)(11-26-2003)
  • Cup drivers in the Daytona 24? Chevrolet is trying to have a big presence in the Rolex Sports Car Series’ Daytona 24 hour early next year. Daytona Prototypes are under construction at Crawford Race Cars in Denver, North Carolina, all powered by GM’s Gen III V8 engines, which GM hopes will be piloted by its Winston Cup stars. Chevrolet is looking at various driver combinations and it’s unclear how many cars will run. Dale Earnhardt Jr. and Tony Stewart are strong candidates, and Jimmy Johnson and Jeff Gordon could figure in the mix. Regular GM road racers Kelly Collins and Andy Pilgrim are on deck as well. GM sources say there is no truth to rumors that another car is slated for Bobby, Terry and Justin Labonte.(Autoweek)(11-26-2003)
  • Robby Gordon Fails to Finish Baja 1000 After Series of Problems: Robby Gordon’s quest for a third Baja 1000 victory fell short after he dropped out of the 805-mile race due to mechanical problems. Beginning the race 10 minutes after the first truck started, Gordon’s team and performance was optimistic and spectacular as he passed almost 15 trucks that had started in front of him. Then, the day turned to a sour note when Gordon’s #31 Red Bull Trophy Truck sustained a flat tire a little over 100 miles into the event. Soon, another problem evolved with the same tire when the wheel came loose and broke the hub studs. Again, the team went to work and made the repairs, eventually returning Gordon to competition more than two hours later.
    Then, with more than 100 miles left, a valve malfunction in both rear shocks forced Gordon to park his truck.
    Gordon started 21st out of 22 Trophy Trucks entered in the class by virtue of a qualifying draw. The race course, originally scheduled for 765 miles, was lengthened to 805 miles six days before the event. Baja 1000 officials reconfigured the course after heavy rain earlier in the week created extreme silt and mud along the original path, resulting in hazardous racing conditions. “I know we had a truck that could win, and I’m proud of the fact that our RCR Chevrolet engine ran well and that we were competitive when we were on the course,”Gordon said. “Both of the problems that we had during the race were easily avoidable, and we’ll learn from our mistakes and come back next year and give it another run.”
    Gordon is a legend in Baja after several SCORE championships and successful runs in the Baja 1000. He won the race in a solo drive in 1989 and in 1987 as a co-driver with his father Bob Gordon. “I know we built a truck that was probably the most technologically advanced in the desert, and even though we only had 70 miles on it before they dropped the green flag, it performed great. We’ll run it a few more times before next year’s race and we’ll make it as close to perfect as possible.”(RCR PR)(11-25-2003)
    Winner: Doug Fortin, a California-based manufacturer of special off-road racing transmissions, and his co-driver Charley Townsley covered the grueling 808-mile loop-course through the northern portion of the rugged Baja peninsula in 16 hours 24 minutes and 02 seconds to win by 4min46sec over Trophy Truck champions Mark Miller and Ryan Arciero in their specially prepared Chevrolet Silverado Pro-Truck, modified to run in the marquee Trophy Truck Class. Although the two winning teams actually started about half an hour apart early on Friday morning Miller, driving the first, highly technical leg down the center of the mountainous course, soon gained a strategic lead on elapsed time as he passed every other Trophy Truck from his ninth starting slot.(Speed Channel)(11-26-2003)
  • TV show tells story of Petty dynasty [Local NC TV]: Richard Petty and his family’s racing dynasty will be featured in a regional TV show premiering today [11-26]. A new episode of the television show “Southern Living Presents” will trace the history of the Petty family and take viewers to the Randolph County crossroads where it all began. The segment, which will be shown on the Turner South network at 10:30 a.m. today and again at 6 p.m., was filmed July 8, after the Pettys opened their new museum location in downtown Randleman. “We had heard about the new museum that was opening. And with him kind of being the ‘King of NASCAR’ and such a legend in the South, the opening of that museum was a huge pull and we thought it would make a great fit for ‘Southern Living Presents,’ ” said Sarah Peterson, a spokeswoman for Turner South in Atlanta. Turner South presents a mix of original programming, movies, regional news and sports of special interest to people in North Carolina, South Carolina, Georgia, Mississippi and Tennessee. Based on the glossy home, garden and travel magazine, “Southern Living Presents” debuted in December 1999. It is hosted by North Carolina native Frances Schultz. The episode has its premiere as local and state officials are trying to get Disney to film a $75-million motion picture about Richard and Lee Petty in North Carolina rather than Georgia. The TV episode features an interview with retired seven-time Winston Cup champ Richard Petty, as well as footage shot at the new museum. The museum originally opened in Level Cross in 1988 and moved to Randleman in May. The TV crew also got a tour of Petty Enterprises in Level Cross.
    What: “Southern Living Presents: Richard Petty”
    When: Premieres at 10:30am/et today and airs again at 6:00pm/et Where: Turner South, on cable channels 64 in Asheboro; 67 in Guilford and Rockingham; and 47 in Davidson and Burlington [all in North Carolina] (News and Record)(11-26-2003)


    (11-25-2003)

  • Keller still looking? hearing that Jason Keller is not signed to stay in the #57 ppc Racing Busch Series Ford as the team has not yet signed a sponsor and is activly looking for other rides. More and an update on my Busch Series Site.(11-25-2003)
  • Yeley wins Triple Crown: J.J. Yeley [new Joe Gibbs Racing driver] became USAC’s fourth “Triple Crown” driving champion Saturday night, joining Tony Stewart as the only drivers in history to win all three USAC National driving titles — Silver Crown, Sprint Car and Midgets — in one season. Arizonan Yeley locked up the USAC National Midget crown at Tucson Raceway Park, finishing third in the 40-lap “Old Pueblo Classic” feature. In addition to he and Stewart (who swept all three titles in 1995), Dave Darland and Pancho Carter also own USAC career “Triple Crowns,” although their titles were not all achieved in a single season. Yeley will try to extend his all-time USAC single-season victory record to 25 this Thursday night in the 63rd Mopar “Turkey Night Grand Prix” at the Irwindale (Calif.) Speedway. The race will air live on SPEED Channel at 11:00pm/et.(Speed Channel)(11-25-2003)
  • NC District West Civitans Clubs to Sponsor VJGC Cabin: The Civitans of Western North Carolina have pledged $250,000 to sponsor a camper cabin at the Victory Junction Gang Camp. The Civitan’s cabin will be one of sixteen cabins that campers will call home during their camping experience at Victory Junction. The funds will be used to underwrite the cost of a camper cabin. Victory Junction will have sixteen 2,300 square foot cabins capable of accommodating up to 10 campers and 10 counselors each session. During family weekends and specialized retreats, the cabins will accommodate two families per cabin. The maximum capacity for the cabins will be 160 during camper sessions or up to 32 families during the weekend sessions.(Victory Junction Gang Camp PR)(11-25-2003)
  • NASCAR on TV in Canada: In a media release issued today, the Canadian cable sports channel TSN announced that it had signed a three-year deal, starting in 2004, to broadcast 16 NASCAR Nextel Cup races each year. The sixteen races to be broadcast by TSN in 2004 include every Nextel Cup race which will be shown on the cable services FX or TNT in the United States. TSN will also broadcast three races available on the US through-the-air networks NBC and FOX: the Daytona 500 in February, the Pepsi 400 from Daytona in July and the UAW-GM Quality 500 from Lowes’ Motor Speedway in October. Earlier, Craig Media had announced a deal which will see them providing all the remaining 11 Nextel Cup races being broadcast by NBC to the Toronto, Winnipeg, Calgary and Edmonton markets. Hence Canadian race fans will be able to see EVERY one of the 2004 NASCAR Nextel Cup races (including the three non-points events) on Canadian cable or satellite services via FOX, NBC (or Craig Media) or TSN. The SPEED Channel, which is available on all Canadian cable or satellite services, will again broadcast the entire schedule of NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series races in 2004. However, the picture is cloudy for the NASCAR Busch Series broadcasts. Only eight of the 34 Busch Series races will be broadcast on US network channels (FOX and NBC). Last year many of the other FX or TNT Busch Series races were broadcast in Canada by CTV SportsNet and The Score. To date neither of the Canadian cable services has made any announcement concerning their plans for NASCAR race broadcasts in 2004.(Race Fan TV)(11-25-2003)
  • Sad News: Carol J. Bruce, 55, of Fredericksburg, VA died Friday, Nov. 21, 2003, at Heartfields. Prior to her illness, she was employed as a salesperson at Radley Pro Shop in Spotsylvania Mall, and had worked with Joe Gibbs Racing, Robert Yates Racing and Dale Jarrett Racing.(more info at the Freelance Star)(11-25-2003)

    (11-24-2003)

  • Legal Firm, Sports Marketing Agency Team Up For Motorsports Sponsorships: One of the country’s most established, yet fastest-growing legal firms, has teamed with one of the country’s top sports marketing agencies for a new extensive involvement in motorsports. enkins, Jenkins & Jenkins, P.A., headquartered in La Plata, is planning on sponsorships of stock car racing teams in 2004. The firm will work with Williams Company of America, Inc, a Mooresville, N.C.-based agency that is considered the leader in motorsports public relations. “Like other companies, our firm is looking towards motorsports to help as we expand our business and help our clients,” said Frank P. Jenkins, who owns the highly-respected firm with his father, Louis P. Jenkins, Sr., who started the firm over 40 years ago, and his brother, Louis P. Jenkins, Jr. “Our firm’s focus is aimed solely at satisfying our clients’ various needs,” he said. Jenkins, Jenkins & Jenkins specializes in personal injury, all real estate matter, criminal, traffic and corporate law. “Jenkins, Jenkins & Jenkins has some exciting announcements to make in the near future about its involvement with motorsports, and specifically NASCAR racing,” said Williams Company president Richard N. (Chip) Williams. “No law firm has ever attempted the involvement they are preparing to announce, and we are very excited to be working with them.”(Williams Company PR)(11-24-2003)
  • AMW still looking: America’s Most Wanted Motorsports once again is offering a unique motorsports sponsorship opportunity.  Along with their exclusive and never heard of Guaranteed multi million dollar media package, they have partnered with two other motorsports entities to offer a total NASCAR motorsports program.  That program will include a Nextel Cup Team, a Busch Series Team, and a Craftsmen Truck Series team for the amount that some Nextel Cup sponsors are currently spending with one team.  “We have negotiated, partnered and organized this package so it can be affordable to a corporate sponsor.”  Stated Scott Davis of AMW Motorsports, “These teams that we have partnered with have committed to running next year with limited funding so that is what makes this possible.”  “Each team will be associated with the America’s Most Wanted Motorsports Program.” Continued Davis, “Which the sponsor will benefit from a multiple facetted on-track program, the relationship with John Walsh and the multi Million Dollar media campaign.”  “This is the best, most detailed sponsorship package being offered in NASCAR to date, and the corporation that invests in this program will reap the benefits.”  For more information visit www.bodydynamicsracing.com view the AMW Motorsports Marketing video and contact Scott Davis for details.(11-24-2003)
  • New #7 Crew Chief? hearing that Ted Musgrave’s Truck Series crew chief Gene Nead has been promoted to the #7 Nextell Cup Crew chief position.(11-24-2003)
  • #30 Driver? UPDATE 2 Sauter signed? Denied: hearing the #30 AOL RCR Chevy may be driven in 2004 by Johnny Sauter? Not sure how this would effect his Busch ride in the #27 Brewco ride…if it happens.(11-19-2003)
    UPDATE: hearing RCR and Brewco worked things out and Johnny Sauter has signed to drive the #30 AOL Chevy in 2004.(11-24-2003)
    UPDATE 2: Brewco Motorsports president and general manager Todd Wilkerson categorically denied rumors Monday that his team had made a deal with Richard Childress Racing to allow Johnny Sauter to drive RCR’s #30 AOL Chevrolet in 2004. Sauter has signed to drive Brewco’s #27 Chevrolet next season as a teammate to David Green. “We have had no contact whatsoever with Richard Childress Racing regarding Johnny,” Wilkerson said. “There’s no deal I know of for next year that’s been made for Johnny to drive for them, which would be impossible anyway since Johnny is under contract with us. I think seeing Johnny and Richard Childress together at the (Busch Series) banquet last weekend probably fueled some rumors about their future, but Johnny hasn’t gotten an offer that we’re aware of.” Sauter, 25, made 72 starts in the Busch Series over the last three seasons — 55 of them for Childress. But after contributing to RCR’s 2003 Busch Series owners’ title — he split the season in Childress’ #21 Chevrolet with Kevin Harvick — Sauter made an agreement for 2004 to drive for owner Clarence Brewer. A source close to RCR said Monday that Childress had not yet decided on a driver for the #30 car and that the announcement of a driver/crew chief combination, necessitated by the departure of crew chief Mike Beam to PPI Motorsports, would be made at the same time. Word is the crew chief will be promoted from within RCR’s operation, which includes three Nextel Cup and two Busch Series teams.(NASCAR.com Buzz)(11-24-2003)
  • Beam leaves RCR for Wells UPDATE plus a new crew chief for the #32: Crew Chief Mike Beam has left Richard Childress Racing and the #30 AOL Chevy team to become the team manager for car owner Cal Wells’ operation.(PRN’s Garage Pass Radio Show)(11-19-2003)
    UPDATE: PPI Motorsports today announced it has hired former Tide Racing crew chief Mike Beam as competition director for its racing programs. Beam is joined by David Charpentier, who will serve as crew chief for the #32 Tide Chevroletdriven by Ricky Craven. Scott Miller, crew chief for the #32 Tide Pontiac in 2003, is exploring options both within and outside of the team’s engineering group. Beam, a veteran NASCAR Winston Cup Series crew chief, returns to PPI Motorsports after serving as crew chief for Richard Childress Racing’s #30 AOL Chevrolet in 2003. As competition director, Beam will help focus the organization’s in-house operations toward increased performance. He will also work with Charpentier and the crew of the #32 Tide Chevrolet to ensure the team’s at-track competition needs are met. Beam served as crew chief for PPI Motorsports’ #32 Tide Racing program from 2001-2002 and helped lead the team to its first NASCAR Winston Cup Series win (Martinsville, October 2001), three pole positions, and seven top-five finishes.
    Charpentier, former engineering manager for Dale Earnhardt Inc. (DEI), entered the professional motorsports ranks after seven years in the Navy’s nuclear power program and consulted for several teams, including Sabco Racing, Rudd Performance Motorsports, Butch Mock Motorsports and Hendrick Motorsports. In 1999, Charpentier joined DEI and was instrumental in the team’s growth from one to three successful Winston Cup teams.(PPI Motorsports PR)(11-24-2003)
  • Get Well: Gary Brooks, shop foreman at Penske Racing South, was released from Presbyterian Hospital in Charlotte last night and is resting and recuperating at home. Brooks, who has been with PRS since it was founded in 1991, was hospitalized for last Thursday’s surgery for the removal of the upper portion of the lower lobe of his left lung, which proved to be benign. “Brooksy” as he is fondly referred to by his teammates and many friends, was a perennial “all star” jackman in the early 90s, before back problems ended his “over-the-wall” duties. He has long been known for his unique sense of humor. Brooks will be sidelined for several weeks. Cards and well wishes can be sent to him at home: Gary Brooks, 112 Beach Lane, Mooresville, NC 28117.(Tom Roberts PR)(11-24-2003)
  • Baldwin to Evernham: Crew Chief Tommy Baldwin left Ultra Motorsports and replaced Ford at Evernham Motorsports, which uses Dodges. Baldwin is expected to work with rookie driver Kasey Kahne if Kahne is released by Ford Motor Co.(Yahoo Sports)(11-24-2003)
  • Roush team hires crew chief? hearing that former #92 Busch Series team crew chief, Tony Liberati has been hired as the crew chief of the Roush Racing #9 Pennzoil Ford that Jeff Burton, Mark Martin, and Matt Kenseth as the drivers.(11-24-2003)
  • RYR & 2nd Chance Race Parts Strike Deal: 2nd Chance Race Parts of Mooresville, NC and Robert Yates Racing have finalized a deal which will establish a second location for 2nd Chance Race Parts. The new location is 125 Byers Creek Rd in Mooresville, across the street from RYR’s race shop. All used parts, chassis, sheet metal, equipment and cars being disposed of by RYR will be available at this location for sell. It will take a week or so to relocate all the sales items, but effective 11-24-03 they will be open for business. Several race cars in different stages are available now for sale.(PR)(11-24-2003)
  • Homestead TV Ratings….down AND: Nielsen Media Research says NBC’s broadcast of last Sunday’s Ford 400 Winston Cup finale drew a final rating of 4.5 and a 10 share, according to today’s Sports Business Daily. The figure rating represents a drop of more than 13 percent from last year’s 5.2 but was still well ahead of the 3.8 the race drew in 2001. NASCAR says 7,326,000 viewers tuned in. The Daily also reports that NBC’s broadcast of last Saturday’s Ford 300 Busch Series race drew a 2.0/6, an 11 percent gain over the 1.8 in 2002. NASCAR also said last Friday’s Ford 200 Craftsman Truck Series race on Speed Channel drew an average of 464,000 viewers, a 33 percent increase over the 350,000 in 2002.(Winston Cup Scene Free Daily Newsletter)(11-21-2003)
    UPDATE: The Ford 400, the NASCAR Winston Cup race held last Sunday and televised by NBC, had an average of 4,870,000 households and 7,326,000 viewers tune in, even though new NASCAR Winston Cup champion Matt Kenseth had clinched the title the previous week at Rockingham.
    The Ford 300, the NASCAR Busch Series race held last Saturday and televised by NBC, had an average of 2,153,000 households tune in, a 10% increase over the 1,950,000 that tuned in last year. An average of 2,888,000 viewers tuned into the Ford 300, an 8% increase over the 2,666,000 watching last year.
    The Ford 200, the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series race held last Friday and televised by SPEED Channel, had an average of 340,000 households tune in, a 12% increase over the 303,000 that tuned in last year. An average of 464,000 viewers tuned into the Ford 200, a 33% increase over the 350,000 from 2002.(NASCAR PR)(11-24-2003)

 


 

  • (11-22-2003)

  • Speed Channel DOTY 4th Qtr = Ryan Newman: Ryan Newman backed up his convincing third quarter Speed Channel presents Driver of the Year 2003 title by easily topping the vote for the fourth quarter. The winningest driver in the Winston Cup series this year scored three more wins, six poles, and had eight top-five finishes in the final quarter of the season. The 25-year-old, from Indiana who drives the Alltel Dodge, had to rebound from a slow start to his season. With nine first-place Driver of the Year 2003 votes Newman far outdistanced (107-71) second place vote getter, Kenny Bernstein, of the NHRA who had two. Steve Kinser, racing in the World of Outlaws, was third in the balloting (57 points) followed by Jimmie Johnson (NASCAR) who also had two first-place votes. In the fan vote – between eight nominated drivers – available at www.speedtv.com, NASCAR’s Winston Cup drivers dominated again garnering the top three positions, with Gordon taking the top honors, followed by Dale Earnhardt, Jr., Newman, Anderson, Bernstein and Kinser. The Driver of the Year Award will be announced on Speed News, Speed Channel.(see full PR on my Voting and Awards page)(11-22-2003)
  • #9 Crew Chief to Yates? UPDATE 3 Official – Yes: Mike Ford, #9-Bill Elliott’s crew chief, may be leaving Elliott’s team and moving to Robert Yates’ team to work with Dale Jarrett and crew chief Shawn Parker, according to sources.(Winston Salem Journal), may have something to do with the past rumors of Tommy Baldwin Jr. going to the #9 team.(11-3-2003)
    UPDATE: being told Mike Ford will be the new crew chief, replacing Shawn Parker, no word on Parker’s plans.(11-18-2003)
    UPDATE 2: Mike Ford, who as crew chief helped return veteran Bill Elliott to victory lane after a seven-year absence, has been hired as the new crew chief for Dale Jarrett and his #88 UPS Fords. A formal announcement regarding Ford’s hiring at Robert Yates Racing could come as early as Thursday, but Ford has already made appearances at his new race shop, sources confirmed. Shawn Parker, who has served as Jarrett’s crew chief this season, has been offered another position at Yates, but has not decided whether he will remain with the organization.(ThatsRacin.com)(11-19-2003)
    UPDATE 3: Robert Yates Racing [#38 and #88] announced several changes to key personnel positions for the #88 UPS and #38 M&Ms® Racing Teams:
    Eddie D’Hondt was hired in late October to assume the role of General Manager for the organization, while Mike Ford and Barry Swift return to RYR where the pair was part of the 1999 NASCAR Winston Cup Championship team. Effective immediately, Ford will assume crew chief duties for driver Dale Jarrett and the #88 UPS Team while Swift will oversee all work performed while serving as the shop foreman for both teams.
    “This is just the beginning of the changes we will be making over the course of the next month,” said owner Robert Yates. “We obviously slipped in 2003 from where everyone expects us to perform and that is everyone from our sponsors, to the media and most importantly ourselves. We know that championship caliber teams require the talent of experienced people and securing the right people is the first step in getting ourselves back to the level that everyone expects us to perform. Mike Ford and Barry Swift were with us when we won the championship in 1999, and really have proven their talent and capabilities while they have been away. It means a lot to have them back. For us, the 2004 season starts today with the addition of Mike and Barry moving forward. This is going to be an aggressive multi-step process which Eddie and our staff are in the midst of formulating and this is just the first step.”
    Ford and Swift worked at Robert Yates Racing through the 1999 season, winning the NASCAR Winston Cup championship before leaving to join Evernham Motorsports. In four seasons as crew chief for the #9 team and driver Bill Elliott, Ford led the team to four wins with the most prestigious being the 2002 Brickyard 400 at Indianapolis Motor Speedway, and most recently the Pop Secret 400 at North Carolina Speedway.
    “It feels like being home,” Ford said of his return to RYR. “The organization has obviously grown since I left, but there are a lot of familiar faces around. I always enjoyed working with Dale, and I know coming into this the talent he has as a race car driver. I feel like I can contribute to getting this team turned around from the recent performance. I know it is going to be a lot of work, but knowing the kind of driver Dale is and the support Robert (Yates) puts into this organization, I know we can have better results.”(Elevation Motorsports PR)(11-22-2003)


    (11-21-2003)

  • Third Penske Team in 2004? UPDATE 3 Gaughan and Penske and Kodak? to the #77? Blaney OUT? The Kodak fact finding mission stopped at Roush Racing, BAM Racing, Bill Davis Racing, Dale Earnhardt, Inc., and reportedly to Penske Racing South – where there is interest in starting a third team.(Ford Racing)(11-10-2003)
    UPDATE: hearing Brendan Gaughan is “supposed” to go to a third Penske team next year, with Kodak sponsorship. Somehow, the whole (Kodak) deal is contingent on his winning the Truck Series championship.(11-14-2003)
    UPDATE 2 and more: Kodak’s departure from the #4 Morgan-McClure car appears imminent [may stay as an assoc – Jayski]. Several organizations have bid on the Kodak account, including Dale Earnhardt Inc., BAM Racing and PPI Motorsports. Although DEI has been rumored to be the front-runner, Kodak officials were spotted at Penske Racing last weekend. Garage chatter has Craftsman Trucks driver Brendan Gaughan running a limited 2004 Nextel Cup schedule for Penske with eight-figure sponsor support from Kodak.(FoxSports/Sporting News)(11-17-2003)
    AND on Wednesday’s Wind Tunnel show, Brendan Gaughan called in and said Dodge was working on a few race Cup deal for him in 2004, but he didn’t know which team and that the ‘rumor’ was blown out of proportion.(11-20-2003)
    UPDATE 3: Don Miller Penske Racing South on XM Satellite – NASCAR Radio when asked if Penske is starting a third team: “This is where we are. We have been approached by another sponsor to run a third car. As You know it’s Kodak. Kodak has come down in the Charlotte area and talked to half a dozen of the really good race teams and we just happen to be one of them. At this point, you know, nothing has been settled one way or the other but they have let us know that we are (one of the teams) in the final selection process.”(XM Satellite- NASCAR Radio – Subscription Required)
    AND Penske Racing and Jasper Motorsports are considering an arrangement where they would split ownership of Jasper’s #77 Fords and bring the team under the Penske umbrella next season. Truck series driver Brendan Gaughan is the preferred candidate for the ride if the new deal is completed, sources said. Dave Blaney, who currently drives the #77, would not return to the team next season. The completion of the deal rests largely on the team’s ability to secure a sponsor and a decision in that regard could come as early as Monday. The Penske-Jasper deal is one of three teams from which Kodak, which bought out its remaining contract with Morgan-McClure Motorsports, will select as its new home in what will become the Nextel Cup Series in 2004, sources said. Kodak is expected to make a final decision by Monday, choosing offers from Penske, Roush Racing and Dale Earnhardt Inc. “There could be the possibility of a third team next season, but how that team is structured and who the driver would be remains up in the air,” said Don Miller, Penske vice president, who was reached Friday by phone. Team owner Roger Penske, in an appearance on the Speed Channel show “Wind Tunnel” Thursday night, was asked by show host Dave Despain about a possible third Penske team. “There has been interest by our team to possibly look at a third car. Kodak has come back through and talked to four or five teams in Charlotte – they came to our shop and we made a proposal,” Penske said. “At this particular time, we have interest, we have engine capability with our Penske Jasper program … to bring another young driver in might be a real opportunity for us for next year.” Asked specifically about Gaughan as a driver, Penske said, “Brendan is one of the young Dodge drivers and obviously with our relationship with Dodge with Rusty and Ryan, he could be a possibility.” Gaughan, 28, won six races this season and led the series points entering the season finale at Homestead, Fla. He was involved in a wreck in the race and ended up fourth in points. If he gets the ride, Gaughan would become the third member of the 2004 Nextel Cup rookie class, joining Brian Vickers and Scott Riggs [and maybe Johnny Sauter and Kasey Kahne??]. Gaughan in is Mexico racing this week and was unavailable for comment. Several issues remain to be worked out before the Penske-Jasper deal is completed, including: the car’s number; where the team would be based; the listed car owner; and whether it would keep car owner’s points from the 2003 season. The team would join the Dodge camp and utilize Penske engines, sources said.(ThatsRacin.com)(11-21-2003)
  • Bill France Jr named WCI Person of the Year: NASCAR Winston Cup Illustrated magazine has named retired NASCAR Chairman Bill France Jr. its 2003 Person of the Year for his leadership in growing the sport after taking over from his father in 1972 until stepping aside this year. “Despite his great knowledge and an obvious willingness to do whatever it took to get the job done, there was no guarantee France Jr. would find success in a sports-crazed country where today’s triumph is tomorrow’s laughingstock,” writes Jon Gunn, the magazine’s managing editor. Columnist Ben White writes that France Jr. earned the honor “for his countless contributions” and adds, “Maybe in his case it should be called ‘Person of the Century.'” The magazine, which is published by NASCAR Winston Cup Scene’s parent company, Street & Smith’s Sports Group, is available on newsstands now.(Winston Cup Scene Free Daily Newsletter)(11-21-2003)
  • Petty Movie Update: Richard Petty’s life and racing career will soon appear on the big screen. Whether the film showcases the North Carolina landscapes where “The King” became famous remains uncertain. The Randolph County Tourism Development Authority wants the state to develop a film incentive program that keeps the state competitive for this and future movie projects. That comes after officials in Georgia made a push to land the project about the NASCAR legend. Petty, who’s from Randolph County, won seven Daytona 500 races and seven Winston Cup championships during his 35-year stock-car racing career. The film could have a $75 million budget and will be a joint venture between actor Dennis Quaid and Disney Studios. Filming is expected to begin between early 2004 and spring 2005. Producers said Georgia has offered a 10 percent savings on the $75 million budget if the film is made in and around Atlanta. That has government officials, including Gov. Mike Easley and state Sen. Jerry Tillman, R-Randolph, scrambling to find a solution. Easley’s office, the state Commerce Department and the North Carolina Film Office are talking with movie producers and studios about the project, but officials would not elaborate on possible incentives. Rebecca Clark, head of the Piedmont Triad Film Commission, said local officials believe the best option is to waive sales taxes on production costs. Local officials estimated Tuesday that the government would give up roughly $1 million in sales taxes to capture $18 million to $25 million for hotel operators, production assistants, construction workers, retail outlets, trades people and actors. An estimated 30 percent of a movie budget is spent in the area where filming takes place. In exchange, Warner Brothers promised to spend $12 million on the 12 episodes, hire 120 local people for production jobs and hire 300 locals as extras.(WRAL/AP) past news about this and other movies, see my Media-Movie News page.(11-21-2003)
  • Testing at Kentucky UPDATE 2: Testing for the 2004 Nextel Cup Series is already getting cranked up. #7-Jimmy Spencer is scheduled to test an Ultra Motorsports entry there Wednesday and Thursday, and Mark Green is scheduled to test an MBV Motorsports entry on Thursday. While testing is not open to the public, the track says fans may watch from the front of the visitor center in the corner of turn three.(Winston Cup Scene Daily Newsletter)(11-18-2003)
    UPDATE: J.J. Yeley supposedly tested a Joe Gibbs Racing Chevy at Kentucky on Wednesday.(11-20-2003)
    UPDATE 2: J.J. Yeley wasted no time getting into a Joe Gibbs car testing Tony Stewart’s Home Depot Monte Carlo at the Kentucky Speedway Thursday. Mike McLaughlin turned laps in Bobby Labonte’s Interstate Batteries Chevy. Jimmy Spencer wrapped up the second of a 2-day test at there and Mark Green shook down the Valvoline machine for MB2 Motorsports.(PRN’s Garage Pass Radio Show)(11-21-2003)


    (11-20-2003)

  • Running in the Dirt:
    More than 270 racers will drive through the Mexican desert this weekend in the Tecate SCORE Baja 1000. The 805-mile, 13-checkpoint race begins Friday in Ensenada-Baja California, Mexico, about 65 miles south of the U.S.-Mexico border. The race ends Saturday in Ensenada. All vehicles will have a 32-hour time limit from the time they start. A pair of NASCAR drivers, Winston Cup’s Robby Gordon and Craftsman Truck Series’ Brendan Gaughan, are entered. Teammates Dan Smith and David Ashley and brothers Tim and Ed Herbst along with Gordon highlight the featured Trophy-Truck division. Other noted drivers entered: CART’s Jimmy Vasser and Michel Jordain Jr., SCCA’s Jeff Zwart, rally racer Rod Millen and former open-wheel racers Mike and Robbie Groff, Roberto Guerrero, Stefan Johannson and Johnny Unser.(USA Today/Wire) for more info and too keep up with the race see www.score-international.com site or RobbyGordon.com site or the offroad.com site.(11-20-2003)
    AND Kyle Busch has entered the IMCA Modified Duel in the Desert at the Dirt Track at Las Vegas Motor Speedway on Nov. 21-22. Busch will be part of a two-car team with Pahrump’s Jason Pike. Pike is one of the top modified racers on the west coast, and has won numerous championships at various tracks around the country. Practice and heat races for the Duel in the Desert will be Friday, Nov. 21. IMCA Modified features will begin Saturday, Nov. 22 at 6:30 p.m. The 40-lap A-Feature is set for 9 p.m. In addition, Thunderstocks will compete in a 15-lap feature on Saturday night. Spectator gates open at 5 p.m. each day.(LVMS PR)(11-20-2003)
  • Nothing New on Elliott UPDATE well…..maybe something: Bill Elliott was supposed to meet with owner Ray Evernham today, have heard nothing concerning any decision on Elliott’s 2004 plans.(11-18-2003)
    UPDATE: Mike Ford’s departure from Evernham Motorsports and its #9 Dodges is likely to open the door to the hiring of crew chief Tommy Baldwin. Team officials confirmed Wednesday Baldwin no longer works for Ultra Motorsports [#7 Dodge], where he spent the 2003 season with driver Jimmy Spencer. Where all this leaves Elliott and his possible retirement remains unclear. Elliott and team owner Ray Evernham were expected to meet Tuesday, but bad weather prevented Elliott’s arrival in the Charlotte area. NASCAR Busch Series driver Kasey Kahne, who has said he has talked with Evernham Motorsports about moving to Winston Cup, has yet to be released from his contract with Ford Motor Co. However, the team he drives for in the Busch Series, Akins Motorsports, announced earlier this week it was moving to Dodges next season.(ThatsRacin.com)(11-19-2003)
    UPDATE 2: Elliott to Ford [see past news on this rumor from a few weeks back on the #9 Team News and Links page] is getting stronger play in the rumor mill, now with Robert Yates Racing for a 10-race deal. But at this point have heard so many different things….who knows?(11-20-2003)
  • Yeley signs with Gibbs to run A-B-C sched in 2004 UPDATE 2: JJ Yeley, the 26-year-old USAC national sprint-car champ and Silver Crown champ, has signed a contract to join Joe Gibbs’ team next season, team sources confirmed yesterday, though the announcement isn’t expected for a few weeks. JJ, whose real name is Christopher Beltram Hernandez Yeley, has Tony Stewart as a mentor and now as a teammate. But Yeley may have a long way to go before making it to the Winston/Nextel Cup tour. Jimmy Makar, general manager for Gibbs, says that the new team is still in a formative stage. “We’re trying to develop a program to develop a young driver,” Makar says. “We’ve got some sponsorship irons in the fire, a few small things we’re working on, but nothing major yet. We’re looking at doing some Busch races and some ARCA races next year. We’ll really just take it as it comes. There’s nothing saying we have to run X-amount of races in any one division. We’ll start testing and see how he develops, and add races as he develops.” Who will run the team? “We’ve got six or seven guys on a list to talk to,” Makar says. “We’ve talked to a few already, and we’ll talk to more in the next few weeks, and decide which way to go.”(Winston Salem Journal)(11-17-2003)
    UPDATE: Open wheel standout JJ Yeley said Tuesday he has signed a two-year contract with the powerful Joe Gibbs Racing team, whose drivers have won two of the past four NASCAR Winston Cup championships. “A lot of different teams were interested, but out of all of the programs, I think this is the best one for a long-term situation,” said Yeley, a Phoenix native now living near Indianapolis. “They’re very well respected, and they have everything it takes to get me to the next level.” No one from the Gibbs team could be reached for comment, but Yeley said a formal announcement is expected today. Yeley recently turned his attention toward NASCAR after being unable to land a full-time Indy Racing League ride, and he immediately landed on the Gibbs’ radar screen in part because Tony Stewart owns or co-owns two of the U.S. Auto Club cars Yeley drives. Stewart won the 2002 NASCAR title for Gibbs, and teammate Bobby Labonte was the 2000 champion. In time, perhaps as early as the 2005 season, Yeley hopes to reach the top NASCAR series, which will become the Nextel Cup in 2004. Until then, Yeley will divide next season between the NASCAR Busch Series and the ARCA circuit. “There’s also a chance I could do a couple of Cup races,” said Yeley, who is testing today and Thursday at Kentucky Speedway.(Arizona Republic)(11-19-2003)
    UPDATE 2: Joe Gibbs Racing (JGR) signed United States Auto Club (USAC) standout J.J Yeley to a multi-year contract. Beginning with the 2004 racing season, Yeley will run an A-B-C schedule, consisting of seven to eight ARCA races, 10-12 NASCAR Busch Series races and two to three NASCAR Nextel Cup Series races. MBNA, the world’s largest independent credit card issuer and longtime JGR supporter, will back Yeley’s effort as an associate sponsor. A primary sponsor has yet to be secured. “J.J. Yeley is a very talented racer who everyone at Joe Gibbs Racing is excited to have,” said team owner Joe Gibbs. “He has accomplished a lot in a very short period of time in many different racing disciplines. His track record in USAC mirrors Tony Stewart’s before he came to NASCAR, and Tony’s time spent driving stock cars for JGR has worked out very well for him and for us. We’re hoping the same is true with J.J.”
    A native of Phoenix, the 27-year-old Yeley comes to JGR with an impressive list of credentials that could become even more impressive in the coming days. Yeley is on track to match Stewart’s record of earning USAC’s Triple Crown – winning the Sprint, Midget and Silver Crown championships in a single season. Yeley has already wrapped up the Sprint and Silver Crown titles, and with only two races remaining – Nov. 22 at Tucson (Ariz.) Raceway Park and Nov. 27 at Irwindale (Calif.) Speedway – he leads the Midget standings by 121 points over nearest pursuer Tracy Hines.
    “This has already been a great year for me,” said Yeley, who in 2002 won the Silver Crown championship and finished second in the Sprint and Midget standings. “There’s still some work for me to do in USAC, but having the opportunity to drive for Joe Gibbs Racing is something any driver would want. It’s a good home, with Tony Stewart and Mike Bliss – guys who came up through the USAC ranks before me – already there. It’s a great challenge and there’s a lot to learn, but I’m ready for it.”
    “J.J. is the number one candidate from the USAC series to move up,” said Stewart, winner of the Triple Crown in 1995. “What he can do on dirt tracks is awesome, and all year he’s gotten better and better with what he’s been able to do on pavement. It’s just a matter of time before he gets the hang of stock cars. He’s shown his adaptability since he came to USAC in 1997, and his versatility will be an asset in NASCAR.”
    Yeley has earned a total of 24 wins this year in USAC, easily surpassing the mark of 19 set by A.J. Foyt in 1961 and tied in 1988 by Sleepy Tripp and in 2000 by Jay Drake. Fourteen of Yeley’s wins have come in Sprint Cars, where Stewart is the owner, while four other wins have come in the Silver Crown car, which Stewart co-owns with Bob East. En route to amassing such a large win total, Yeley became the first driver in USAC history to win on pavement and dirt in all three national series in a single season.(Joe Gibbs Racing PR/site)(11-20-2003)
  • Chip Ganassi Racing Scores Triple Crown in 2003 Rookie Title: Chip Ganassi Racing with Felix Sabates saw three of its drivers crowned Rookie of the Year in their respective racing divisions for the 2003 season.
    Jamie McMurray, driver of the #42 Havoline Dodge, was named the 2003 NASCAR Winston Cup Raybestos Rookie of the Year.
    David Stremme’s Rookie of the Year title in the NASCAR Busch Series is quite impressive. Stremme competed in only 18 of the 34 races on the Busch Series schedule and compiled three top-five and seven top-10 finishes during the 18-race span.
    Chip Ganassi Racing’s latest addition to its driver development program is Reed Sorenson. The 17-year-old became the youngest driver in American Speed Association (ASA) history to earn Rookie of the Year honors. During his 2003 season on the ASA circuit, Sorenson racked up seven top-five and 14 top-10 finishes in 17 starts.(Chip Ganassi Racing with Felix Sabates PR)(11-20-2003)
  • Kenseth sets Modern-era record: Newly crowned NASCAR Winston Cup Series champion Matt Kenseth was a showcase for consistency throughout his championship-winning season and that characteristic earned him an impressive series’ modern-era record in addition to the prestige and financial rewards that accompany the title. Kenseth spent 33 consecutive race weeks ranked No. 1 in the NASCAR Winston Cup Series championship race, which established a modern-era record and paces this month’s NASCAR Top 10 list.

    The previous record was 30 consecutive weeks, established by seven-time NASCAR Winston Cup champ Dale Earnhardt during his first title-winning run in 1980. Kenseth tied Earnhardt’s mark following Atlanta on Oct. 26 and earned the record outright the following week (Nov. 2) at Phoenix. Kenseth’s streak began March 9 following a fourth-place finish at Atlanta that vaulted him past Michael Waltrip for the No. 1 ranking through four races of the season. The performance at Atlanta allowed Kenseth to improve one position from his previous ranking of No. 2 and open a 49-point advantage over No. 2 Tony Stewart. The rise to No. 1 also marked the first time in his career that he was the top-ranked driver at any stage of the season.

    The closest any of his pursuers came to threatening his No. 1 position during the streak occurred when Dale Earnhardt Jr. narrowed the gap to 20 points following Richmond, the 11th of 36 championship-points races. However, the following race at Charlotte was pivotal as Kenseth’s runner-up finish – coupled with a 41st-place finish by Earnhardt Jr. – increased the margin between the two to 160 points. Kenseth held a comfortable margin the remainder of the way and his largest lead of the season was 436 points over No. 2 Kevin Harvick following Dover on Sept. 21, race 28 of 36. He closed the season with a 90-point spread over series runner-up Jimmie Johnson.

    Here’s a glance at the NASCAR Top 10 for most consecutive weeks at No. 1 in the championship:
    1. Matt Kenseth, 33 weeks: Kenseth opened the 2003 season 19th in the NASCAR Winston Cup championship hunt following a 20th-place finish in the Daytona 500. A third-place effort at Rockingham moved him to sixth and a victory in Las Vegas improved him to second. A fourth-place performance at Atlanta allowed him to supplant Michael Waltrip at No. 1, marking the first time in his career that he held the No. 1 ranking. Kenseth tied the record of 30 weeks in a row that was held by Dale Earnhardt since 1980 following Atlanta on Oct. 26 and earned the record outright the following week (Nov. 2) at Phoenix.
    2. Dale Earnhardt, 30 weeks: Earnhardt’s streak in 1980 was nearly wire-to-wire, the exception being the season-opening race at Riverside International Raceway. He finished second at Riverside in January for the No. 2 ranking in the championship, but a fourth-place effort in the ensuing Daytona 500 moved him into first, 39 points ahead of Terry Labonte. He held the No. 1 ranking for 30 weeks in a row and concluded the reign with a NASCAR Winston Cup championship. He closed the run in the season-ending race at Ontario Motor Speedway, taking the crown by 19 points over Cale Yarborough.
    3. Richard Petty, 28 weeks: Petty’s reign in 1975 began after posting a win at the Richmond Fairgrounds Raceway – the third event of a 30-race season – that vaulted him from fourth in the championship to first. The win gave him a 46-point advantage over Benny Parsons at that juncture of the season and he dominated throughout the 28-week streak. At the conclusion of the final race at Ontario Motor Speedway, he had captured the championship by 722 points over runner-up Dave Marcis.
    4. Earnhardt, 27 weeks: Earnhardt, like Petty’s 28-race week streak, got the run rolling with a victory at the Richmond Fairgrounds Raceway, the third race of the 29-event season in 1987. The victory moved Earnhardt from second to first in the championship standings, and gave him a 20-point lead over Bill Elliott. He held the No. 1 ranking the remainder of the way and it culminated with a 489-point advantage over Elliott for the NASCAR Winston Cup championship.
    5. Dale Jarrett, 26 weeks: Jarrett’s streak in his 1999 championship-winning season began with a victory at Richmond International Raceway. The win in the 11th race of the 34-event season moved him from second to first and gave him a 63-point lead over Jeff Burton. The streak was highlighted by his championship – a 201-point spread over Bobby Labonte – but it did not conclude at the close of the season. He opened the 2000 season with a victory in the Daytona 500 and held the No. 1 ranking in the championship for the first two races of the season. Despite a seventh-place finish at Las Vegas, Jarrett relinquished the No. 1 position to Bobby Labonte by just four points. Jarrett’s streak is one of only two among the NASCAR Top 10 list that was extended into the following season.

    6. (tie) Bobby Labonte, 25 weeks: Labonte’s 25 consecutive race weeks at No. 1 in 2000 resulted in his first NASCAR Winston Cup championship. The run began following a runner-up finish at California Speedway, the 10th event of the 34-race season. The performance at California improved his championship standing from No. 2 to No. 1 as he built a 20-point lead over Mark Martin. Labonte closed out the streak at the season finale at Atlanta, capping it with a 265-point advantage over Dale Earnhardt and the title.
    Sterling Marlin, 25 weeks: Marlin’s impressive 25-week run at No. 1 in 2002 did not result in a NASCAR Winston Cup championship, one of only two on the NASCAR Top 10 list that did not result in a championship. Marlin moved from fifth to first in the championship following a runner-up finish at Rockingham and led Ward Burton by 18 points through two races of the season. Marlin had the No. 1 ranking wrestled away from him following New Hampshire – the 27th race of the 36-event season – as he fell six points behind new No. 1 Mark Martin. Two races later, Marlin was injured during an accident at Kansas and it doused any title hopes. He missed the remainder of the season and finished 18th in the championship.
    8. (tie) Earnhardt, 21 weeks (three times): Earnhardt held the No. 1 position for 21 consecutive weeks in 1986, ’91 and ’93, all of which resulted in NASCAR Winston Cup titles. The first of the three streaks began at Talladega – race nine of 29 – when he finished second in the race. The effort moved him from second to first in the championship, 109 points ahead of Darrell Waltrip. He closed out the season at No. 1, earning the title by a 288-point margin over Waltrip.The ’91 streak also began in the ninth race of the season – at Talladega – and extended through the close of the 29-race season at Atlanta. A third-place finish at Talladega moved him up one position to No. 1, four points ahead of Ricky Rudd. He ended the season with a 195-point advantage over Rudd in the title battle. The second 21-week streak began at Sears Point – race 10 of the 30-race season – when a sixth-place effort moved him from second to first in the championship. He closed out the season by claiming the crown by 80 points over Rusty Wallace.
    Bobby Allison, 21 weeks: Allison’s 21-week stretch at No. 1 in 1983 resulted in the lone NASCAR Winston Cup championship of his outstanding career. A victory at Dover in the 10th race of the 30-event season improved his position from No. 2 to No. 1 as he grabbed a 41-point advantage over Harry Gant. The run extended through the season finale at Riverside, where he claimed the championship by 47 points over Darrell Waltrip.
    9. Bobby Allison, 20 weeks: Allison’s second streak in 1981 did not result in a championship, joining Sterling Marlin’s run as the only two that did not lead to a series crown. He moved into the No. 1 position from No. 2 following a fourth-place finish at Atlanta, the fifth race of the season. Allison held the No. 1 ranking through Richmond, but lost it the following race at Dover – the 25th race of the season – despite a third-place performance. He fell two points behind Darrell Waltrip, who went on to become the series champion as he edged Allison by 53 points.
    10. Jeff Gordon, 19 weeks: Gordon joins Dale Jarrett among this NASCAR Top 10 group as the only drivers to have their consecutive runs extend over two seasons. Gordon earned the No. 1 ranking following his win at Sears Point, race 16 of 33 in the 1998 season. The streak was highlighted by the NASCAR Winston Cup championship – rolling to the title by a 364-point margin over Mark Martin – and continued briefly into the 1999 season. He began the season at No. 1 as a result of his triumph in the Daytona 500, but relinquished the ranking the following week at Rockingham. He finished 39th and fell to No. 11, ending his streak.(NASCAR PR)(11-20-2003)


    (11-19-2003)

  • #30 Driver? hearing the #30 AOL RCR Chevy may be driven in 2004 by Johnny Sauter? Not sure how this would effect his Busch ride in the #27 Brewco ride…if it happens.(11-19-2003)
  • Beam leaves RCR for Wells: Crew Chief Mike Beam has left Richard Childress Racing and the #30 AOL Chevy team to become the team manager for car owner Cal Wells’ operation.(PRN’s Garage Pass Radio Show)(11-19-2003)
  • Biffle to run all Cup AND Busch races in 2004? New Crew Chief? UPDATE 2: #16-Greg Biffle is considering running the full NASCAR Busch series schedule in 2004 in Roush Racing’s #60 Fords – the same team with which he won the 2002 series championship. In an interview Thursday, Biffle said at first he would run “a lot of races” next season. Then later, he added running the whole season was “a definite possibility.” Biffle also said he expected Brad Parrott to be his crew chief next season [for the Busch team].(ThatsRacin.com)(11-14-2003)
    UPDATE: Jack Roush intends to enter driver Greg Biffle in both Winston Cup and Busch Series championship races next season, with full sponsorships for both programs, Roush said Friday. Like Kevin Harvick in 2001 with Richard Childress, Biffle would run full seasons in both series, Roush said. Grainger, the industrial supply company, will continue to sponsor the Cup effort, with the sponsor for the Busch car not declared. Also, Roush said, the company will continue with the two Craftsman Truck teams for Jon Wood and Carl Edwards and will have a second Busch car, which would be run by up to four different drivers [The Pennzoil sponsorship]. The total effort for Roush Racing would be the five Cup teams, two in Busch and two in Trucks. Biffle, 2000 champion in Trucks, won the Busch championship in 2002 and was graduated to Cup this year, running second to Jamie McMurray in rookie points and winning the summer race at Daytona. Since mid-year, he has run part-time in Busch with Ed Evans’s #7 team. The second Busch team is interesting. Roush said he already has backing to run three of his Cup drivers part-time, those being Mark Martin, Jeff Burton and Matt Kenseth, in about 20 races. Sponsorship may also be available to run one of the Truck jockeys in the remaining races, bringing the team up to full-year status. Roush also says the means may be available to do a third Truck team with a driver to be named [Terry Cook?].(Speed Channel)(11-16-2003)
    UPDATE 2: Along with the full 2004 Nextel Cup schedule, Greg Biffle will compete in all but one Busch Series race next season. Biffle will miss Milwaukee because he can’t physically be in two places at once with the cup circuit running the same day at Infineon Raceway in Sonoma, California. Biffle competed in 14 Busch Series races in 2003 finishing 35th in points with two victories.(PRN’s Garage Pass Radio Show)(11-19-2003)
  • Dale Jr’s Pit Crew To Collect $200,000 Bonus; Sterling Marlin’s Crew Takes Homestead Victory:
    #8-Dale Earnhardt Jr’s pit crew made a late-season charge to capture the 2003 McDonald’s Drive-Thru Pit Championship fueled by POWERade. For winning the championship, Earnhardt’s pit crew will collect a $200,000 bonus. The check presentation will take place Dec. 5 in New York during the NASCAR Winston Cup Awards Banquet at the Waldorf-Astoria. With five McDonald’s/POWERade race victories that paid $20,000 each, Earnhardt’s pit crew earned a total of $300,000 in the season-long championship. Earnhardt’s crew edged Michael Waltrip’s pit crew to claim the inaugural championship that recognized and honored the unsung heroes in the NASCAR Winston Cup Series. Earnhardt’s team collected 1,243 points while Waltrip’s team totaled 1,230. The two DEI crews waged an impressive battle with both teams entering last week’s season finale in Homestead, Fla. tied in points.
    “At the first of the year when we found out about the McDonald’s/POWERade program, everybody got pumped up and had something to shoot for,” said Tony Eury Sr., crew chief for Earnhardt’s team. “We never dreamed that it was going to come down to a battle with our own teammate. Both teams put a lot effort into this and it was sure nice of McDonald’s and POWERade to recognize their efforts. We are proud to be the first champions of the program.”
    Earnhardt’s over-the-wall crew consists of: Jeff Clark (gasman), Kevin Pennell (jackman), Phil Drye (front tire changer), Danny Earnhardt (front tire carrier), Jay Guarneri (rear tire changer), Troy Prince (rear tire carrier), Bill Snyder (catch can). Assisting Eury with the crew chief duties is the team’s car chief Tony Eury Jr. Walt Smith is the pit crew coach at DEI.
    In Sunday’s Ford 400 at Homestead-Miami Speedway, Sterling Marlin’s pit crew won the McDonald’s/POWERade championship. Marlin’s No. 40 Dodge spent the least amount of time on pit road – 220.757 seconds. Bill Elliott’s Dodge was second at 229.941and Jamie McMurray’s Dodge was third at 246.539. Marlin’s over-the-wall pit crew consists of: Steven Wolfe (front tire changer), Trent Davis (front tire carrier), Mike Atwell (rear tire changer), Tim Shore (rear tire carrier), Greg Pasi (jackman), Jerry Schweitz (gasman) and Rick Reling (catch can). The crew chief is Lee McCall and the team trainer is Al Shuford. For the final points standings, who won each weekm top ten at Homestead, see my Pit Crew News page.(DMF Communications PR)(11-19-2003)
  • KKK wants a boycott of NASCAR: how weird is this? – Ku Klux Klan members were apparently busy distributing a newsletter and fliers as some local residents found them attached to their mailboxes on Monday, Local 4 reported. The newsletter called “The Flame,” along with a flier, was attached by rubber bands to mailboxes in Ypsilanti and Pittsfield Township. The materials reportedly called for the boycott of McDonalds, NASCAR and Coca-Cola for what the KKK says are the companies’ tendency for discriminating against whites by hiring blacks and Hispanics. Residents said the timing of the fliers was perfect because Monday was trash day, Local 4 reported.(ClickOnDetroit.com)(11-19-2003)

    (11-18-2003)

  • National Guard to the #16? it appears that the Army National Guard will be going to the #16 Roush Racing Ford and driver Greg Biffle, being the primary associate for several races with the option to be a primary for a few select races. Supposedly Grainger will still be on the car but will spilt it’s primary sponsorship with National Guard. See much more about the ‘Guard rumor’ past news on my #16 Team News and Links page. Also hearing USPS and Subway [Sandwiches – Jarred] could be part of the sponsorhip package.(11-18-2003)
  • Nextel names two NASCAR personnel: Nextel Communications appointed communications and marketing directors for the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series, a 10-year title sponsorship announced in June.
    Jill Gregory joins Nextel as director of NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series marketing. She will be responsible for all NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series marketing activities, building a team, promoting the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series brand and developing and maintaining relationships with NASCAR, teams, drivers, promoters and fans. Prior to joining Nextel, Gregory was vice president and general manager for GMR Marketing, where she managed all sports, event and hospitality activities for Visa USA and other clients. Her sports property management experience includes NFL, NASCAR, Visa Triple Crown, Broadway, Disney and other entertainment events. Gregory also has extensive motor sports management experience from her years managing all sponsorship marketing programs for Texaco Inc. She has a bachelor’s degree from the California Polytechnic State University, San Luis Obispo, Calif.
    Mike Mooney joins Nextel as director of NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series corporate communications. He will be responsible for creating a team and managing media relations, community relations and special events for the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series. Mooney has 10 years of experience in motor sport public relations and has worked on accounts with CITGO, NASCAR, NHRA, PGA Tour, ATP Tour and CART. Prior to joining Nextel, Mooney was principal for Cox Marketing Group where he was responsible for strategy, execution and measurement for clients’ sports public relations programs. He has a bachelor’s degree from Elon University, Elon, N.C. Both Gregory and Mooney will be based in Charlotte, NC.(Business Wire)(11-18-2003)
  • Tracy looking at NASCAR….if: CART driver Paul Tracy might switch from open-wheel machines to stock cars. If CART should fold next year, Tracy would snap up a Cup ride if one were offered him. “It’s something I’m interested in,” said Tracy, 34. “I’m under contract with Forsythe Racing for another year, and my focus is on defending my CART title, but I’d also like to keep my racing options open.” Tracy, a Canadian, was attending his first NASCAR race. Although he has never been in a Busch or Winston Cup car, he has an open invitation from Richard Childress Racing to test whenever he wants. Tracy didn’t discount the possibility. “The door is open for me to try out the car,” said Tracy, who drove for Roger Penske for a while in the ’90s. “Richard told me I might not like the feel of a big stock car after driving open wheel, but I’m welcome to try anytime.” If his CART ride were to disappear in the next year or two, Tracy said he probably would go to NASCAR. “I might do some sports car racing,” he said. “I’d like to try Le Mans or the Daytona 24 Hours, but NASCAR is probably where I’d head.”(Detroit Free Press)(11-18-2003)
  • Elliott Sadler an Outstanding Young Virginian: Last Saturday (Nov 15th) Emporia, VA native Elliott Sadler was named by the Virginia Jaycees has one of the 2003 Outstanding Young Virginians(OYV) for his work on behalf of Autism at thier annual OYV dinner. Salder accepted this award via a pretaped video from Homestead Florida. He was nominated for this honor by the West End Jaycees. The Jaycees are a community service organization for young people 21-39. For more information on the Virginia Jaycees go to www.va-jaycees.org and the US Jaycees go to www.usjaycees.org.(11-18-2003)
  • Motorsports Marketing Forum: Street & Smith’s Sports Group is proud to present the 4th Annual Motorsports Marketing Forum, Dec. 3-4, 2003, in New York City. The program has been developed for corporate sponsors and their sports marketing, advertising and public relations agencies, as well, as team, track and NASCAR executives. Open-dialogue panels and specialty sessions will examine The Growth & Changing Landscape of NASCAR; Leveraging Sponsorship Assets & Amortizing Your NASCAR Budget; Translating Fan Passion into Brand Loyalty; Strategic Differences in Driver, Team, Track and NASCAR Sponsorships; NASCAR’s Popularity as Seen Through TV’s Success; The Impact of Schedule Realignment; The New NASCAR Image; and the Impact of Rising Costs & Greater Competition. For more information or to register, visit www.SportsBusinessJournal.com/conferences, call (800) 647-7600.(Winston Cup Scene Daily Newsletter)(11-18-2003)
  • Bodine and Childress? Todd Bodine, who says he’s looking for a ride, had a good run, finishing 11th, and he may apply for the job with Richard Childress [#30 AOL gig].(Winston Salem Journal)(11-18-2003)
  • Both Hmiel’s to Petty Enterprises? or Green? or Benson? UPDATE 2: A combination deal might land Steve Hmiel, technical director for Dale Earnhardt Inc., and his son Shane Hmiel, a Busch Series driver, at Petty Enterprises in 2004. Steve worked for the Pettys early in his Winston Cup career. Shane was supposed to drive the #43 Dodge in the Pepsi 400 in July at Daytona but failed to qualify. Jeff Green has run well recently in the #43 and also is a candidate to drive it. Johnny Benson, who will be released from the #10, might be in the mix because of his previous relationship with General Mills, the primary sponsor for the 43 car. “We’re still looking, we’re still evaluating, and we’re still working in that direction whether it’s Benson, Jeff Gordon, the guy sitting in the third row of the grandstands or Jeff Green,” says Kyle Petty, the team’s general manager. Petty says Christian Fittipaldi will drive the team’s #44 if a sponsor is secured for next season.(Yahoo Sports/Sporting News)(10-20-2003)
    UPDATE: Kyle Petty wants to put Shane Hmiel in a Petty Enterprises car as soon as possible. When that would be, he doesn’t know. Hmiel’s father, Steve, said he is optimistic Shane will have the suspension lifted by the time NASCAR testing begins at Daytona in January so Shane can sign with a team for next season.(Winston Cup Scene – need sub to read via BGNRacing.com)(11-13-2003)
    UPDATE 2: NASCAR spokesman Jim Hunter said the sanctioning body has made no decision “when or if” Busch Series competitor Shane Hmiel will be reinstated. Hmiel was suspended indefinitely in September for a violation of NASCAR’s substance-abuse policy. He was eighth in series points at the time. In recent weeks, there has been a lot of speculation that car owners in different series were trying to hire Hmiel to drive for their teams. Hunter said Hmiel had been following the procedures and plans set forth by NASCAR president Mike Helton for his reinstatement.(ThatsRacin.com)(11-18-2003)


    (11-17-2003)

  • Race Car Drivers as Athletes: It’s a subject that’s been debated for years. Are race car drivers really athletes? While athletes are traditionally thought of as running, jumping or swinging their way through competition, race car drivers compete in a different way. Drivers are endurance athletes who must deal with the most extreme conditions imaginable — 150 degree heat with several layers of clothing, high decibel noise and noxious fumes, while driving at speeds near 200 miles per hour. Many top race teams find that the key to winning on the track is keeping its team members in shape off the track. Along side the cars at a race shop, you’re likely to find a complete gym and workout facility. That way, team members can keep their bodies in shape as well as practice pit maneuvers. Racing and winning at the highest levels of the sport require more than just a fast car. They require a driver and crew that is dedicated to all around fitness.(Newstream/GM PR – need to register to view)(11-28-2003)
    JAYSKI POLL after 10373 votes, it was pretty convincing, 95.4% said YES; 4.6% said NO.(12-17-2003)
  • Army Close to Re-newing with the #01: Street & Smith’s SportsBusiness Journal reports this week that the U.S. Army is close to renewing its sponsorship with MB2 Motorsports for the team’s #01 Nextel Cup entry. Columnist Terry Lefton says the Army spent more than $16 million on its NASCAR sponsorship this year but says it generated 79 billion media impressions and 50,000 leads on possible Army enlistments. “That equates to $20 million in advertising we didn’t have to spend, so we’re pretty happy,” Col Thomas Nickerson, director of Strategic Outreach of the U.S. Army Accessions Command, told the weekly publication. Joe Nemechek is scheduled to continue to drive while Jerry Nadeau continues to recuperate from his May accident at Richmond International Raceway.(Winston Cup Scene Daily Newsletter)(11-17-2003)
  • Six Drivers who won in 2002 did not win a race in 2003, the drivers: #0-Ward Burton [who had won at least one race the last three years], #40-Sterling Marlin [2 year streak], #21-Ricky Rudd [2 year streak], #6-Mark Martin, #42-Jamie McMurray and #10-Johnny Benson.(11-17-2003)
  • So how did? Matt Kenseth do a burnout in a car that had a blown motor [lap 28 engine blew] at Homestead? simple, the team pulled out his backup car in order to do the celebratory laps.(Palm Beach Post)(11-17-2003)
  • Champ stuff: so when #17-Matt Kenseth won the 2003 Winston Cup Championship, he became the 15th different driver [in 33 years] to win the ‘Winston Cup’ Championship and 26th different driver in 54 years to win the championsip in the top NASCAR series, know before 1971 as the Grand National Series.
    The Winston Cup Winners:
    Dale Earnhardt, 7 [80,86,87,90,91,93,94]
    Richard Petty, 5 [2 before Winston – 71,72,74,75,79]
    Jeff Gordon, 4 [95,97,98,01]
    Cale Yarborough, 3 [76,77,78]
    Darrell Waltrip, 3 [81,82,85]
    Terry Labonte, 2 [84,96]
    Benny Parsons 1973
    Bobby Allison 1983
    Bill Elliott 1988
    Rusty Wallace 1989
    Alan Kulwicki 1992
    Dale Jarett 1999
    Bobby Labonte 2000
    Tony Stewart 2002
    Matt Kenseth 2003
  • Lead-change report: Out of 21 total lead changes, 11 occurred at speed (eliminating those that occurred due to yellow flags, pit stops and mechanical failures). The percentage of passes at speed to total passes was .523. The highest percentage (.818, 9-11) was the season’s first race at Bristol. The lowest percentage was the New Hampshire race (.050, 1-20) on Sept. 14. The season percentage was .387 (242-626).(Gaston Gazette)(11-17-2003)
  • Yeley signed with Gibbs: JJ Yeley, the 26-year-old USAC national sprint-car champ and Silver Crown champ, has signed a contract to join Joe Gibbs’ team next season, team sources confirmed yesterday, though the announcement isn’t expected for a few weeks. JJ, whose real name is Christopher Beltram Hernandez Yeley, has Tony Stewart as a mentor and now as a teammate. But Yeley may have a long way to go before making it to the Winston/Nextel Cup tour. Jimmy Makar, general manager for Gibbs, says that the new team is still in a formative stage. “We’re trying to develop a program to develop a young driver,” Makar says. “We’ve got some sponsorship irons in the fire, a few small things we’re working on, but nothing major yet. We’re looking at doing some Busch races and some ARCA races next year. We’ll really just take it as it comes. There’s nothing saying we have to run X-amount of races in any one division. We’ll start testing and see how he develops, and add races as he develops.” Who will run the team? “We’ve got six or seven guys on a list to talk to,” Makar says. “We’ve talked to a few already, and we’ll talk to more in the next few weeks, and decide which way to go.”(Winston Salem Journal)(11-17-2003)
  • Stuff: The final Winston Cup season covered 36 races at 23 tracks in 19 states. The total laps run totaled 10,668 and in all, the distance raced was 13,932.532 miles.(Naples Daily News)(11-17-2003)
  • Andretti staying at DEI? John Andretti will remain in the #1 DEI Chevrolet in 2004. Crew chief Tony Gibson says Andretti’s contributions have helped the team tremendously. “He’s driven so many different styles of racecars that he’s learned a lot about chassis and shocks,” Gibson says. “He’s very car-smart.”(FoxSports/Sporting News)(11-17-2003)
  • Schrader #30? #49? Ken Schrader says he plans to return to the No. 49, but there’s speculation that he and Johnny Benson are the two finalists for the #30 ride at Richard Childress Racing.(FoxSports/Sporting News)(11-17-2003)

 


(11-16-2003)

 

  • Labonte wins at Homestead as Elliott cuts tire down with lap to go: #9-Bill Elliott led 189 laps and was on his way to his 45th career win when, with about an half lap left, cut down a right rear tire, allowing 2nd place #18-Bobby Labonte to scoot by and win the Ford 400 at the New Homestead-Miami Speedway while only leading one lap, the last and most important lap. Elliott ended up 8th. #29-Kevin Harvick finished 2nd, followed by #48-Jimmie Johnson, #10-Johnny Benson [in his last race with the #10 and the last race for Pontiac] and #24-Jeff Gordon. #97-Kurt Busch was involved in a lap 5 accident, the team repaired the car and he limped to a 35th place finish, but still fell to 11th in drivers points. #5-Terry Labonte, who finished 15th, got the 10th place in points and will head to the banquet in NYC on Dec 5th. Rookie #42-Jamie McMurray, who started on the pole, finished 9th and officially was named 2003 Rookie of the Year. #14-Larry Foyt had his best career finish with a 16th on the lead lap.
    More info including my race rundown, Race Results Links, Top 10, lap leaders, cars off track, cautions/why a caution, the Lucky Dog list, notes on the race and other assorted stuff on my JAYSKI’s Homestead Race Rundown/Info page. #17-Matt Kenseth officially celebrated his 2003 Winston Cup Championship by doing a smokey burnout.
    Scheduled Race Re-Air: on Speed Channel:
    one-hour recap/Fast Forward on Wednesday, November 19th at 7:00pm/et and again on November 20th at 1:00am/et;
    and a full three-hour race show will re-air at 3:00pm/et on Thursday, November 20th.(11-16-2003)
    For race results, awards standings, see my Ford 400 Race Results page
    and for finals Drivers/Owners standings, see my Jayski’s Drivers/Owners Points (after Homestead/the Ford 400 page.(11-18-2003)
  • Get Well: #4 Morgan McClure crew chief, Tim Brewer in back home in NC suffering from Kidney Stones.(11-16-2003)
  • Bobby Labonte Wins Ford 400; Matt Kenseth Celebrates Championship: Ford Championship Weekend at the new Homestead Miami Speedway came to a close on Sunday with Bobby Labonte capturing the Ford 400 NASCAR Winston Cup Series race and Matt Kenseth celebrating his 2003 Winston Cup Series championship in front of a sell-out crowd. Bill Elliott’s cut right rear tire on the last lap of the Ford 400 opened the door for Labonte, who captured a 1.749-second victory. The victory was Labonte’s 21st of his Winston Cup career and the fourth time he has won a Winston Cup season finale. Elliott dominated the 267-lap race, leading six times for 189 laps, and appeared on his way to victory before his car started to get loose on Turns 1 and 2 on the last lap of the race. “He came off of Turn 2 and (his car) started to get loose,” Labonte said. “I was hoping he wasn’t running through oil. Evidently his tire was going down and we were able to get by him. Obviously my emotions on that lap went low to high pretty quick because I didn’t think I had any chance to beat him. His misfortune was our fortune. Said a disappointing Elliott: “We had a great race car. Our Dodge ran so well today. You win them sometimes like that, although I don’t know if I’ve ever won one like that but I’ve sure lost them.” While Labonte was rejoicing in Gatorade Victory Lane, Matt Kenseth was celebrated his 2003 NASCAR Winston Cup Series championship with a Victory Lap. Driving alongside Kenseth in a 1971 Plymouth Super Bird was Richard Petty, the first NASCAR champion under the Winston sponsorship in 1971. The Ford 400 was the last Winston-sponsored event for NASCAR’s top series. “That’s beyond cool,” said Kenseth about celebrating with Petty. “Richard Petty is the first Winston Cup champion and it’s amazing to think we’re the last Winston Cup champion. It’s just a huge honor to even get to talk to the King and somebody that you idolized growing up as a stock car racer. I’m just happy to be here.” Kenseth’s day was cut short after his engine expired and he finished 43rd.(Homestead-Miami Speedway PR)(11-16-2003)
  • McMurray Rookie of the Year: #42-Jamie McMurray clinched Raybestos Rookie of the Year honors at Homestead. He finished ninth in the race, his 13th top-10 of the season. McMurray unofficially took the title by 37 points (320.25-283.25) over Greg Biffle and was one of three Raybestos Rookies to finish on the lead lap: #74-Tony Raines (13th) and #14-Larry Foyt (16th) were the others.
    A Raybestos Rookie has now finished in the top-10 in all five races at Homestead. Tony Stewart, first (1999); Dave Blaney, ninth (2000); Casey Atwood, third, Kevin Harvick, seventh, and Jason Leffler, 10th (2001); and Ryan Newman sixth and Jimmie Johnson, eighth (2002).
    McMurray took Raybestos Rookie of the Race honors 21 times including 12 of the last 13 races. No other Raybestos Rookie grabbed the honor more than nine times. He also finished the season with more top-fives (five) and more top-10 finishes (12) than any other first year driver. His 13th place finish in Winston Cup points was best among all first-year drivers.
    Tony Raines, #74 Speed Racer Chevy: (Raines finishes the season with four consecutive top-20 finishes.) “This is a solid way to end the season by posting our second best finish of the season. We came on strong in the last six to eight races so that gives this team a lot of momentum heading into the off-season. We’ve been through a lot as a team since Daytona but we’ve learned a great deal and achieved the majority of the goals that we set for ourselves when we started the season. I give a lot of credit to (crew chief, Larry) Carter because his leadership was tremendous the entire year. There are plenty of times when we could have gotten down on ourselves and it would have been easy to give up because no one had any expectations for us to succeed. But that is not what this team or organization is about. We hung in there and I think we surprised a lot of people and gained the respect of a lot as well. Our car wasn’t handling that great today. The first twenty to twenty five laps, I was thinking we were in pretty good shape but it went away pretty quick and got tight especially entering the corners. Just like we have all year, we just continued hammering away at it and in the end we got some good breaks and came out with a solid top-15 finish.”
    Note: Larry Foyt started a career best 12th at Homestead and backed that up with a 16th place finish in the race, his career best in 20 Winston Cup starts. His previous best finish was a 28th place effort, which came most recently last week at Rockingham. Larry Foyt, #14 Harrah’s Dodge: “What a way to end the year. Ray Evernham and Sammy Johns really helped out this weekend and that was a huge boost. Qualifying was great and the race was so much fun. It was so much fun being able to race guys and be competitive. We finished on the lead lap for the first time this year without having to be the ‘lucky dog.’ My car was really tight at the start of the race but from about halfway to the end the car was great. It loved clean air and the top of the racetrack. But, it seems the guys we were racing against knew that and would block my line. I’m just happy to have a good finish. This team really deserves it. They’ve been behind me all year and they never gave up.”
    Casey Mears, #41 Target Dodge: “The car was not great to start with but we were working on it and thought we were getting it better. There was a piece of debris that went though the grill and into the radiator. The guys did an unbelievable job changing the radiator in three laps. I had some bad luck but rookie years can be like that and I am looking forward to 2004.”(Camp and Assoc PR)(11-16-2003)
  • 2003 Points Fund – REPOST – Where the drivers ended up in the top 25: NASCAR announced that the Winston Cup point fund will be $17 million in 2003, an increase of $3 million over 2002. The NASCAR Winston Cup champion will receive a minimum of $4.25 million from Winston and NASCAR in 2003, a $500,000 increase over last year. Drivers finishing second through fourth will each receive more than $1 million at the annual awards ceremony in New York in December. The total point fund includes money from Winston, NASCAR and the tracks that host NASCAR Winston Cup Series events. 2003 NASCAR Winston Cup Points Fund Distribution per position, driver in that current spot and how many points ahead of the driver behind him and a possible Jayski comment:
    1. $4,250,000 #17-Kenseth
    2. 1,700,000 #48-Johnson
    3. 1,275,000 #8-Earnhardt Jr.
    4. 1,075,000 #24-Gordon
    5. 925,000 #29-Harvick
    6. 780,000 #12-Newman
    7. 675,000 #20-Stewart
    8. 575,000 #18-Labonte
    9. 525,000 #9-Elliott
    10. 500,000 #5-Labonte
    all above to the stage in NYC for the banquet
    11. 450,000 #97-Busch
    12. 425,000 #99-Burton
    13. 400,000 #42-McMurray
    14. 375,000 #2-Wallace
    15. 365,000 #15-Waltrip
    16. 355,000 #31-Gordon
    17. 345,000 #6-Martin
    18. 335,000 #40-Marlin
    19. 325,000 #19-Mayfield
    20. 315,000 #16-Biffle
    21. 136,000 #0-Burton
    22. 135,000 #38-Sadler
    23. 134,000 #21-Rudd
    24. 133,000 #10-Benson
    25. 132,000 #01-Nemechek
    the following drivers just missed making the top 25 and the $$:
    26. $0 #88-Jarrett
    27. $0 #32-Craven
    Total Point Fund Distribution for Positions 1-25: $16,640,000
    NASCAR Winston Cup Leader Bonus: $360,000 [which was not won at Homestead by Matt Kenseth and it gets divided incrementally among the top 10 in points finishers]
    TOTAL: $17,000,000 (ThatsRacin.com)(1-28/11-16-2003)
  • USPS and Subway? The U.S. Postal Service is expected to become an associate sponsor next season, along with Subway, possibly in a package.(Winston Salem Journal), doesn’t say what teams, have heard USPS and Brewco [#37] in Busch then to Cup in a year or two.(11-16-2003)
  • Stock Car Fans – Rumblings – Homestead: We had a “Yogi-ism” come true today…..it’s not over till it’s over. If you left Homestead-Miami Speedway after mile 399 of today’s Ford 400, you don’t know who won. Bill Elliott came up with a flat right rear coming off turn 2 of lap 267 and Bobby Labonte (who was urged by Fatback not to give up) passed the Awesome One for the win. Bobby led just that one final lap today….but it was good enough for his second victory of the season (he won at Atlanta in March) and the 21st of his Winston Cup (can’t say that much longer) career. This moves him into a tie with Bennie Parsons and Jack Smith for 26th on the all-time win list.
    Labonte’s win bumps Kevin Harvick and the #29 from the Winners Circle program for next year. For that matter, had Elliott held on another mile or so, the #9 team would have been on that plan. Kevin Harvick (2nd) had his best finish since he was runner-up at Darlington in September. Kevin was a bridesmaid six times this season.
    #10-Johnny Benson (4th) had his best finish since he won at Rockingham in November of 2002.
    #14-Larry Foyt (16th) had his career-best finish today….by a mile! His previous best was 28th three times this season…..at Dover in June and at Phoenix and Rockingham the last two weeks.
    #90-Ron Hornaday Jr had his best finish since he was 18th at Martinsville in October of 2001 (only 8 races).
    STREAKIN….Jimmie Johnson has 7 Top-10’s in a row. Jeff Gordon has 8 Top-10’s in the last 9 races.
    Tony Stewart has 8 Top-10’s in the last 9 races. Bill Elliott has 6 Top-10’s in the last 7 races.
    #25-Brian Vickers led a lap today for the first time in his Cup career. That brings us to 48 different drivers to lead a lap this season vs 46 last year.
    The Rookie Report: Jamie McMurray (9th….and named Rookie of the Year during the race…..what happened after the drop of the green flag?) is the top-finishing Freshman for the 21st time this season. He was followed by: Tony Raines (13th), Larry Foyt (16th), Casey Mears (27th), and Greg Biffle (35th).
    This Week’s Elevator….UP: Operator of the Week is Sterling Marlin (+31), followed by Todd Bodine (+23), Jeff Burton (+22), and Kenny Wallace (+21). DOWN: The Big Dropper was Ryan Newman (-33), followed by Brian Vickers (-31), Kurt Busch (-29), Mike Skinner (-22), and John Andretti (-20). Newman wrestled the BD title here at the final event (he had 5 of ’em this season), while our Champion Matt Kenseth was the leader in Ops (5 also).
    That lap 5 accident cost Ryan Newman $295K today….that’s the difference between 4th and 6th in the final points payoff. Kurt Busch also missed out on a chance to finish in the Top-10 and get a stage appearance. Jamie McMurray (15th to 13th) was the only multi-position mover on the up side today….Ryan Newman (4th to 6th), Michael Waltrip (13th to 15th) and Greg Biffle (18th to 20th) each fell two spots.(Stock Car Fans Newsletter)(11-16-2003)
  • Biffle to run all Cup AND Busch races in 2004? New Crew Chief? #16-Greg Biffle is considering running the full NASCAR Busch series schedule in 2004 in Roush Racing’s #60 Fords – the same team with which he won the 2002 series championship. In an interview Thursday, Biffle said at first he would run “a lot of races” next season. Then later, he added running the whole season was “a definite possibility.” Biffle also said he expected Brad Parrott to be his crew chief next season [for the Busch team].(ThatsRacin.com)(11-14-2003)
    UPDATE: Jack Roush intends to enter driver Greg Biffle in both Winston Cup and Busch Series championship races next season, with full sponsorships for both programs, Roush said Friday. Like Kevin Harvick in 2001 with Richard Childress, Biffle would run full seasons in both series, Roush said. Grainger, the industrial supply company, will continue to sponsor the Cup effort, with the sponsor for the Busch car not declared. Also, Roush said, the company will continue with the two Craftsman Truck teams for Jon Wood and Carl Edwards and will have a second Busch car, which would be run by up to four different drivers [The Pennzoil sponsorship]. The total effort for Roush Racing would be the five Cup teams, two in Busch and two in Trucks. Biffle, 2000 champion in Trucks, won the Busch championship in 2002 and was graduated to Cup this year, running second to Jamie McMurray in rookie points and winning the summer race at Daytona. Since mid-year, he has run part-time in Busch with Ed Evans’s #7 team. The second Busch team is interesting. Roush said he already has backing to run three of his Cup drivers part-time, those being Mark Martin, Jeff Burton and Matt Kenseth, in about 20 races. Sponsorship may also be available to run one of the Truck jockeys in the remaining races, bringing the team up to full-year status. Roush also says the means may be available to do a third Truck team with a driver to be named [Terry Cook?].(Speed Channel)(11-16-2003)
  • Some Interesting Stats:
    —– The average age of a race winner so far this year is 31.75 years, the youngest since a 31.22 average in 1967. It’s tied with 1964 for the sixth lowest all-time average age for a winner in a season. Just two years ago, in 2001, the winner’s average age was 35.51 years, but it dipped to 33.56 years last year and the trend continues this year. The all-time lowest average age was 28.59 years in 1950. The all-time highest was 38.9 years in 1983.
    —– Rusty Wallace is 14th in the standings going into Sunday’s final race, meaning he’ll finish outside the top 10 in points this year for the first time since 1992.
    —– Unless Kenseth wins Sunday’s race, the Winston Leader Bonus will go uncollected this season for the first time in its eight-year history. The bonus is $10,000 per race and is paid to a driver who is leading the points and wins a race. Trouble is, nobody has done that since Sterling Marlin at Darlington last spring. A win for Kenseth would be worth an extra $360,000 today. If he doesn’t collect, the money will be divided among the top 10 finishers in the final points standings.
    —– The average starting position of a race winner so far this year is 9.17, which reverses a trend of the previous four seasons when that number was 11.21, 12.65, 12.39 and 14.08. The average winner’s starting spot in 1998 was 4.76. Still, there have been 10 races this year where at least one driver starting on a provisional, 37th or worse, finished in the top 10.
    —– The fastest car in the final Winston Cup practice session held has won five times this year. The fastest car in qualifying practice won the pole 12 times.(David Poole of the Charlotte Observer/ThatsRacin.com)(11-16-2003)
  • More Schrader to the #30: The possibility of Kenny Schrader in Richard Childress’ AOL car is increasing, and unless something unusual breaks loose in the Busch garage, it looks as if Schrader will be Childress’ pick, depending on how quickly Schrader’s current car owners, Beth and Tony Morgenthau, can land a sponsor.(Winston Salem Journal)(11-16-2003)
  • Tracy and Childress Revisited: CART champion Paul Tracy said he would love to drive on the Winston Cup circuit, but he doesn’t think his chance will come next year. Richard Childress hopes it does, but said he would “cross that bridge when we come to it.” As far as Tracy knows, he said, CART’s proposed buyout by Open Wheel Racing will be completed in time to save the series, and he plans to honor his contract with Forsythe Racing through its final year in 2004 if it does. Team owner Gerald Forsythe is one of the main investors in Open Wheel Racing. “I feel like there will be a series next year from what I’m hearing from my boss,” said Tracy, attending his first NASCAR races this weekend on a Ford champions tour. “There’s a schedule out and it looks good.” Tracy’s presence in the garage area piqued curiousity that he and other Champ Car drivers might be looking for employment since CART announced it would run out of money and cease operations if the deal was not completed in mid December. As one of the most successful and recognized drivers in the world, Tracy would not have to make contingency plans as much as peruse offers. He doesn’t think converting to stock cars would be difficult. Childress said he would like to sign Tracy for his team. “There’s a good chance of it,” Childress said. “We spoke (Saturday). I’d like to see how he does in one. The first thing we have to do is set up a chance.” Childress said no plans have been made for a test in one of his Chevrolets. Tracy would seemingly be the perfect Winston Cup fit for an owner who enjoys feisty competitors such as current drivers Kevin Harvick and Robby Gordon. “I think he’s the perfect combination,” Childress said. “He’s a great driver and a great personality.”(St Petersburg Times)(11-16-2003)
  • #60 Confiscated; Team and Busch Withdraw UPDATE comments Busch to run Daytona and Las Vegas: For the second time this Winston Cup season [the other being the #20 Home Depot Chevy at Texas], NASCAR officials have confiscated a racecar for failure to meet the sanctioning body’s template rules. In pre-event inspection Thursday at Homestead-Miami Speedway for Sunday’s Ford 400, NASCAR took away Kyle Busch’s #60 ditech.com Chevrolet fielded by Hendrick Motorsports when “the car’s body dimensions did not meet NASCAR specifications,” according to Winston Cup director John Darby. Thus, Kyle, 18, the brother of series regular Kurt Busch, will have to wait to make his Winston Cup debut until next season, as Hendrick Motorsports withdrew his entry after the confiscation. A statement from NASCAR said the discrepancy to the car was sizeable enough that “it could not be repaired at the racetrack in a timely and effective manner, necessitating that it be confiscated.” A Hendrick Motorsports spokesperson said the improper dimension was the same “x-measurement” that Tony Stewart’s Chevrolet failed earlier this season at Texas Motor Speedway, when his car was also confiscated.(NASCAR.com)(11-13-2003)
    UPDATE: Hendrick Motorsports claimed responsibility for its #60 Chevrolet failing to meet NASCAR body specifications, which prompted NASCAR officials to confiscate the car during pre-qualifying inspection on Thursday. “There is a system of checks and balances in place to assure that our cars will meet NASCAR’s specifications,” said Ken Howes, the organization’s competition director. “In this car, we made a late decision to enter the race at Homestead and simply made a mistake as we hurried to prepare. This was certainly not an attempt to circumvent the rules, and I believe everyone understands that.” Kyle Busch, 18, was expected to make his Winston Cup debut with the team in Sunday’s Ford 400 at Homestead-Miami Speedway. Since the team did not have a backup car, Hendrick withdrew the entry and Busch returned home to Charlotte.(ThatsRacin.com)(11-15-2003)
    UPDATE 2: NASCAR’s decision to confiscate one of Rick Hendrick’s Chevrolets here for failing the same body rules that tripped up Tony Stewart at Texas has provoked questions in the Winston Cup garage, because that car was apparently run twice by Jeff Gordon this season with no complaints from NASCAR. The car confiscated was to be driven by rookie Kyle Busch. Gary DeHart, Busch’s crew chief, said: “After Texas everyone who had cars that were off-set like that a little bit went back and fixed them, and we did too. This particular car we just borrowed last Monday to get Kyle a few laps here. It fit the templates good, but the diagonal measurement didn’t work out. That’s the same problem Tony had at Texas. It wasn’t that far off, but it was off far enough that we understand why NASCAR did what they did. We just decided to run Kyle at Daytona and Las Vegas next year instead. Jeff wrecked the car at Pocono and when it was repaired somebody apparently wasn’t on their game when they did their measurements.”(Winston Salem Journal)(11-16-2003)
  • ASA in for ARCA? The American Speed Association’s [ASA] move to Bruton Smith’s tracks has provoked comment in the Winston Cup garage. The ASA will apparently be replacing ARCA as standard Saturday shows on the Winston Cup tour on weekends when the Busch Series is playing elsewhere. The ASA has announced 2004 races at Charlotte and Atlanta, and Texas may also be added. It is unclear if backstretch chicanes will be added to those tracks to slow speeds.(Winston Salem Journal)(11-16-2003)
  • NASCAR Press Conference UPDATE Gillette Young Guns: NASCAR will be announcing a sponsorship deal involving six of NASCAR’s top ten drivers this Friday, Nov. 14 at 12:45pm/et from Victory Lane at Homestead-Miami Speedway. On hand will be 2003 champ Matt Kenseth, Jimmie Johnson, Dale Earnhardt Jr., Ryan Newman, Kevin Harvick, Kurt Busch and NASCAR Chairman and CEO Brian France.(11-12-2003)
    UPDATE: hear it is something with Gillette.(11-13-2003)
    UPDATE 2: Gillette Co. is expected to unveil a $10 million-plus sponsorship deal today with NASCAR and six of its most prominent young and aggressive drivers. The Hub razor maker is gunning for a huge and growing group of auto racing fans with a sweeping deal to be unveiled in Miami. As an official NASCAR partner, Gillette and its Duracell and Oral-B brands will gain exclusivity in the shaving, battery and oral care categories, industry sources say. Gillette also will sponsor six young drivers including #8-Dale Earnhardt Jr., #29-Kevin Harvick and this year’s Winston Cup Champion, #17-Matt Kenseth. The six – to be dubbed Gillette Young Guns – will anchor promotional programs designed to drive sales. Gillette is expected to spend more than $10 million on the effort overall. The deal is comparable only to Coca-Cola Co. (KO: chart, news)’s sponsorship of 13 drivers under its Coca-Cola Family of Racers campaign.(Boston Herald)(11-14-2003)
    UPDATE 3: Kurt Busch, Dale Earnhardt Jr., Kevin Harvick, Jimmie Johnson, Matt Kenseth and Ryan Newman have been called “young guns” for some time. Next year, they’ll get paid for it. In a deal worth a reported $20 million a year, Gillette has signed a multiyear agreement for those Cup drivers to endorse Gillette razors, Duracell batteries and Oral-B toothbrushes. The deal also includes “official” sponsor status for Gillette. The agreement also includes a weekly contest for fans, who can register online at www.gilletteyoungguns.com, to predict the highest finisher among those six in each 2004 race. All correct entrants will be entered in a drawing for a $5,000 prize. If those six drivers finish in the top six in the Coca-Cola 600 at Charlotte in May or the Ford 400 at Homestead, and a consumer correctly picks the order of their finish, the prize would be $5 million. Gillette will also donate at least $1,000 per week to the National Prostate Cancer Coalition as part of the program. None of the money in the deal goes any of the race teams involved. The agreements are with NASCAR and the individual drivers.(ThatsRacin.com)(11-16-2003)


    (11-15-2003)

  • Make it three: With Hendrick Motorsports and Brian Vickers winning the Busch Series drivers championship, HMS becomes the third team to win a drivers championship in each of the three Nationals Series [Cup, Busch, Truck] along with Richard Childress Racing and Roush Racing.(11-15-2003)
  • Bootie on TV: The Arete Awards, a national recognition program for people showing extraordinary courage in sports, includes a racing flavor this year. Bootie Barker, a former NASCAR Winston Cup Series crew chief, is one of several nominees for the 2003 Arete Awards. The ceremony, which airs Sunday evening, Nov. 30, on CBS, is sponsored in part by Nextel, which opens 2004 as the new title sponsor of NASCAR’s premier series. Barker currently is on leave of absence from Jasper Motorsports, which fields Dave Blaney’s No. 77 team. He will join Haas Automation as the NASCAR Busch Series crew chief for driver Jason Leffler.(NASCAR PR)(11-15-2003)
  • #79 gets new shop, may merge with another team? Cope? Though Friday’s attempt with Derrike Cope at the wheel of the #79 Dodge originally was trumpeted as a “one-race deal,” Arnold Motorsports owners, Don Arnold quickly put the Homestead-Miami numbness behind him and went to work on the 2004 Nextel Cup campaign. “I bought my new building (in Mooresville, N.C.) yesterday. So where am I going to go?” he reflected. “We’re here for the duration and Derrike and I are working on some things. We hope to do a lot of stuff together next year. We’re going to do some testing and see what goes on from there. We’re going to do part of a Busch schedule next year, too, with another driver. That came about in the last half hour since qualifying ended today. So there are a lot of things happening.”(Naples Daily News)(11-15-2003)
  • Special Logo on the #18: Congressman C.A. Dutch Ruppersberger (D-Maryland) is proud to announce that NASCAR and MBNA America Bank are teaming up to support our troops and have joined “Operation Hero Miles”. Two race cars sponsored by MBNA will proudly display the “Operation Hero Miles” logo and website, www.heromiles.org, this weekend at the NASCAR races at the Homestead-Miami Speedway. The #18 Interstate Batteries/MBNA Chevrolet driven by Bobby Labonte will display the logo at Sunday’s Ford 400 Winston Cup race and the #18 MBNA Chevrolet driven by Coy Gibbs will display the logo at Saturday’s Ford 300 Busch race.(PR)(11-15-2003)
  • Robby Gordon Headed to Baja Following Homestead Race: #31-Robby Gordon, a two-time Baja 1000 champion, is scheduled to fly to Baja Sunday night to pre-run the race course Nov. 17-Nov. 19 following the Cup race Sunday at Homestead. He will navigate the course in a pre-runner vehicle instead of his race truck to minimize the miles put on the #31 Red Bull Trophy Truck entered in the Baja 1000. The desert race, which spans only 765 miles this year instead of 1,000, will kick off in Ensenada, Baja California, on Friday, Nov. 21 at 8:30am local time. The course is a loop this year, commencing and finishing in Ensenada. In the past, the 34-year-old would pre-run the course once to compile notes about the lay of the land and then return a second time to run with his notes. However, this year’s NASCAR Winston Cup schedule and sponsor obligations have allowed Gordon only one trip around the course before race day. His father, Bob Gordon, also a Baja 1000 champion, is scheduled to build the pace notes with Greg Till, Robby Gordon’s co-pilot for the event, prior to the driver’s arrival in Baja. Richard Childress Racing (RCR) is supplying the engine for Gordon’s #31 Trophy Truck (Chevrolet CK500) for the first time this year. Gordon will compete in a Trophy Truck he built in his off-road shop in Anaheim, Calif. Five of the 22 Trophy Trucks entered in the Baja 1000 were built in Gordon’s shop, mostly for his customers. He drew the 20th-starting spot out of the 22 Trophy Trucks entered in the competition. Gordon is a legend in Baja after several SCORE championships and successful runs in the Baja 1000. He won the Baja 1000 in a solo drive in 1989 and in 1987 as a co-driver with his father. Gordon says he puts all that work into preparing for the Baja because he loves the competition and putting on a show for the locals. Running 765 miles through the desert is definitely different than the 400 miles Gordon will log turning left Sunday at Homestead-Miami Speedway. Gordon’s pit crew for the Baja 1000 also functions in stark contrast to his Cingular Wireless over-the-wall crew. Gordon finished third in the Baja 1000 last year after making a lengthy pit stop to repair a wheel bearing seal. In addition to his two wins in the race, Gordon scored a fifth-place finish in the 1999 Baja 1000 and nearly won the grueling race in a late charge in 1997 before finishing in the runner-up spot. Additionally, he won four of the seven events in the 1996 SCORE Trophy Truck Series en route to the series championship, including a third-place finish in the Baja 1000. Gordon also won five consecutive SCORE/HDRA Heavy Metal Off-Road championships between 1986 and 1990. For further information on the 36th Tecate SCORE Baja 1000 or to follow Gordon’s progress, go to www.score-international.com.(RCR PR)(11-15-2003)
  • Top 10 Logo on #48 Decklid: Jimmie Johnson will display the NASCAR Top 10 logo on the rear deck lid of his #48 Lowe’s Chevrolet in Sunday’s Ford 400 season finale to celebrate his presence on a pretigious list of drivers who have been consistently ranked in the top 10 in points. Johnson enters this weekend having been ranked among the top 10 in points for 68 consecutive weeks, dating to last year’s race at Atlanta. The streak is the longest among active drivers and ranks ninth all-time in the modern era (since 1972) [see the top 11 in the list on my Stats and Stats Links page]. Next up for Johnson to chase is Darrell Waltrip, who holds the #8 position at 86 weeks. The all-time record is held by the late Dale Earnhardt with 174 consecutive weeks among the top 10 in points. Earnhardt’s record-setting 174 weeks occurred over the course of seven seasons, beginning Feb. 23, 1986, at Richmond, Va. The streak concluded March 1 in the second race of the 1992 season at Rockingham, N.C., where he finished 24th.(ThatsRacin.com)(11-15-2003)

    the logo that will adorn the #48 decklid at Homestead

  • speaking of the TOP 10, check out A weekly look at NASCAR Winston Cup’s Top 10 drivers with notes on the current top 10 in the NASCAR Winston Cup Top 10 Drivers Points and some stats.(11-15-2003)
  • To the back: no wrecks, no engine changes…..that I have heard about, so at this point, no one to the rear of the field before the drop of the green flag Sunday for the Ford 400 at Homestead-Miami Speedway.(11-15-2003)
  • Some Schemes: looks like we have a few special paint schemes at Homestead-Miami Speedway this week noticed during qualifying and practice. #7-Jimmy Spencer has Pamela Anderson’s likeness on the Sirius Sateliite Dodge to promote a talk show she does; #18-Bobby Labonte has Operation Hero Miles on the hood of the #18 Interstate Batteries Chevy; #29-Kevin Harvick is running the same redish scheme he ran at Daytona in Feb; #74-Tony Raines of course has Jayski Fave, Speed Racer on the car; #14-Larry Foyt, who starts a career best 12th, has a yellow hood instead of the normal purple; #20-Tony Stewart is running the Victory Lap scheme, silver and orange to honor RJR/Winston and former champs.(11-15-2003)
  • Rockingham TV Ratings: With Matt Kenseth’s countdown to the NASCAR Winston Cup Series title as a pivotal draw, the Pop Secret Microwave Popcorn 400, the NASCAR Winston Cup race held last Sunday at North Carolina Speedway and televised by TNT, enjoyed a significant viewership jump from 2002. A total of 3,707,000 households tuned in, a 15% increase over last season’s 3,229,000 households. An average of 5,422,000 viewers tuned in to the Pop Secret Microwave Popcorn 400, a 13% increase over 4,805,000 viewers in 2002. For the Target House 200, the NASCAR Busch Series event held last Saturday at Rockingham and televised by TNT, a total of 769,000 households and 1,004,000 viewers tuned in.(NASCAR PR)(11-15-2003)
  • Paul Tracy at Homestead: 2003 Bridgestone Presents The Champ Car World Series Powered by Ford champion Paul Tracy will be a guest of Ford Motor Company throughout Ford Championship Weekend at Homestead-Miami Speedway, site of the 2003 NASCAR season finale this weekend. Tracy will participate in question and answer sessions, sign autographs, and race against fans in the Ford Racing Simulator at the Ford product display area behind the track’s main grandstand at various times throughout the weekend. On Saturday, the Canadian will watch the Ford 300 NASCAR Busch Series event from the ppc Racing pit area as the team’s drivers, Jason Keller and Scott Riggs, vie for the 2003 Busch Series title in the season finale. Sunday’s Ford 400 race day festivities call for Tracy to meet and greet executives from the Champ Car World Series sponsor and watch the start of the race from the Ford Skybox before moving onto the Ford corporate suite for the remainder of the race. The 2003 CART Champ Car champion will also be introduced to several Ford-powered NASCAR drivers, crew chiefs, and owners, as well as participate in media activities throughout the weekend.(Ford Racing)(11-15-2003)
  • Stacker 2 to sponsor Dirt Series: Officials from NVE Pharmaceuticals and the Xtreme Dirt Car Series today announced a major marketing partnership agreement between Stacker 2® the “World’s Strongest Fat Burner!TM” and America’s premier dirt Late Model racing organization. The marketing partnership, which will last 10 years, will now see the series renamed the Stacker 2 Xtreme Dirt Car Series and the annual championship trophy will be “The YJ Stinger Cup,” named in recognition of YJ Stinger, the extreme energy drink, made by the manufacturers of Stacker 2®. The original Stacker 2 formula is designed for those who are in need of a powerful, thermogenic dietary supplement and extreme energizer. This powerful formula may help create a thermogenic response, crush nagging cravings and deliver an extreme boost of energy. Stacker 2 contains the original powerful thermogenic ingredients that have helped men and women nationwide. Stacker 2 and YJ Stinger, owned by NVE Pharmaceuticals of Andover, N.J., have marketing agreements in place with NASCAR drivers Kenny Wallace and Scott Wimmer. They are also the title sponsor of NASCAR’s Busch Series race “The Stacker 200” in Dover, Del., at Dover International Speedway. Stacker 2 and YJ Stinger can also been seen prominently in all broadcasts of the WWE (World Wrestling Entertainment) as they are its #1 sponsor. “Stacker 2 is extremely excited about the new sponsorship entitlement of the Xtreme Dirt Car Series, and the opportunity to touch the hundreds of thousands of loyal fans who follow this sport,” said Bob Occhifinto, President/CEO of NVE. “The Xtreme Dirt Car series has exciting racing action and we feel that it is a perfect fit for our company.” It was also announced that Stacker 2 is now a major associate sponsor of the Northern Xtreme Dirt Car Series and many other future Xtreme properties to be named in the near future. In other developments, Stacker 2 Xtreme Dirt Car Series driver Jimmy Mars, of Elk Mound, Wis., will be the driver of the new Stacker 2 “House Car” on the 2004 Stacker 2 Xtreme Dirt Car Series tour across America. Stacker 2 will also have a strong presence in the SPEED Channel broadcasts of Xtreme Dirt Racing as Kenny Wallace will be doing a substantial amount of color commentary for the televised racing events. In addition, Wallace will be working on a promotional basis with the Stacker 2 Xtreme Dirt Car Series. The new Stacker 2 Xtreme Dirt Car Series show car will be unveiled Saturday at Homestead-Miami Speedway in Florida at the Stacker 2 “Splash of Energy Tour”display.(Keystone Marketing PR)(11-15-2003)

    (11-14-2003)

  • #99 Sponsor? hearing a pharmaceutical company, Astra Zeneca, will be the sponsor of the #99 Roush Racing team and driver Jeff Burton, no idea about the conflict with Pfizer.(11-14-2003)
  • MRN, Sirius Satellite Radio Team Up To Deliver Unique Motorsports Radio Talk Show – DEBUT TODAY: In what could be billed as “a morning show attitude in afternoon drive time,” Motor Racing Network (MRN) and Sirius Satellite Radio have teamed up to deliver motorsports fans an edgy, one-of-a-kind motorsports radio talk show. “Sirius Speedway,” hosted by longtime MRN on-air talent Dave Moody will debut Monday, Nov. 17 from 3:00-6:00pm/et. The national live show, produced by MRN, will air weekdays year around on Sirius Sports Action 123. The live, call-in program will include interviews, fan call-ins, and up-to-date news and information from all major motorsports sanctioning bodies including NASCAR, IRL, F-1, The World of Outlaws, CART, and the NHRA. “The show will be unpredictable and will push the envelope,” said Moody. “We’ll have fun and we’re sure the listeners will gain some added insight into motorsports through this unique program.”
    “We’re happy to produce a “first of its kind” program for Sirius,” said MRN President David Hyatt. “The show will provide listeners with a new perspective on their favorite form of racing.” The program will originate from DAYTONA USA at Daytona International Speedway and is the first program that MRN has produced for Sirius. “The programming staff at SIRIUS looks forward to working with the professionals at MRN,” remarked Jay Clark, Exec. VP Programming, SIRIUS. “This show will be like no other motorsports show. It will be funny. It will be serious. It will be informative. And it will have attitude. We’re energized over the buzz this show will create.”(MRN PR)(11-14-2003)
  • Speed Racer on the #74? UPDATE: hearing Speed Channel will sponsor the #74 BACE Motorsports Chevy with Speed Racer [see another Speed Racer story below in the TV Section] at Homestead as the cartoon [and Jayski all-time fave] Speed Racer will debut on Speed Channel 6:00pm/et on Tuesday, November 18th. Hope they paint it up like the Mach 5.(11-13-2003)
    UPDATE: Tony Raines will have a teammate for the season’s final race as the legendary animated race car driver Speed Racer will grace the hood of the #74 Chevrolet for the Ford 400 this weekend at Homestead-Miami Speedway. BACE Motorsports has joined forces with SPEED Channel to help build anticipation for the debut of Speed Racer on SPEED. “This is a pretty cool way to end our season,” said Raines. “It’s great to see that Speed Racer has found a new home on SPEED Channel, a network that does so much to promote all levels of our sport. Hopefully we will have a repeat of last week at Rockingham and be able to bring home a top-10 finish with Speed on the car. If my car runs anything like the Mach 5 this weekend, I think we should be in pretty good shape.”
    After his completing his duties in Homestead on Sunday, Speed Racer will join Wind Tunnel host Dave Despain for an exclusive interview Monday, November 17th at 9:00pm/et on SPEED Channel where he will discuss his storied career behind the wheel of the Mach 5 as well as giving viewers updates on the Speed Racer gang.
    “The launch of Speed Racer on SPEED Channel has been a lot of fun for us,” said SPEED Channel President Jim Liberatore. “The opportunity to put Speed and the Mach 5 back on the race track for the last race of the season with a driver like Tony Raines is a great way to tell race fans about the program’s Tuesday debut.”
    “It’s great that the cartoons that we grew up watching as kids are now the same ones that our children are watching,” said Larry Carter, crew chief for BACE Motorsports. “I’m glad to see that SPEED Channel will be able to introduce a new generation of viewers to Speed Racer and that they chose our team to be a part of that. Not only do I think that it is cool to have Speed Racer on the car but I’m sure it will score some points with my eight year-old son too.”
    Viewers will have the opportunity to watch Speed Racer on SPEED seven days a week starting with the first episode, entitled “The Great Plan,” which will debut Tuesday, November 18 at 6 p.m. EST. Speed Racer will run Monday thru Friday at 6 p.m., Saturday and Sunday mornings beginning at 7 a.m., and late night Friday with replays from midnight to 2 a.m.(BACE Motorsports PR)(11-14-2003)
  • Victory Lap at Homestead: been sent the image above my many readers and diecast dealers, been told Kenseth will NOT run the scheme at Homestead, However……owner Jack Roush will take the car for a lap around the track before the race. The scheduled Victory Lap cars to run at Richard Petty and Tony Stewart, see images of those cars and the rest on my Victory Lap page.
    the PR – Seven-time NASCAR Winston Cup champion Richard Petty, along with the reigning Winston Cup champion Tony Stewart, will honor Winston’s final race as title sponsor of NASCAR’s top series with a victory lap tribute prior to Sunday’s Ford 400. Petty, also the first champion under the 33 years of Winston’s sponsorship will ride alongside Stewart as part of a special “Victory Lap” tribute to honor NASCAR Winston Cup Series champions during R.J. Reynolds’ 33-year tenure in the sport. The 2003 NASCAR season is the final for Winston’s title sponsorship of NASCAR’s top division, which they have held since 1971. Stewart will represent “active” NASCAR Winston Cup champions in the “Victory Lap” tribute. He will drive a specially painted #20 Home Depot Chevrolet alongside the famous #43 Dodge [not Chevrolet] driven by the “King” Richard Petty during pre-race ceremonies.(HMS PR)(11-10-2003)
    Victory Lap Uniform Auctions: The Victory Lap celebration makes the final stop of the NASCAR Winston Cup Series racing era at Homestead-Miami Speedway this weekend. In a fitting final tribute, the first Winston Cup Series Champion along with the reigning Winston Cup Series champion will offer their Victory Lap Tribute uniforms for auction. NASCAR.com and eBay will feature these two uniforms, autographed by Richard Petty and Tony Stewart respectively [and some other Victory Lap uniforms too]. See more and a link on my Racing Charities page. All proceeds from the auction will be donated to the Victory Junction Gang Camp and the T. Wayne Robertson Foundation.(11-14-2003)
  • Third Penske Team in 2004? UPDATE Gaughan and Penske? The Kodak fact finding mission stopped at Roush Racing, BAM Racing, Bill Davis Racing, Dale Earnhardt, Inc., and reportedly to Penske Racing South – where there is interest in starting a third team.(Ford Racing)(11-10-2003)
    UPDATE: hearing Brendan Gaughan is “supposed” to go to a third Penske team next year, with Kodak sponsorship. Somehow, the whole (Kodak) deal is contingent on his winning the Truck Series championship.(11-14-2003)
  • Robby Gordon to run 2004 Busch Series: Fruit of the Loom announced that it has teamed up with three-time NASCAR Winston Cup Series race winner Robby Gordon to compete in the NASCAR Busch Series in 2004. Beginning with the season-opening Hershey’s Kisses 300 at Daytona International Speedway on February 14, Gordon will drive the Fruit of the Loom-sponsored #55 Chevy in 24 NASCAR Busch Series races. Robby Gordon Motorsports will own the entry and will operate from its new facility in Huntersville, NC.(Robby Gordon site)(11-14-2003)
  • No Elliott Decision until after Homestead…sometime: #9 and #91 car owner Ray Evernham said that Bill Elliott won’t make a decision about next season until after Sunday’s Ford 400. “Bill and I have talked about a lot of things, and we’ve got a lot of options,” Evernham said. “We’ve agreed one of the things that’s really important, and a major goal for this team, was to put Bill Elliott up on the stage in New York before he retired. That’s all we’re focusing on this week. I guess he and I are going to sit down after Homestead and talk about what our final plans are going to be.”(Winston Salem Journal)(11-14-2003)
  • Sad News: Mrs. Ann Ross Turner, 76, of Vinton, VA passed away Wednesday, November 12, 2003. She was a native of Ferrum, VA and a daughter of the late Posey J. Ross and Eleanor Ross Chapman, formerly of Vinton, and the former wife of racing legend, Curtis Turner. A descendant of Betsy Ross, she was an accomplished piano teacher and remained active in real estate. Funeral services will be conducted from Second Presbyterian Church at 12 noon Saturday, November 15, 2003, with the Rev. Dr. George C. Anderson officiating. Burial will be in Blue Ridge Memorial Gardens. The family will receive friends from 7 to 9 p.m. Friday at Oakey’s Vinton Chapel.(Roanoke Times)(11-14-2003)

    (11-13-2003)

  • Roush and Yates? hearing Robert Yates Racing and Roush Racing are teaming up to build engines together at Yates engine shop?
    hearing it’s a two way technology transfer as chassis info is headed back to Yates’ group from Roush. It’s along the lines of GM’s “Key Partners” group. The idea is to have the gear as optimized as it can be, then race amongst themselves for the win —- which is what GM’s been doing with great success this year.(11-13-2003)
  • Oldest Living NASCAR driver to participate in pre-race: Buddy Helms, the oldest living driver to run in a sanctioned NASCAR event, will participate in pre-race ceremonies driving his 1946 Hudson Super Six. Helms, 87, and a resident of Davie, Florida, drove his Super Six in the first NASCAR Grand National race in Charlotte, NC, in June of 1949. Later that year, he competed in races in Atlanta, Hillsboro, Martinsville, and North Wilkesboro. He was the head mechanic for Buddy Shuman in the early 1950’s where Shuman captured victories in Detroit and Niagara Falls. Helms won the Darlington Southern 500 as a chief mechanic for Buck Baker in 1956 and Speedy Thompson in 1957. He is the oldest living driver that raced on Daytona Beach.(HMS PR)(11-13-2003)
  • Schrader or Raines to the #30? UPDATE 3 However: With Jeff Burton all but assured to remain at Roush Racing next season with a new sponsor [Fed-Ex? Kodak? Nat Guard?] for his #99 Fords, veteran Ken Schrader and Winston Cup rookie Tony Raines have emerged as the front-runners for Richard Childress Racing’s #30 AOL Chevrolets, NASCAR sources confirmed Saturday. Burton is under contract with Roush, but his team had difficulty in securing a primary sponsor for next season. Roush apparently has a sponsor for the team, although the identity remained unclear. Burton’s unavailability has forced team owner Richard Childress to consider other alternatives.(ThatsRacin.com)(11-8-2003)
    UPDATE: also hearing John Andretti is a stong candidate for the ride.(11-10-2003)
    UPDATE 2: the Barre-Montpelier Times Argus reports that Kenny Schrader will be the new driver of Richard Childress’ No. 30 AOL Chevrolet in 2004. Steve Park will not return next season, and Childress has delayed an announcement for nearly a month. Early speculation centered around Ward Burton and Jeremy Mayfield, but AOL reportedly vetoed Burton, and Mayfield recently re-signed with Evernham Motorsports. Schrader will leave the BAM Racing team to take his new position with Childress. BAM has struggled to find major sponsorship this season, and has nothing in place for 2004. Team owner Beth Ann Morgenthau has said the team may not race a full schedule next season if a new backer cannot be found, prompting Schrader to look for a new position with more job security. Expect an announcement as soon as this weekend at Homestead-Miami Speedway.(Barre-Montpelier Times Argus)(11-13-2003)
    UPDATE 3: however, being told that Schrader was with Beth Ann and Tony Morgenthau last night and said his plans are to be part of BAM Racing. The team has already built three cars for 2004, and is working on a fourth. Several associate sponsors are already signed for 2004. No announcement with RCR is listed for anything the track has on its schedule.(11-13-2003)
  • Both Hmiel’s to Petty Enterprises? or Green? or Benson? UPDATE: A combination deal might land Steve Hmiel, technical director for Dale Earnhardt Inc., and his son Shane Hmiel, a Busch Series driver, at Petty Enterprises in 2004. Steve worked for the Pettys early in his Winston Cup career. Shane was supposed to drive the #43 Dodge in the Pepsi 400 in July at Daytona but failed to qualify. Jeff Green has run well recently in the #43 and also is a candidate to drive it. Johnny Benson, who will be released from the #10, might be in the mix because of his previous relationship with General Mills, the primary sponsor for the 43 car. “We’re still looking, we’re still evaluating, and we’re still working in that direction whether it’s Benson, Jeff Gordon, the guy sitting in the third row of the grandstands or Jeff Green,” says Kyle Petty, the team’s general manager. Petty says Christian Fittipaldi will drive the team’s #44 if a sponsor is secured for next season.(Yahoo Sports/Sporting News)(10-20-2003)
    UPDATE: Kyle Petty wants to put Shane Hmiel in a Petty Enterprises car as soon as possible. When that would be, he doesn’t know. Hmiel’s father, Steve, said he is optimistic Shane will have the suspension lifted by the time NASCAR testing begins at Daytona in January so Shane can sign with a team for next season.(Winston Cup Scene – need sub to read via BGNRacing.com)(11-13-2003)
  • Brett Bodine Not Racing at Homestead: Brett Bodine’s Winston Cup sponsor status is also still an unknown. Team spokespersons have been tight lipped about when and if the deal with the sponsor they signed a contract with in August will be consummated. Bodine said two weeks ago that a payment from his team’s unnamed sponsor was due Nov. 1. He also said, at the time, that his team may be able to compete in the final Winston Cup race this weekend. Calls to both Bodine and team spokeswoman Carolyn Carrier were not returned Wednesday. The team’s receptionist said Wednesday that they will not be racing at Homestead-Miami Speedway but that Bodine would be there at the track.(Elmira Star-Gazette)(11-13-2003)
  • Marlin Cleared: A federal civil jury took 10 minutes yesterday to determine that NASCAR driver Sterling Marlin had not assaulted anyone when he threw a man into the Jamaican surf during a promotional beach week for race fans. Joel Whitcomb, of Pittsfield, Mass., sued Marlin in U.S. District Court, claiming that when Marlin shoved him into the shallow water, it caused a sore shoulder and a knee injury that required surgery and months of painful rehabilitation.(Tennessean); see my #40 Team News and Links page for the past story.(11-13-2003)
  • Jesse Jackson and NASCAR…still? Jesse Jackson’s Rainbow/PUSH organization claims that, contrary to published media reports, NASCAR is still working with and supporting his initiatives in motor sports. “Reports of demise in the relationship between NASCAR and Rainbow/PUSH have been greatly exaggerated,” said Charles Farrell, director of Rainbow Sports division of Jackson’s Rainbow/PUSH Coalition, in an interview with CNSNews.com. Farrell was referring to a July report in USA Today, which quoted unnamed NASCAR officials as saying they were cutting off funding to Jackson’s organization. NASCAR has reportedly given at least $250,000 to Jackson’s organizations in recent years.(more at CNSNes.com)(11-13-2003)
  • Chex on the #43 at Homestead: #43-Jeff Green will have a special paint scheme on the #43 Dodge, a specially-painted Chex look, predominantly Petty Blue scheme and trademark ‘43’.(Williams Company/Petty Racing)(11-13-2003)
  • Last Six Races? #74-Tony Raines and #19-Jeremy Mayfield are in the top 15 in points over the past six races, #19-Mayfield is 11th [20th overall] in the past six races and #74-Raines is 15th [33rd overall], see NASCAR.com – Best 25 Over Last Six Races.(11-13-2003)
  • Goodyear Tire Notes: have been posted on my Ford 400 Race Info Page; Part of the Notes: This is the first-ever time this combination of left- and right-side tires will be used . . . all three series — Winston Cup, Busch and Craftsman Truck — will compete on the same tires this week . . . in addition to the nearly 5,000 official race-weekend tires (see above), Goodyear brought more than 3,000 tires for teams to test on at Homestead this Monday-Wednesday . . . as on all ovals longer than one mile, teams are required to run inner liners in all four tire positions at Homestead . . . inner liner inflation should be 12-25 psi higher than that of the outer tire.(Goodyear PR)(11-13-2003)
  • Drivers looking for reference points/lanes at Homestead: No matter how much drivers like the new banking at Homestead-Miami Speedway — and seldom has been heard a discouraging word in the first two days of Ford Championship race week — it’s inevitable that someone would find something to suggest as an improvement. Which brings up the subject of lane lines — specifically, the track’s lack of them. The track’s new asphalt, put down when the surface was rebuilt to increase banking in the corners from 6 degrees to a combination of 18, 19 and 20 degrees, is very dark. That makes it hard to see the rubber being laid down by cars and trucks in the first two days of testing. The rubber gives the drivers a visual aid for finding the groove, the best way around the oval, Busch Series drivers said Tuesday. “The track is really black, and you’re used to a gray asphalt out here,” Ron Hornaday said. “It’s very hard to see and position yourself where you’re at on the racetrack,” David Green said. Hornaday and Green said they believe Homestead officials will paint lane lines on at least part of the track before the weekend’s races. Track President Curtis Gray, however, indicated drivers shouldn’t count on having lines for Friday’s Craftsman Trucks race, Saturday’s Busch Series race or Sunday’s Winston Cup race. “I don’t know if we’re going to be able to do anything that drastic this weekend, but we’ll look at it,” Gray said. Lane lines — similar to those on highways — used to be common on racetracks, a few of which still use them, mostly in corners. Tracks that have or used to have lines include Talladega, Martinsville, Charlotte, Rockingham, Richmond, Pocono and Texas. While several drivers said lane lines would be beneficial, none indicated that they are an urgent necessity. “Once you pick out some references on the outside of the racetrack I don’t think it’s that big of a deal,” Kevin Harvick said.(Palm Beach Post)
    AND One complaint shared by many of the drivers on Wednesday was a lack of markings on the new asphalt surface or on the surrounding concrete walls. “They need to put a bright white stripe around the bottom,” Ricky Rudd said. “Even if they just came around and put a couple of dots on the racetrack, at least until you get to the center of the corner, I think it would help you see a better race on Sunday.” Dale Jarrett agreed. “We probably need some hash marks there, or something to go by,” Jarrett said. “Then, if we could just get some lines on the wall to where you’ve got an idea where you’re at, that would help a little bit.”(ThatsRacin.com/AP)(11-13-2003)
  • Cup Testing at Homestead, Quotes and some Speeds: Moving at speeds approaching 180 mph, Winston Cup Series drivers took to the NEW Homestead-Miami Speedway and its state-of-the-art, 20-degree, variable banking for the first time today. The drivers were busy preparing for Sunday’s Ford 400, the season-finale for the NASCAR Winston Cup Series. Although no official speeds were available, unofficial reports from the teams placed speeds from today’s session more than 20 mph and nearly five seconds faster than Kurt Busch’s winning pole speed of 154.365 last season [qualifying record: Steve Park, 156.440mph, Nov. 10, 2000].
    Most teams randomly surveyed in the garage reported running race trim only today. Speeds and times reported were:
    #10-Johnny Benson: 177.632mph
    #79-Derrike Cope 177.049 (Naples Daily News)
    #8-Dale Earnhardt, Jr.: 176.471
    #20-Tony Stewart: 175.896
    #12-Ryan Newman: 175.325
    #48-Jimmie Johnson: 174.757
    #88-Dale Jarrett: 174.191
    “It’s a lot faster racetrack,” said Jimmy Spencer. “I think it’s going to be a pretty good race. I already see two grooves in the track, and I think almost everybody is trying to figure it out, me included. How high can you go in to make a late apex or do you run in really low and let the car run up and come back and diamond it. No one has figured it out yet. Dale Earnhardt Jr. is running really good, and the 18 (Bobby Labonte) looks like he’s pretty good.”
    “It’s a definite improvement,” said Ricky Rudd. “There should be some interesting racing. It looks like there are two and possibly even three grooves out there. It’s very fast right now, but it should be a lot better for racing.”
    “I’m very excited and very impressed,” said Ricky Craven. “I love what they’ve done and I think it’s going to encourage some great racing. The first half of practice was a little strange, but we’ll work through some of the challenges as it relates to the track. It is an absolute improvement.”(HMS PR)
    AND #40-Sterling Marlin was in Tenn attending a trial [see my #40 Team News and Links page for the story], so David Stremme tested the Coors Light Dodge for Marlin.(11-13-2003)
  • ‘Drive for Diversity’ seeks applicants: Access Marketing will accept resumes through Dec. 1 from experienced minority stock-car drivers and crew members for its “Drive for Diversity” development program. Drivers are being sought to race on NASCAR weekly racing series tracks in the Southeast in 2004. Selected crew members will compete with Truck series teams next year under the program.
    “Drive for Diversity removes barriers and gives the best of the best competing on local tracks the training, mentorship, networking opportunities and financial support to climb the NASCAR circuits as far as their talent will carry them, including to the Nextel Cup Series,” said Daryl Stewart, general manager, Access Marketing & Communications. “Through Drive for Diversity, the pool of well-trained and supported NASCAR competitors, sponsors and fans will continue to grow to reflect our nation’s diverse ethnic and racial citizenship.”

    Resumes, videotapes, race results, references and other supporting materials to:
    “Drive for Diversity,” Access Marketing & Communications
    210 S. Tryon St., Ste. 130, PMB 254
    Charlotte, NC 28202.
    Two years of motorsports experienced is recommended.

    Materials will be reviewed by a panel of industry officials to determine qualifiers for a scouting combine. A try-out event will be held the end of December at a location to be determined. The final selection of participants will be formally announced in January. (ThatsRacin.com)(11-13-2003)

  • Dover Intl Speedway sues Action: Dover International Speedway has sued the Arizona-based company that sold NASCAR souvenirs at its annual races, claiming the Dover operation was cheated out of millions of dollars in proceeds. The U.S. District Court lawsuit seeks unspecified damages. It was filed against Action Performance Companies and its subsidiary Action Sports Image. A spokesperson for the Tempe, Ariz., companies could not be reached. The Action company sold race-related merchandise out of trailers for more than 10 years through the September 2002 NASCAR race. An agreement with the Dover Speedway called for Action to pay 25 percent of each trailer’s gross proceeds or an unspecified minimum per-trailer fee, whichever was larger. Dover Speedway agreed to reduce its commission rate from 25 percent to 15 percent after Action asked to renegotiate the terms last year. Action told the raceway an economic downturn and industry standards required the reduced sales commission, which became official in May 2003.(Delaware News Journal)(11-13-2003)
  • Busch the Youngest since 1982..If: If #60-Kyle Busch qualifies for Sunday’s Ford 400 season finale at Homestead-Miami Speedway, he will become the youngest driver to debut in Winston Cup since 1982 when Darryl Sage and Bobby Hillin Jr. each made starts at the age of 17. Busch was born on May 2, 1985, roughly three years after Sage, who was 11 months younger than Hillin Jr., started the first of his eight career Winston Cup races.(Hendrick Motorpsorts PR)(11-13-2003)
  • New Spotter for Vickers: Ricky Hendrick, owner of the #5 GMAC Busch Chevy, has assumed Winston Cup spotting duties for Brian Vickers, driver of the #25 UAW-Delphi Chevrolet. Hendrick made his spotting debut last week at North Carolina Speedway and will continue at Homestead.(Hendrick Motorpsorts PR)(11-13-2003)
  • Arnold Motorsports and Cope at Homestead: Arnold Motorsports has agreed to terms for a one race deal with Derrike Cope to pilot the #79 Dodge in the 2004 Season finale at Homestead-Miami Speedway. The team has been searching for a replacement driver after splitting ways with driver Billy Bigley Jr. following the Atlanta race. The newly reconfigured Homestead track added banking in the turns throughout the year. The change should have all the teams on a more equal playing field when it comes to notebooks. “Derrike’s experience and ability to handle a racecar will be extremely helpful in getting the Arnold Motorsports Team in the race,” commented Don Arnold. “With the changes at Homestead, we feel we have an excellent shot to get in the show. Mike Hillman (crew chief) and Derrike are going to have to communicate effectively, the extra practice sessions are going to be valuable.”
    “I’m looking forward to and happy that Don asked me to drive the #79 Dodge Intrepid in Homestead,” said Derrike Cope. “The team is building and hopefully I can help them out and we will be racing come Sunday at Homestead.”(Arnold Motorsports PR)(11-13-2003)
  • Kyle to Visit Two Miami High Schools on Nov. 13th: Georgia-Pacific Corp. brings its Teen Safety 500 program to two Miami high schools on Thursday, Nov. 13. Felix Varela Senior High School and Miami Palmetto Senior High School 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. #45-Kyle Petty will be on hand to present the Georgia-Pacific Teen Safety 500 program to students. The assembly will include Petty, local dignitaries and Ken Haldin, vice president of corporate communications at Georgia-Pacific, speaking to students about the importance of safety behind the wheel. After the assembly, students will have the opportunity to view the #45 Georgia-Pacific/Brawny Dodge racecar outside the school and receive autographs from Petty. Activities begin at 9:45 a.m. at Miami Palmetto Senior High School. Both schools will receive a 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 racing merchandise and entertainment and dining packages. One student will be chosen from the winning school for the grand prize – a gift card from Best Buy. Visit Georgia-Pacific’s racing Web site at www.gp.com/racing for more information about the Teen Safety 500 program.(Williams Company/Petty Racing PR)(11-13-2003)

    (11-12-2003)

  • New Smokey Book: MORE Sex, Lies & Superspeedways – the second collection of stories from Smokey Yunick’s legendary autobiography Best Damn Garage in Town was recently released. This collection is read by a very eclectic list of racing personalities who all had a connection to Smokey: Dick Berggren, Dave Bowman, Monte Dutton, Ray Evernham, Don Garlits, Ralph Johnson, Steve Lewis, Bill Miller, Major Jeff Neischel USAF, Bob Snodgrass and Bill & Renee Walker (Smokey’s sister and brother-in-law). “We thought it would be an interesting and unique experience for the listener to hear Smokey’s stories from different perspectives from across all areas of racing,” said Trish Yunick Brown, president of Carbon Press and Smokey Yunick’s daughter.
    In addition to reading a chapter or two from Smokey’s autobiography, each reader gives their opinion and thoughts on Smokey. MORE Sex, Lies & Superspeedways is currently in production will be sold through SmokeyYunick.com in early November and in bookstores and online stores in late November.
    MORE Sex, Lies & Superspeedways is the second collection of stories from Smokey Yunick’s autobiography, Best Damn Garage in Town…The World According to Smokey, to be released in audio form and contains over 8.5 hours of stories. The first collection of stories from Smokey’s book, entitled Sex, Lies & Superspeedways, was very well received but contained only 20% of the stories from Smokey’s book. Carbon Press is the publishing company that was started by legendary NASCAR and Indy car mechanic, owner and inventor, in order to ensure his autobiography was published just as he wrote it.(PR), for many other Racing Books, see my Racing Bookstore page.(11-12-2003)
  • Why TNT and not NBC? been asked, here ya go: One would suspect that the race that crowned the championship would be aired on NBC. Instead, NBC showed the Gravity Games and professional bull riding, while TNT had the Rockingham race. Why?
    NBC spokesperson Mike McCarley said that Turner selected Rockingham as one of its races to show when it partnered with NBC to broadcast the second half of the season in 2001. “Turner’s paying half the freight, so they’re deserving to get some of the great races, too,” McCarley said, noting that Turner also broadcasts the Bristol night race and the Richmond fall night race, among the circuit’s more popular events. Next season there won’t be such a problem with the fall Rockingham race disappearing. Also, with the Summer Olympics on NBC in mid-to-late August, TNT will broadcast the races then and have three races in September. After the Dover race in September, NBC will broadcast the final eight races of the season, assuring that the championship will be shown on that network.(Roanoke Times)(11-12-2003)
  • A New Cup Team? UPDATE: NASCAR’s Nextel Cup series gets its second African-American-run team next season, this one entered by the estate of the late Roots author Alex Haley. Majority owner Sam Belnavis became the first black full-time owner this year by starting BelCar Motorsports with Travis Carter. Belnavis’ partner is Haley’s brother, George, a former U.S. ambassador to Gambia and executor of the Pulitzer Prize-winner’s estate. A statement from the estate said the venture seeks to “perpetuate … Haley’s spirit and legacy of family, brotherhood and understanding” and to foster African-American and minority participation in NASCAR. The estate is seeking sponsors for the car that would include tributes to Haley, whose novel tracing his lineage to slavery was adapted for ABC into TV’s most-watched miniseries when it was broadcast in 1977.(USA Today)(11-7-2003)
    UPDATE: The family of Alex Haley, Pulitzer Prize-winning author of “Roots,” wants to associate the late writer’s name with auto racing, a sport striving to reach out to African Americans. Haley’s brother, George, executor of his estate, announced Tuesday in Charlotte that Haley’s family plans to field a NASCAR Nextel Cup team in 2004, with its headquarters in Concord. But organizing a team in time for next year’s Daytona 500 could prove difficult. Several other ventures with African American involvement in recent years have been unable to put together the sponsors and skills needed to compete at the top level. The Haley estate hopes to be successful by partnering with Sam Belnavis, the first African American owner of a Nextel Cup team. Belnavis, former sports marketing director for Miller Brewing Co., is already a partner with Travis Carter in BelCar Racing, which owns the #54 car driven by Todd Bodine. Alex Haley Racing, with Belnavis’ involvement, will be a separate venture, said Bill Bryant with Empire Sports Group of Charlotte, which is working on the deal. The team’s major sponsor and a manager will be announced soon, Bryant said. George Haley is a Washington lawyer and former U.S. ambassador to Gambia. He said the goal of the estate is to promote “Alex Haley’s spirit and legacy of family, human connection, brotherhood and understanding.” If successful, the entry of a Haley team into NASCAR would bring a name strongly associated with African American heritage into a sport with little black representation. In addition to “Roots,” which became one of the most-watched television mini-series in history when it first aired in 1977, , Haley wrote “The Autobiography of Malcolm X.” Bryant said the Haley team doesn’t plan to field a black driver in its first year because there are no African Americans experienced enough in the sport to compete at that level. But the group plans a recruiting and development program that could lead to more black drivers in the future and wants to put a black driver in its Cup car within a few years. NASCAR has no black drivers in its premier Winston Cup series, which will become Nextel Cup next year. One African American has ever won at the sport’s highest level — Wendell Scott, in a 1963 race in Jacksonville, FL. Bill Lester, competing in the Craftsman Truck Series for Bobby Hamilton Racing, is NASCAR’s only current African American driver. Lester will race in Friday’s season finale at Homestead-Miami Speedway. NASCAR is trying to build diversity through programs that link corporate sponsors to minority teams and is trying to recruit African Americans to the sport’s grassroots level, at weekly racing series tracks in the Southeast. Reggie White, a former NFL defensive lineman with the Carolina Panthers, Philadelphia Eagles and Green Bay Packers, is forming Reggie White Motorsports with backing from former NFL coach and current NASCAR team owner Joe Gibbs. Several other black athletes have tried to bring a minority-owned team to life in recent years. A team owned by Olympian Jackie Joyner-Kersee and her husband, Bob, and another owned primarily by NBA star Julius Erving and NFL running back Joe Washington, were unable to compete at the Winston Cup level. Before partnering with Carter for BelCar, Belnavis had another team dissolve. BH Motorsports attempted to qualify for three Cup races in 2002 with driver Ron Hornaday.(ThatsRacin.com)(11-12-2003)
  • Elliott’s Pit Crew Strikes Again, Claims Eighth Win of Season: While Bill Elliott drove to an impressive victory in Sunday’s 400-mile race in Rockingham, N.C., his pit crew was just as awesome, claiming top honors in the McDonald’s Drive-Thru Pit Championship fueled by POWERade. It was the eighth win of the season for Elliott’s pit crew, which increased its season earnings to $160,000. Though Elliott’s pit crew leads the McDonald’s/POWERade series in victories and prize money, it’s the DEI crews of Michael Waltrip and Dale Earnhardt Jr. that are in contention for the inaugural title and the $200,000 champion’s bonus.
    Waltrip’s and Earnhardt’s crews are tied in points with 1,213. With Earnhardt’s crew finishing third in Rockingham and Waltrip’s crew 25th, the Earnhardt team was able to pick up 22 points and tie the series standings with one race remaining – the Ford 400, Sunday (Nov. 16) at Homestead-Miami Speedway.
    “We’re all friends here at DEI, but both of the teams want this really bad,” said Walt Smith, DEI pit crew coach. “It’s not only the money, but also the bragging rights to win the first McDonald’s/POWERade championship. It’s a tremendous amount of pressure, but both teams know what they have to do and I know they will handle it very well. No matter what happens, I am very proud of all our teams at DEI.”
    Elliott’s No. 9 Dodge spent the least amount of time on pit road at North Carolina Speedway – 203.760 seconds. Bobby Labonte’s Chevrolet was second at 214.373 and Earnhardt’s Chevy was third at 252.034.
    “The guys were flawless on Sunday,” said Elliott’s crew chief Mike Ford. “They didn’t make any mistakes all day long. They got Bill in and out of the pits without any trouble. In fact, we gained spots on our first stop. Then we were pretty much up front all day and never once lost a spot on pit road. They were very deserving this week. I’m very proud of all of our guys.” Elliott’s over-the-wall crew consists of: Todd Colburn (jackman), Nick Bailey (front tire carrier), Jim Pohlman (front tire changer), Eric Wakeland (rear tire carrier), Joe Kruschek (rear tire changer), Rodney Rhodes (gasman) and Steve Lawrence (catch can). The team’s pit crew coach is Greg Miller. See my Pit Crew News Page for the results from Rockingham, season standings and race-to-race results.(DMF Communications PR)(11-12-2003)
  • Marlin Goes to Court: A confrontation between NASCAR driver Sterling Marlin and a race fan a couple of years ago on a Jamaican beach has landed Marlin in federal court. This week, a jury is considering Joel Whitcomb’s claims that he injured his knee and shoulder when Marlin assaulted him and threw him into shallow salt water. Marlin, who lives in Columbia, TN, contends he could not have hurt the man. Besides, he testified Monday, he had every right to stand his ground when the plaintiff accused him of being a cheater. Whitcomb, a Pittsfield, Mass., used-car dealer, went with his wife to Jamaica in December 2001 for a promotional beach holiday that drew NASCAR aficionados from across the United States.
    Whitcomb, a Dale Earnhardt Jr. fan, went with his wife, Julia, who likes Bill Elliott, according to U.S. District Court testimony. In Jamaica they found themselves at a beachfront resort, where they could mingle with the drivers by night and join teams to compete in the sunny beach Olympics that organizers staged on the sand. The Whitcombs were pleased to find themselves on Dale Jr.’s team.
    Joel Whitcomb competed in almost all the events, including the tug of war between the Earnhardt’s fans and Marlin’s fans. The men from both teams each won once, leaving the rubber match to the women. When the women from Marlin’s team began to lose to those from Earnhardt’s, Marlin reached in and grabbed the rope as if to aid their cause. Marlin told the jury he was just horsing around and didn’t really pull. But Joel Whitcomb concluded otherwise. Testimony from the witness stand and from depositions showed that he told Marlin that he thought the driver was a cheater — always had been, always would be — and jabbed his finger into Marlin’s chest.
    “I thought he needed to be cooled off,” Marlin told the court. Marlin said he grabbed Whitcomb by the swim trunks and T-shirt and shoved him toward the ocean, where Whitcomb landed in about 2 feet of water. He came up spitting water and insults, testimony showed. Whitcomb’s wife testified that her husband’s knee soon began to swell, requiring a trip to the doctor and several months of rehabilitation in Massachusetts. In November 2002 Whitcomb sued in U.S. District Court in Nashville. The suit was filed in federal court because the plaintiff and the defendant are from different states. According to court records, Marlin declined to settle the case out of court. The trial is scheduled to resume after the Veterans Day holiday.(USA Today/AP)(11-12-2003)
  • Gordon sells Florida house: Jeff Gordon has sold his 23,000-square-foot oceanfront home in Highland Beach [FL] for $13.3 million cash, plus another $2 million cash for the furnishings. The sale is expected to close today, said Robert Wyner, chairman of Barclays Group International in Palm Beach, which listed the home for $16.9 million just 48 hours before it sold.(Palm Beach Post)(11-12-2003)

    (11-11-2003)

  • #300 for Wallace: #23-Kenny Wallace is scheduled to make his 300th career Winston Cup start at Homestead.(11-11-2003)
  • Sad News: TCM Racing owner, and TAG USA President, Tom Argy, Jr. died late this afternoon after suffering injuries in an automobile crash near Savannah, Georgia. Tom, Jr., who was traveling through Georgia to Homestead, Florida with his son, Tom Argy, III (Tommy) were involved in a single automobile accident while driving his Van, according to an associate and friend of Tom’s, Bob Palladichuk. Palladichuk worked with Tom, Jr. and Tommy, in the NASCAR Winston Cup circuit in the safety and flag division. Tommy is in stable condition in Memorial Center Hospital in Savanah and is being monitored for a possible concussion and bruises at this time, according to Palladichuk.
    Tom, Jr. and Tommy left Rockingham, N.C., approximately 10 a.m. this morning and were traveling for most of the day with a group of NASCAR travel trailers and their personnel. The group stopped around 4 p.m. for a rest and after a brief stop, Tom and Tommy continued on solo toward Homestead for the next NASCAR event. The team of NASCAR trailers never saw Tom after their stop and could not offer any additional details.
    Tom, 47, is survived by his wife Sarah, daughter Allisa and son, Tommy. He was a resident of Niagara Falls, N.Y. and considered a devoted patron and promoter for kart races throughout the world. He has served the racing community as race director for many top level karting events including the popular Rock Island Grand Prix. His most recent endeavor was the creation of TAG USA, a series to support the popular 125cc electric start spec class. Following, Homestead, he and Tommy were going to Denton, Texas for a stop on the series tour at North Texas Kartway. Details regarding the status of this event are yet to be determined.(ekartingnews.com and a story at Carolina Morning News)(11-11-2003)
  • Wallace and Stacker 2 at School: Kenny Wallace, driver of the #23 Stacker 2 Dodge, will visit the final Race To Bee Safe participating High School this weekend. Wallace will visit Goleman High School in Miami on Thursday, November 13th as part of “YJ Stinger’s Race to Bee Safe” program. The Race to Bee Safe program is designed to teach teenagers the importance of safe driving and good car maintenance. Students sign a promise to practice safe driving. The promise will act as an informal contract between the student and the student’s parents. The promises will also be used in a drawing for prizes, including tickets to the Nov. 15th Ford 300 NASCAR Busch Series event at Miami – Homestead Speedway.(BDR PR)(11-11-2003)
  • a little more on the National Guard: from a pre-race press release about the #54 National Guard Ford, driver Todd Bodine was asked:
    Do You Know What Your Plans Are For 2004?
    Answer: “I am hoping to know in the next few weeks. We are still waiting from word from the National Guard. I’ve also got several other irons in the fire so I am just waiting to see how things shake out. Regardless, I am very optimistic about my plans for next year. When I know, an announcement will be made.”(Cox Marketing PR)(11-11-2003)
  • DODGE THIS! Media Teleconference: comment from Bill Elliott
    On announcing plans for 2004 “Yes, I’ve got a timetable, but I’m not saying what it is.”(Golin Harris PR)(11-11-2003)
  • Hornaday in 4th RCR car at Homestead: Richard Childress Racing Busch Series driver [and championship contender], Ron Hornaday will drive the #90 Childress Vineyards/RCRRacing.com Chevy in the Nov. 16 Ford 400. Childress Vineyards broke ground in September on its winery facility in Lexington, NC, and current plans call for its first vintage, using grapes from other North Carolina growers, to be available in late 2004. RCR last entered a #90 car when John Andretti drove the AOL 9.0 Optimized/Special Operations Warrior Foundation Chevrolet at Talladega in September, when he started 24th and finished 15th in the EA Sports 500.(RCR PR)(11-11-2003)
  • APR Looking for Help: Andy Petree Racing (APR) fresh off of their announcement of a three year program with Paul Menard is looking for help. “We are in a unique situation of having a long term program and are looking for key personnel to fill in the voids that we have in our team” said Steve Barkdoll, Vice President of APR. “We will be excepting resumes by fax and email for the next two weeks”. “We need experienced fabricators, pit crew members, and a truck driver to fill out our roster”. Resumes can be sent to APR by fax (828-698-8052) or other contact info on their site: www.andypetreeracing.com [click on Interact].(11-11-2003)
  • Stacker2 and Wallace back to Busch UPDATE yes: Stacker2 will sponsor a Busch Series entry for [Bill] Davis next year, and Kenny Wallace will be the driver.(Winston Cup Scene via BGNRacing.com)(10-17-2003)
    UPDATE: QUESTION: What are your plans for next year?
    Kenny Wallace Answer: My plans for next year are to run the Busch Grand National Series with Bill Davis and go for the championship and to win races and to also run a handful of Nextel Cup races.
    QUESTION: Will Stacker 2 be your BGN sponsor next year?
    Kenny Wallace Answer: Myself and Stacker 2 and Bill Davis have got a great relationship. There is no negativity in my camp. We are just looking at going back and trying to be competitive and win the championship in the Busch Series with the people who have been good to me at Stacker 2.
    QUESTION: Kenny, Do you think your Busch car will be a Dodge or Chevy like the #23 Stacker 2 Busch car is now?
    Kenny Wallace Answer: Basically I’m just going to go into the car that Scott Wimmer drove this year.(Racers-Chat Kenny Wallace Chat)(11-11-2003)
  • Governor Proclaims ‘Matt Kenseth Day’: Gov. Jim Doyle proclaimed Nov. 10 as “Matt Kenseth Day” in honor of the Cambridge race car driver who won the NASCAR Winston Cup Points championship at the North Carolina Speedway Sunday. Kenseth’s crew chief, Robbie Reiser, and several members of his crew are also from Wisconsin.(The Milwaukee Channel)
    AND NASCAR Winston Cup winner Matt Kenseth, a native of Cambridge, Wis., exchanged helmets with Favre on the field before the [Monday night Green Bay-Philadelphia NFL game – won by the EAGLES](Green Bay News-Chronicle)(11-11-2003)


    (11-10-2003)

  • Kenseth at Homestead: #17-Matt Kenseth clinched the NASCAR Winston Cup points championship with his fourth-place finish Sunday at the North Carolina Speedway. Kenseth made history in becoming the last “Winston” Cup champion in series history. Kenseth will have a formal championship ceremony as 2004 champion immediately following the Ford 400.(HMS PR)(11-10-2003)
  • Third Penske Team in 2004? The Kodak fact finding mission stopped at Roush Racing, BAM Racing, Bill Davis Racing, Dale Earnhardt, Inc., and reportedly to Penske Racing South – where there is interest in starting a third team.(Ford Racing)(11-10-2003)
  • Past Ford Driver Champions:
    1) Ned Jarrett, who is Ford’s all-time race winner with 43, won his second series championship in 1965 and the first driver’s title for Ford.
    2) David Pearson is the manufacturer’s only multiple champion as he won 27 races and captured 26 poles en route to back-to-back titles in 1968 and ’69.
    3) Bill Elliott registered the first driver’s championship for Ford in the modern era, which started in 1972, by 24 points over Rusty Wallace in 1988.
    4) The late Alan Kulwicki edged Elliott by the narrowest margin in NASCAR Winston Cup history when he led one more lap than Elliott and clinched the five-point bonus to win the title by 10 points in 1992.
    5) Dale Jarrett clinched his championship one race before the season-ending event in 1999 and eventually won by 201 points. As a result, the Jarretts joined the Pettys as the only father-son duo to win the NASCAR Winston Cup championship.(Ford Racing)
    Didja Know? With #17-Matt Kenseth winning the Winston Cup Championship, he was only the 4th driver in the modern era [1972-present] to win the Championship in a Ford. The others: Bill Elliott [1988], Alan Kulwicki [1992] and Dale Jarrett [1999].(Alabama Live)(11-10-2003)
  • Some Stuff: Bill Ellott won the race at Atlanta when the first Wisconsin driver won the Winston Cup championship in 1992, that being the late Alan Kulwicki, Elliott won on Sunday at Rockingham, when Matt Kenseth, from Wisconsin won the 2003 Cup Championship. Elliott’s first Winston Cup start came at Rockingham in Feb 1976. Elliott ‘officially’ started 5th [but had to start at the rear of the field due to an engine change] and finished first. Ryan Newman started first and finished 5th.(11-10-2003)
  • National Guard to the #99? UPDATE 3 and even MORE, #16 involved?: hearing the National Guard has signed to sponsor the #99 Roush Racing Ford in 2004 with Roush hoping to add another partial sponsor to the deal.(11-8-2003)
    UPDATE: The National Guard sponsorship program, currently with the Sam Belnavis/Travis Carter #54 team, appears likely to be headed for the Roush Racing #99, with driver Jeff Burton, next year. Where that leaves BelCar is not yet known. The National Guard, like other service branches advertising among younger males given the current international situation, would be one of several sponsors on the 99 car. Neither side would confirm the transaction, with Carter saying only that Belnavis had a Nov. 22 deadline for a decision, and Burton noting that the team, currently with CITGO, likely would have several sponsors next year — a growing trend in top-dollar NASCAR team finance. The National Guard sponsorship is reported to be about $6m [I hear 4m] — hardly enough to support a major team in Cup. However, coupled with associates, the offer could be the missing link to the $15m to $20m required to run a top-level operation. “We feel really good about where we are,” Burton said. “We don’t have anything to announce, anything to talk about publicly. We feel like we’ll have a great company — companies — to represent, a lot of fun stuff coming up. We’ll talk about all those companies when we can.” Carter said the his team has a couple of coals burning for next year, including the previously-announced deal with British Torquespeed, but nothing he was ready to speak about.(Speed Channel)(11-9-2003)
    UPDATE 2 – Denied: Roush Racing President Geoff Smith Sunday morning denied firmly that the National Guard sponsorship would be part of the #99 team’s package next season. “I can say unequivocally that the National Guard will not be sponsoring the Jeff Burton No. 99 car,” Smith said, shooting down reports that the Guard would migrate from BelCar’s No. 54 to Roush’s 99 next season. Burton confirmed Saturday that sponsorship is in place for 2004 but gave no details. Current sponsor CITGO announced early this year that it would not return in 2004.(Speed Channel Site)
    AND? another rumor has Kodak going to the #99, but most race shows/reports on Sunday said it was the National Guard, but am alos hearing the National Guard could end up with Roush and the #16 Car and Biffle but not sure what extent OR the National Guard could end up with the #74 BACE team or stay with the #54.(11-10-2003)
    UPDATE 3 – a bit of clarification: Roush Racing President, Geoff Smith, was surprised to read on the Internet that he’d signed a sponsorship deal for Jeff Burton’s #99 Ford. Smith’s only wishes that he had something to announce for the No. 99, but has nothing in hand at this time. “The National Guard is not going to sponsor Jeff Burton in the No. 99,” Smith said dismissing the going rumor that surrounds Burton’s team. Possibly driving the rumor is last week’s visit by Kodak officials to five team shops. The Kodak fact finding mission stopped at Roush Racing, BAM Racing, Bill Davis Racing, Dale Earnhardt, Inc., and reportedly to Penske Racing South – where there is interest in starting a third team.
    Demand for a sponsor with the prestige of Kodak makes competition fierce and can lead a team to creative ways to optimize their chances of landing the prime contract. One such tactic floats a rumor tying sponsorship from another party to the team competing for the sponsor. The idea is to make the original sponsor, in this case Kodak, believe that a team, Roush Racing’s #99, is no longer a player for Kodak. “It’s a ploy I believe may be in play here,” said Smith of the National Guard rumor.
    Smith doesn’t deny that he’s in negotiations with the National Guard, but that would be for another project given the less than full primary Winston Cup dollars that the National Guard has available to a sponsor a team. “There’s some interest in a program with Greg Biffle’s No.16,” said Smith of his ongoing discussions with the National Guard.(Ford Racing)(11-10-2003)
  • Team Hollywood? UPDATE a Truck Team: hearing movie producer John Shestak (Blair With Project) and actor Anthony Edwards (formerly of ER) are expected to announce involvement in a NASCAR team for 2004 at Homestead. The names of Bradley Whitford (West Wing) and actress Rene Russo have also been mentioned as involved. The driver will be a young up-and-comer from California.(11-7-2003)
    UPDATE: there will be a press conference at Homestead-Miami Superspeedway on Friday, November 14th with actor Anthony Edwards (NBC’s “ER”) and producer John Shestack (Air Force One) for An Announcement Regarding Clean Line Motorsports and the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series. Current Clean Line Motorsports driver is Brandon Whitt.(11-10-2003)

  • One Millions Bucks to VJGC: Tony Stewart presented a $1 million check thru the Tony Stewart Foundation to the Victory Junction Gang Camp and Kyle and Pattie Petty at Rockingham this morning.(TNT’s Happy Hour Practice Coverage)(11-8-2003)
    UPDATE: Reigning NASCAR Winston Cup Series champion Tony Stewart announced his foundation’s donation of $1 million to the Victory Junction Gang Camp. Due to open in the summer of 2004 in Randleman, N.C., the Victory Junction Gang Camp was founded by Kyle and Pattie Petty in memory of their son Adam. The camp is dedicated to creating empowering experiences for children with chronic or life-threatening illnesses. “I really admire Kyle and Pattie Petty for the people they are and for the work that they do,” said Stewart. “The Victory Junction Gang Camp was their idea, and they’ve done so much to make it happen. The Tony Stewart Foundation is proud to donate $1 million to the Victory Junction Gang Camp so that Kyle and Pattie’s dream can soon become reality.” This is Stewart’s second major contribution to the Victory Junction Gang Camp, with his first donation having come in 2001 thanks to the collective efforts of Stewart, The Home Depot®, Target Chip Ganassi Racing and Joe Gibbs Racing. When Stewart competed in both the Indianapolis 500 and the Coca-Cola 600, he pledged $100 for every lap he completed, with The Home Depot, Target Chip Ganassi Racing and Joe Gibbs Racing each matching Stewart’s donation. And after completing all 600 laps, $240,000 was raised for the Victory Junction Gang Camp.
    “I couldn’t be more proud of our association with Joe Gibbs and Tony Stewart,” said Bob Nardelli, chairman, president and CEO, The Home Depot. “Today’s donation exemplifies Tony’s strong character and further underscores the values shared by our company and this great champion.”
    Stewart is now an official founder of the Victory Junction Gang Camp, as his cumulative unrestricted donations have totaled over $1 million. In addition to the Petty family, Stewart joins actor Paul Newman and the Bahre family – owners of New Hampshire International Speedway – as founding members.
    Stewart’s announcement coincides with the #45 “Hands to Victory”Dodge that Kyle Petty will drive in tomorrow’s Pop Secret Microwave Popcorn 400 here at North Carolina Speedway. The special paint scheme, designed by renown motorsports artist Sam Bass, features the handprints of 46 Winston Cup drivers and was conceived to celebrate and recognize the NASCAR drivers who have lent a helping hand to the Victory Junction Gang Camp. Die-cast models of the “Hands to Victory” race car, along with additional “Hands to Victory” merchandise such as hats, T-shirts and mouse pads can be found at all 700 Toys ‘R’ Us retailers, NASCAR.com, the Victory Junction website – www.victoryjunction.org – and at the Petty Enterprises trackside trailer. Proceeds from the sale of “Hands to Victory” merchandise will go to the Victory Junction Gang Camp, with various merchandise manufacturers making donations as well. All 46 drivers whose hands appear on the #45 “Hands to Victory” Dodge waived their royalty fees, with that money also going to the Victory Junction Gang Camp.(True Speed Communication PR)(11-10-2003)
  • Schrader or Raines to the #30? UPDATE Andretti?: With Jeff Burton all but assured to remain at Roush Racing next season with a new sponsor [Fed-Ex? Kodak? Nat Guard?] for his #99 Fords, veteran Ken Schrader and Winston Cup rookie Tony Raines have emerged as the front-runners for Richard Childress Racing’s #30 AOL Chevrolets, NASCAR sources confirmed Saturday. Burton is under contract with Roush, but his team had difficulty in securing a primary sponsor for next season. Roush apparently has a sponsor for the team, although the identity remained unclear. Burton’s unavailability has forced team owner Richard Childress to consider other alternatives.(ThatsRacin.com)(11-8-2003)
    UPDATE: also hearing John Andretti is a stong candidate for the ride.(11-10-2003)
  • Elliott Sadler to run the Busch race at Homestead: Elliott Sadler will drive the #35 Team Rensi Motorsports Ford in the Busch series finale at Homestead-Miami Speedway. Sadler currently drives the #38 M&M’s Ford Taurus in the Winston Cup Series for Robert Yates Racing. Sadler will team with Bobby Hamilton, Jr. who is sixth in points, 89 points behind series leader Brian Vickers. Pioneer Services will serve as primary sponsor for Sadler in the Ford 300. “We are real excited about Pioneer Services coming on board with Team Rensi Motorsports two car effort for Homestead. We have enjoyed our partnership with Pioneer Services this season and look forward to racing the No. 35 Pioneer Services Ford with Elliott Sadler,” Rensi said. “Elliott is a talented race car driver and we are working hard to put together a part-time Busch Series effort for him in 2004.”(ThatsRacin.com)(11-10-2003)
  • Buckshot at Homestead in the #00? No it will be Mike Skinner: on Michael Waltrip’s webiste, they have a webcam, on it is the #00 Bacardi Chevy, not sure if Buckshot Jones will drive this car at Homestead or if it will run, if I hear anything, it will be posted. Jone’s has driven for Waltrip in the past at Talladega and Atlanta in the #00 Chevy.
    UPDATE: Mike Skinner will drive Michael Waltrip’s #00 Bacardi Chevy at Homestead.(11-10-2003)
  • Green in the #43 in 2004? UPDATE: hearing that current #43 Petty Enterprises driver, Jeff Green, has a contract in hand to drive the 43 next year and the team is waiting for his decision.(11-6-2003)
    UPDATE: hearing that Green may not return to the #43 and head back to the Busch Series and run in the #10 ppc Motorsports Ford that Scott Riggs is vacating. Word is that Johnny Benson could end up in the #43.(11-10-2003)
  • Nadeau, Frye Speak On Recovery Program; Nadeau Not Expected Back Cup Racing Until 2005: Catchfence.com’s Marty Tyler speaks with injury recovering Cup Series driver Jerry Nadeau and MB2 Motorsports General Manager Jay Frye, concerning Nadeau/MB2 Motorsports’ recovery program and his return to Cup racing that isn’t expected to happen until 2005. See full story at Catchfence.com.(11-10-2003)
  • Raines expects to stay with BACE: Rookie Tony Raines, running with the under-sponsored Bace Motorsports team, managed his best finish of the year, a seventh place after qualifying fourth. Speculation has run hot regarding Raines’ future, and he has been linked to rides with top owners. But Raines said he had had no offers and hoped to continue with Bace. “The racing industry is a funny sport, because when you’re up, they want to talk to you, and when you’re down, you can’t even bum a cigarette,” Raines said. “To do more with less is what we’ve been doing all year, and hopefully we can get more sponsorship and ramp up our program.”(Milwaukee Journal Sentinel)(11-10-2003)
  • Roush the 2nd to win all three: #17 team owner, Jack Roush became only the second NASCAR team owner to win championships in all three national divisions – Winston Cup, Busch, and Craftsman Truck. Roush driver Greg Biffle won the Busch title last season, and the truck crown in 2000. Richard Childress Racing has also hit the trifecta, scoring six Winston Cup titles with the late Dale Earnhardt, a truck title with Mike Skinner in 1995, and a Busch championship with Kevin Harvick in 2001.(Charelston Post and Courier)(11-10-2003)
  • New 2004 Rules; Larger Gas Can: NASCAR released 14 pages of amendments to the 2004 Cup rulebook to teams at Rockingham. Teams will now use 12-gallon fuel cans, which will deter teams from compromising the bottom of the current 11-gallon cans. (Cars’ fuel cells hold 22 gallons.) The F3, or dinosaur, template will now extend from the cowl to the rear spoiler, tightening areas where teams can find an advantage. Engines must be located 14.25 inches, plus or minus 1 inch, from the center carburetor air cleaning mounting stud to the base of the windshield. Many teams will need to change driveshafts and motor mounts in order to comply with that rule. NASCAR also is separating primary and secondary ignition systems so that it will be easier to check the wiring and eliminate any opportunities for traction control.(FoxSports/Sporting News)(11-10-2003)
  • Some Facts: Kurt Busch has the coveted 10th position in the points going into the final race of the season, with Terry Labonte 56 points behind and Jeff Burton 107 back.
    This is the third straight year that the Cup championship has been won by a former rookie of the year. The other two were Jeff Gordon and Tony Stewart.
    If he does not win at Homestead, Kenseth will be the first driver since Benny Parsons in 1973 with only one win in his championship season.
    Kenseth joins CART’s Paul Tracy and NHRA Funny Car star Tony Pedregon in winning championships for Ford this season.(CBS/AP)(11-10-2003)
  • Kenseth off to Green Bay tonight: Green Bay Packers fan that he is, Matt Kenseth isn’t going to let the duties of a championship get in the way of his “Monday Night Football” plans. He’s headed for Green Bay for the game tonight.(Milwaukee Journal Sentinel) Green Bay plays Jayski’s Philly Eagle’s, who of course is hoping the Birds upset the Pack, plans to be at the Seaville Tavern with LaFean and Wilsey watching the game and hopes not to crying in his Michalob Ultra.(11-10-2003)
  • #9 Team WINS World Pit Crew competition: Evernham Motorsports’ No. 9 Dodge Squad Set New World Record In 2003 Union 76/Rockingham World Pit Crew Competition – A new world record paced the field of the 36th Annual Union 76/Rockingham World Pit Crew Competition today at North Carolina Speedway. Bill Elliott’s crew, led by crew chief Mike Ford, changed four tires and added two cans of fuel in a world record time of 16.725 seconds. This year’s champions bested the exiting world record by .098 seconds. In addition to $30,000 awarded to the pit crew champs, the team received a $10,000 bonus for setting the new world record. Evernham Motorsports owner Ray Evernham won the world pit crew title in 1994 as a crew chief, but this is his first title as a Winston Cup owner.
    The over the wall members that make up the #9 Dodge Squad include:
    Jim Pohlman (front changer)
    Joe Kruschek (rear changer)
    Todd Colburn (jack man)
    Rodney Rhodes (gas man)
    Steve Lawrence (catch can)
    Nick Bailey (front carrier)
    Eric Wakeland (rear carrier).

    The remaining crews in the top five of the 36th Annual 76/Rockingham World Pit Crew Competition include the crew of #5 Kellogg’s/Hendrick Motorsports, #17 DeWalt/Roush Racing, #19 Dodge Dealers/Evernham Motorsports and #29 GM Goodwrench/Richard Childress Racing. See more and the results on my Pit Crews News and Links pageThe Pit Crew Competition will be televised on NBC, November 30th at 1:00pm/et.(11-8-2003)

 


(11-9-2003)

 

  • Elliott wins at the Rock: #9-Bill Elliott wins the Pop Secret Microwave Popcorn 400 at North Carolina Speedway after starting from the rear [because of an engine change after Friday’s practice], led halfway and led the most laps [140], it was Elliott’s 44th career win [think this will quiet the retirement talk?]. #48-Jimmie Johnson ended up 2nd, followed by #19-Jeremy Mayfield, #17-Matt Kenseth [clinches the 2003 Winston Cup Championship] and #12-Ryan Newman [the pole sitter]. #74-Tony Raines, who started 4th, finished 6th, his first ever top 10 in an unsponsored car.
    Scheduled Race Re-Air: on Speed Channel:
    one-hour recap/Fast Forward on Wednesday, November 12th at 7:00pm/et and again on November 13th at 1:00am/et;
    and a full three-hour race show will re-air at 3:00pm/et on Thursday, November 13th
    Results links, top 10, laps led, lucky dogs, DNF’s, caution/narratives, notes on my Rockingham Race Rundown/Info Page and
    Jayski’s Pop Secret Microwave Popcorn 400 Race Results page with awards standings and stuff.
    See full standings at Jayski’s Drivers/Owners Points after Rockingham page.(11-9-2003)
  • Toyota All-Star Showdown Info – Winners Saturday: On Saturday night at Irwindale Speedway in California, Winston West driver Austin Cameron won the Grand National Division Showdown and and Ron Breese Jr. won the Elite Division Showdown races in the Toyota All Star Showdown.(Speed 51/Irwindale Speedway site)(11-9-2003)
    Winners Friday: Ron Breese Jr. and Jim Pettit captured the Elitie Division wins and Andy Santerre and Joey McCarthy took home the Grand National wins.(Speed 51)(11-8-2003)
    NASCAR Touring
    Irwindale Speedway
    Speed 51
    Speed Channel
    Racing West
    North East Racing
    BNS Racing[lists the 15 BNS drivers]
  • Stock Car Fans – Rumblings – Rockingham: Bill Elliott broke a 49 race losing streak this afternoon as he dominated the Pop Secret Microwave Popcorn 400 at North Carolina Speedway. His 44th career victory (he’s 14th all-time) was his first since he won at The Brickyard in August of 2002. And, considering he had to go to the back of the field for an engine change, it was all the more impressive.
    Pretty good weekend for the Ray Evernham Racing. First, you win the pit-crew Championship on Saturday, then you run 1-3 on Sunday. This was Ray’s 4th win as an owner….all with Elliott as the wheelman.
    Bill becomes the 17th different winner this season….we had 18 last year.
    A very chopped up race today….that’ll happen when the cautions fly during a pit cycle. As in life, timing is everything.
    Matt Kenseth (4th….and we might have a little something more on him later in this newsletter) had his best finish since he was 4th at Bristol in August.
    Tony Raines (6th) had his career-best finish today. His previous best was 14th at Richmond in May. And, his first-ever Top-10 gives us 42 drivers to register than mark this season….the exact same number as last year.
    Jeff Burton (7th) had his best finish since he was 4th at Richmond in September.
    Sterling Marlin (10th) had his best finish since he was 10th at Pocono in July.
    Larry Foyt (28th) equaled his career-best finish today. This was the third time he’s finished 28th….Dover in June and Phoenix last week were the other two.
    STREAKIN….Jimmie Johnson has 6 Top-10’s in a row.
    Ryan Newman has 9 Top-10’s in the last 10 races.
    Tony Stewart has 7 Top-10’s in the last 8 races.
    Bill Elliott has 5 Top-10’s in the last 6 races.
    This Week’s Elevator….UP: Operator of the Week is Jeff Green (+22), followed by Sterling Marlin (+21), and Tony Stewart (+20). DOWN: The Big Dropper was Mark Martin (-29), followed by Michael Waltrip (-26), and Brian Vickers (-22). Not a lot of action in the “Shaft” today at The Rock.
    Little did we know when Matt Kenseth took the points lead after Atlanta back in March (Race #4) that school was out. And, for those detractors who say he didn’t win enough races, remember who won the most events in 2002. It’s consistency that counts….and nobody epitomized that more than Kenseth this season.
    Six of the Top-10 in points changed this week, and the last paying spot (25th) is still up for grabs. Johnny Benson (27th to 25th) was the only multi-position move upward. No one fell more than one spot.
    Elliott’s win clinched Kenseth a spot on the Winners Circle plan for ’04. Kevin Harvick is holding onto the last spot, but if any of 7 drivers win [the drivers with one win] next week, the 29 team is off.(StockCarFans.com Newsletter)(11-9-2003)
  • Benson to BAM? Fox Sports Nets’s NASCAR This Morning reports that if Ken Schrader takes the #30 AOL RCR gig, that Johnny Benson couild end up in the #49 BAM Racing Dodge in 2004, and Benson is supposedly the front runner if Cal Wells starts a 2nd team to join #32-Ricky Craven in the PPI Motorsports stable.(11-9-2003)
  • Dale Jr. Still Leads Popular Vote: With just over a week remaining for nationwide fan voting, Dale Earnhardt Jr. continues to lead the Grands! Biscuits NMPA NASCAR Most Popular Driver Award. The the Most Popular Driver is determined by an online vote of fans at www.mostpopulardriver.com. The winner will be announced during the NASCAR Winston Cup Awards Banquet weekend, Dec. 4-5, 2003, in New York City.
    More than 2.8 million votes have been cast, and Earnhardt Jr. has led since voting began in February. The driver standings may change this final week, however, as fans hope to move their favorite drivers into the top spot before the balloting ends at 11:59pm/et, Monday, Nov. 17, the day after the final race of the season at Homestead, FL. Jeff Gordon currently is second, followed by Kevin Harvick, Steve Park, Tony Stewart, Michael Waltrip, Mark Martin, Dale Jarrett, Kyle Petty and Bobby Labonte.(Williams Company PR) and see past updated and links on this award, voting and to vote for Speed Channel’s Driver of the Year on my Awards/Voting page.(11-9-2003)
  • Toyota Unveils Tundra Racing V8 at SEMA Show: The SEMA Show unveiling of the Tundra Racing V8 for the Toyota Tundra race truck represents one of the most critical steps in Toyota’s journey to NASCAR’s victory lane. It follows a historic press conference at the 2003 Chicago Auto Show where Toyota first rolled out a race-prepared Tundra pickup to formally announce its plans to begin participation in the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series. The normally aspirated, Tundra Racing V8 engine was designed entirely in America by Toyota Racing Development. TRD’s technical capabilities came to the forefront as they designed and produced “from a clean sheet of paper,” an overhead valve racing engine in a remarkably short period of time. The engine design focused on high quality, performance, lightweight, reliability, and ease of manufacture. Measuring 358 cubic inches of displacement, the V8 is capable of producing up to 650 horsepower. The cast aluminum cylinder head and cast iron cylinder block both use a computer-optimized cooling system. The engine is also equipped with forged aluminum pistons, forged steel connecting rods, and a high strength billet steel crankshaft. Its fuel pump and exhaust were each developed by TRD. The engine’s Craftsman Series debut will take place at historic Daytona International Speedway in February 2004 where it will be represented by at least six American-built Tundra race trucks. Team affiliations will be determined soon [see my Truck Series site for what I have heard, including drivers]. TRD will design, develop, and build the Craftsman Truck Tundra V8 to NASCAR specifications in its Costa Mesa, Calif., facility.(Motorsports Forum)(11-9-2003)
  • Last Chance to Fish: Racing fans will have one more opportunity to bid on the chance to spend a morning fishing with some of their favorite NASCAR Winston Cup drivers at the 2nd Annual NASCAR Drivers Hot Rods & Reels(tm) Charity Fishing Tournament. The event helps kick off the festivities of the Ford Championship Weekend at the NEW Homestead-Miami Speedway. Drivers including Robby Gordon, Jeremy Mayfield, Jimmy Spencer and Johnny Benson still have seats remaining with them in their boats at the fishing tournament. Fans can visit eBay.com now through Monday, November 10th and bid on the chance to go bass fishing on the Speedway’s infield lake with one of these great drivers at the November 14th charity event.(Speed Channel)

    (11-8-2003)

  • BP’s Father Ill UPDATE 3: Benny Parsons was not on the broadcast team Monday at Atlanta as he was home with his father Harold who was feeling under the weather, get well HP.(10-27-2003)
    UPDATE: Benny and Phil’s father, Harold Parsons had a massive stoke Sunday morning [Oct 26th] and remains in ICU at Wiston-Salem Hospital Forsythe in NC. Benny and Phil’s mom Hazel isinsisting that Phil and Benny broadcast their respective races this weekend at Phoenix because Harold would be very upset with both of them if they missed work for ANY reason. The whole Parsons’ family is with him.(10-30-2003)
    UPDATE 2: Harold Parsons has been upgraded from ICU in Winston Salem Forsythe Hospital to “Critcal but Stable Condition”.(11-3-2003)
    UPDATE 3: Harold Parsons remains in Critcal but Stable condition in Winston-Salem Forsythe Hospital. There hasn’t been any change since last Sunday. The doctor who is a stroke specialist from Johns-Hopkins has said she is not anticipating any spetactular changes but admits she is suprised that he’s fighting as hard as he is. She told the family that most patients that have the kind of massive stroke do not survive 48 hours. Parsons is not on any kind of life-supportor ventalator.(11-8-2003)
  • Sad News: Early Friday morning, Wylie Langhurst 37 years old, the Manager of Trackside Vending Operations for Racing Electronics passed away unexpectedly. Wylie was married to Andrea and had a 10 year old son, Griffin. Wylie was well known by many race fans throughout the country. Funeral arrangements will be posted on www.racingelectronics.com when finalized.(11-8-2003)
  • More on Diversity: NASCAR is implementing a diversity program that hopes to place four minority drivers in the Weekly Racing Series, and six to 12 crewmen in the Craftsman Truck Series by next season. The program will be supported by corporate sponsors, with the goal of developing individuals who may one day advance through the ranks. The NASCAR program arrives at a time when Dodge is ending the diversity program it started three years ago. The demise of the Dodge initiative has left Bill Lester, a Craftsman Truck driver and currently the lone black competitor within NASCAR’s three national divisions, without a ride for 2004.(Charleston Post and Courier)(11-8-2003)
  • NASCAR’s Dale Earnhardt Jr. on Speed’s Wind Tunnel: Below are select quotes [see full PR on my #8 Team News and Links page] from Thursday’s [11-6] Wind Tunnel with Dave Despain on SPEED Channel. NASCAR Winston Cup Series driver Dale Earnhardt Jr., spoke with Dave about everything from superstitions to safety.
    Earnhardt on whether teaming with Richard Childress is in his future: “I want to drive race cars as long as I am healthy and I enjoy it and that could be for a very long time … I don’t see an opportunity to drive for Richard. I feel like my loyalty belongs to DEI – what we’ve built up over the last several years and what we’ve put into that company. All the money and all the effort my father put forth for years to make that happen, I feel like my loyalty belongs there and I’m going to stick it out.”
    Earnhardt on future as a team owner: “I feel like it is a huge interest of mine and I feel like I would be very good at it. I think I’ve got a pretty good eye for talent — not only driver-wise, but who could run each department.”
    … and to settle a bet with a producer, Dave asked Junior, “What was the last music you listened to before coming on the show?” The answer: Boston’s Greatest Hits [great choice! Jayski fave].(Speed ChannelPR from Wind Tunnel Quotes – see the full – auite long – PR on my #8 Team News and Links page)(11-8-2003)
  • Wilburn to be re-assigned? UPDATE 3 No, Rusty says he stays; Wilburn says they need to talk: hearing current #2 crew chief, Bill Wilburn, will not be the #2 Miller Lite Dodge crew chief in 2004, but will be be re-assigned within the organization, no word on any candidates yet.(10-24-2003)
    UPDATE: during rain delay coverage, NBC interviewed Rusty Wallace, driver of the #2 Miller Lite Dodge, and Wallace said Wilburn would be back in 2004 as his crew chief and that they have 2-years invested in working together.(NBC Rain Delay Coverage)(10-26-2003)
    UPDATE 2: Rusty Wallace refuted recent reports that crew chief Bill Wilburn would be leaving after the season. Wallace hasn’t claimed a victory since Wilburn became his crew chief at the beginning of 2002. “We’ve got a lot of time and effort invested in Billy Wilburn, but we’re getting better and better together,” said Wallace, who is winless in 94 races. “There’s been a lot of controversy on the Internet about Billy, but he’s a friend of mine. He’s a good kid, and we’ve got a good race team.”(Richmond Times Dispatch)(10-27-2003)
    UPDATE 3: Bill Wilburn, crew chief for Winston Cup driver Rusty Wallace, said Saturday he plans to sit down with his driver after the season is over to determine whether he will return next season. Wallace and Penske Racing co-owner Don Miller have expressed confidence in Wilburn over the past week. Wilburn, however, said he wants to make sure Wallace is pleased with the team’s direction.(ThatsRacin.com)(11-8-2003)
  • Fittipaldi will be back at PE: Christian Fittipaldi remains under contract with Petty Enterprises and will drive a combination Busch, ARCA and Nextel Cup schedule next year if the team can find sponsorship, Richard Petty said.(Tampa Tribune)(11-8-2003)
  • Nadeau Back Racing this Sat – in a Kart UPDATE teaming with Ernie: Jerry Nadeau will be back behind the wheel in a race Saturday, but not in a 3,500-pound stock car. Nadeau, a NASCAR Winston Cup driver, will be racing a 175-pound kart at Lowe’s Motor Speedway in Concord, NC. For Nadeau, who was critically injured in May during practice at Richmond, Va., it’s an important step in his comeback. Only a few months ago, he could barely walk, still had difficulty talking and was happy to be alive. “I used to be the wildest guy on the go-kart track,” said Nadeau, 33. “But when I recently got into a kart, I was so afraid somebody would hit me. I was scared stiff of getting whacked.” Nadeau, a former World Karting Association champion, had every reason to be nervous. He had spent two weeks in a coma after his huge wreck, suffering a closed-head injury, not to mention a partially collapsed left lung, fractured shoulder blade and busted rib cage. In the hours after the crash, Nadeau was touch and go.
    “I’ve been battling pretty hard since the accident,” said Nadeau, who drove the No. 01 U.S. Army Pontiac for MB2 Motorsports. “Thank God I’ve been able to do stuff with my young daughter, Natalie Kate, and my wife, Jada. You just can’t put a Band-Aid over this thing and go back. It takes time to heal.”
    Nadeau has no intention of climbing back into a race car until he’s good and ready. Veteran Joe Nemechek will drive Nadeau’s Pontiac in the last two races of the season, including Sunday at Rockingham, N.C., and is contracted to run a full season in the Army entry next year. If Nadeau feels comfortable, he might – and he stresses might – drive in an ARCA or Busch Grand National race around April or May.(Full story at Mercury News via Detroit Free Press)(11-7-2003)
    UPDATE: The 33-year-old Winston Cup driver will compete in a 3-hour, go-kart endurance event at Lowe’s Motor Speedway outside Charlotte. Nadeau will participate as part of a three-man team that also includes his father Gerard and Ernie Irvan, another former driver whose NASCAR career was interrupted by a head injury. Nadeau suffered a moderate to severe head injury when his Pontiac crashed during practice on May 2. While he has driven Legends cars on a track with other drivers, today’s go-kart event will be his first real race of any type since the accident. “It’s very encouraging that he’s able to do this,” Jay Frye, general manager of Nadeau’s MB2 Motorsports Winston Cup team, said Friday at North Carolina Speedway. “It’s competition, so that’s good. It will test his stamina, so that’s good. He’s very excited about it, so that’s good. You could see a little hop in his step this week.”(Charleston Post and Courier)(11-8-2003)
  • No Points Change per Roush: Don’t count car owner Jack Roush [#’s 6,16,17,97,99] among those who want a change in NASCAR’s point structure. There’s been criticism most of the year over the way points are distributed – mostly because Roush driver Matt Kenseth has built a nearly insurmountable lead through solid finishes instead of victories. Kenseth has just one win this year, while Ryan Newman, who sits fifth in points, has won eight races. “You aren’t suggesting just because I am finally on the verge of my first Winston Cup title that NASCAR should change the points?” Roush joked Friday at North Carolina Speedway. “I think the system is fine just the way it is.” Roush acknowledged that he has had suggestions in the past on how the system could be changed, ranging from allowing a driver to throw out his three worst finishes of the year to placing a premium on qualifying or winning the race. But he points to the championship races in the Busch Series and the Trucks Series – which will all be decided in next weekend’s season finales in Homestead, Fla. – as proof that there is nothing wrong with the system. “The same scenario is used in the other two series and they’ve got races going on there,” he said. “The only reason there hasn’t really been one this year is because Matt didn’t have any bad luck. He’s had a Cinderella season and those don’t come often.”(Augusta Chronicle/AP)(11-8-2003)
  • Rusty looking to talk to Tony: #2-Rusty Wallace took the blame for an accident last weekend at Phoenix International Raceway that started when he bumped Tony Stewart. The wreck has caused Wallace so much anxiety that he’s still not over it, he said at Rockingham. Wallace bumped Stewart in Turn 2, causing the two to slide up the track. As they slowed, Bobby Labonte and Kevin Harvick also piled in. “We had a pretty good car until I screwed up,” Wallace said. “I caused that whole damn mess myself. I sailed off into the corner at Phoenix, totally uncharacteristic of myself, and got in too deep. I got the front end pushing, and I bumped Tony.” Wallace said he would seek out Stewart this weekend. “I haven’t talked to Tony about it yet, but I will,” Wallace said Friday morning.(NASCAR.com)(11-8-2003)
  • Ford Heads Approved UPDATE: NASCAR has approved new engine cylinder heads for Fords for the 2004 season, giving the car builder its first major motor adjustment in a decade. The technology has changed over the years, and now it’s more like they’re letting Ford catch up in certain areas where they were restricted,” said Ford team owner Len Wood. The change should increase Ford’s horsepower potential significantly.(Greensville News)(11-7-2003)
    UPDATE: Many Ford engine builders are walking around the North Carolina Motor Speedway garage with smiles on their faces. The remarkable attitude at the end of the long hard fought season is thanks to seven words spoken by NASCAR Winston Cup director John Darby — “The Ford cylinder head has been approved.” It’s been a long time since Ford was granted a new cylinder head, with the last approval for a new piece coming in 1992. Since then a lot has happened under the hood in the sport, including the GM camp getting the SB2 cylinder several years ago and Dodge designing the purpose built P7 for their Winston Cup program in 2000. The Dodge and Chevrolet engine cylinder heads have shared a common critical dimension in port height with the Ford engine giving up ground in this area since the introduction of the SB2. This lack of port height real estate limits power development and has made life tough for Ford engine builders as they coaxed an incremental horsepower or two from an 11 year old piece.(see full story at the Ford Racing site)
    AND NASCAR has OKed a new cylinder head with a raised intake port that Ford has been requesting for four years. And Chevy teams weren’t really complaining that much. According to sources, NASCAR rejected a manifold that Ford had wanted paired with the cylinder heads, but Roush insisted that no such manifold had been requested.(Winston Salem Journal)(11-8-2003)
  • #4 Will be back: Larry McClure said Friday that Morgan-McClure Motorsports will race next season, despite the hurdles the team is facing. “We’ll be here next year, and the year after that,” McClure said. He said Kevin Lepage, who is the team’s current driver, would likely continue in that role next season. McClure said he is “very close” to working out issues with Kodak, the team’s primary sponsor, which has two years remaining on its contract.(ThatsRacin.com)(11-8-2003)
  • An odd Elliott rumor – back to Ford? UPDATE: hear a hot rumor circulating around the garage area at Martinsville this weekend is that Ford and Dodge are working on a swap. Ford will release Kasey Kahne from his contract to drive for Evernham Motorsports. In exchange, Elliott will run one last season in a Ford in 2004 with a team to be determined. Unsure if it would be a full season or a partial season as had been rumored.(source)(10-19-2003)
    UPDATE: After weeks of speculation, Totally NASCAR has learned that 1988 NASCAR Winston Cup champion Bill Elliott will retire from full-time competition at the end of this season. Elliott will reportedly run five races next year at tracks significant to his career. Sources say Elliott, who has 43 wins and 55 poles in 726 starts, might make it official this weekend in Atlanta. Elliott is from nearby Dawsonville, GA.(FoxSports)(10-21-2003)
    UPDATE 2: The latest on Bill Elliott: Ford Motor Company officials may be trying to woo him away from Dodge for a limited 10-race schedule next season as a third team for Robert Yates, according to sources.(Winston Salem Journal)(11-8-2003)
  • Special Gloves for VJGC: Mechanix Wear of Valencia, CA is very pleased to announce the creation of a special glove for the Victory Junction Gang Camp “Hands to Victory” event at North Carolina Speedway on November 9, 2003. The “Hands to Victory” program kicks off at the Rockingham race featuring a special paint scheme on the #45 Georgia Pacific Dodge driven by Kyle Petty. The car is Kyle Petty’s way of saying thank you to the 46 NASCAR Winston Cup drivers and their crewmembers for supporting The Victory Junction Gang Camp. Kyle and Pattie Petty founded the Victory Junction Gang Camp in honor of Adam Petty. The camp will be located in Randleman, North Carolina. Mechanix Wear has created a special mechanic’s glove for this event that features the Victory Junction Gang Camp and “Hands to Victory” logos. All NASCAR Winston Cup crewmembers have been invited to wear this glove during pre-race and race activities at Rockingham. One set of gloves from each team will be autographed by all the team members and will be auctioned off with the proceeds going to benefit the Victory Junction Gang Camp. A limited quantity of gloves exactly like those worn at Rockingham will be available for sale. They can be purchased at the Petty/Cheerios/Georgia Pacific souvenir trailer trackside or online at sportsdesign.com or by calling Sports Design at 800-796-8989. Victory Junction will receive a portion of the proceeds from the gloves sold.(PR)(11-8-2003)
  • Changes at the #31: Richard Childress is reported to be considering a change in the setup of the Robby Gordon-Kevin Hamlin team, possibly promoting Hamlin to general manager and engineer Chris Andrews to crew chief. Childress made a similar move earlier this season with the Kevin Harvick team.(Winston Salem Journal)(11-8-2003)
  • Pop Secret Makes Donation: As events surrounding the final Pop Secret 400 at North Carolina Speedway get underway, Pop Secret representatives today announced a donation of 50,000 bonus Box Tops for Education to L.J. Bell Elementary School in Rockingham. The donation is a symbol of appreciation from Pop Secret to the Rockingham community for its enthusiasm surrounding the Pop Secret 400 since 1999. Box Tops for Education is a school fund-raising program of General Mills in which both Pop Secret and L.J. Bell Elementary School participate. Pop Secret selected L.J. Bell Elementary School as the donation recipient because it was the Rockingham school that earned the most money through Box Tops for Education during the 2002-2003 school year. To redeem the 50,000 bonus Box Tops, L.J. Bell representatives need simply to submit the certificate presented to them from Pop Secret along with the other Box Tops they have collected. The school will then receive the cash value of the 50,000 bonus Box Tops plus the cash value for any other Box Tops they submit, assuming the value of those Box Tops fall within the program guidelines.(Williams Company PR)(11-8-2003)
  • Baldwin to Yates? J. J. Yeley may have signed a contract with car owner Joe Gibbs, according to sources. No word on the crew chief. Tommy Baldwin had been considered on Jimmy Makar’s list for that job, but now it appears that car owner Robert Yates may be wooing Baldwin to take a job with his team.(Winston Salem Journal)(11-8-2003)
  • Stock Car Fans – Ramblings – Rockingham: #12-Ryan Newman nabbed his 11th Bud Pole of the season today at North Carolina Speedway for Sunday’s Pop Secret Microwave Popcorn 400. Ryan sped around this 1 mile oval in 23.533 sec (155.577) to register his third top-spot in a row (and 4th in the last 5 events) and the 18th of his career. His 11 poles are the most since Bill Elliott did it in 1985 and is the second-highest total of the modern era. If you don’t think retro is hot, check out that #12 car this week. It’s a throw-back to Bobby Allison and those Red, White & Blue Penske Matadors.
    Brian Vickers went out first…..and had the pole for over an hour. But, after all, Newman was the last car out. Not a bad day for Vickers….first ever Busch Pole and outside the front-row for the Cup race just a couple hours later. If this front-row looks familiar, watch out for Rod Serling waving the green flag. You are not entering the Twilight Zone….this is the same front row we had last week at Phoenix.
    #19-Jeremy Mayfield (3rd) has his best starting spot since he started 3rd at Dover in June.
    #74-Tony Raines (4th) has his career-best starting spot. His previous best was 12th at Bristol in August….and he actually tied Jeremy Mayfield on time for 3rd spot today.
    #01-Joe Nemechek (6th) has his best starting spot since he had the outside pole at Richmond in May.
    #99-Jeff Burton (9th) has his best starting spot since he lined up 7th at Richmond in September.
    #16-Greg Biffle (10th) has his best starting spot since he started 4th at New Hampshire in September.
    STREAKIN….Ryan Newman has 5 Top-10 starts in a row.
    46 cars this weekend so three get the early out. The Trouble Train included: Hermie Sadler (he missed by less than 3/100th’s of a second), Tim Sauter (in Dave Marcis’ #71 car this week), and Rich Bickle (his first attempt of the season).
    This is our last fall event at Rockingham….next year California gets an extra date and Darlington slides into this spot. When you figure we’ve been coming here since 1965, it’s been one heck of a ride!(Stock Car Fans)(11-8-2003)


    (11-7-2003)

  • Bootie gets a gig: former #77 crew chief, Robert ‘Bootie’ Barker, is the new crew chief for Jason Leffler and the #00 Haas CNC Racing Busch Series team, starting this weekend at Rockingham and for the 2004 season.(Speed Channel’s coverage of Busch Series Qualifying)(11-7-2003)
  • Evernham, why a Busch team? Evernham Motorsports, running their first Busch race this weekend at Rockingham, is running the Busch Series to get Jeremy Mayfield get some track time and because team owner Ray Evernham plans to start building Busch Series engines to lease in 2004. Also of note, Elton Sawyer, former Busch Series driver is working with the team as a consultant.(Speed Channel’s coverage of Busch Series Qualifying)(11-7-2003)
  • Team Hollywood? hearing movie producer John Shestak (Blair With Project) and actor Anthony Edwards (formerly of ER) are expected to announce involvement in a NASCAR team for 2004 at Homestead. The names of Bradley Whitford (West Wing) and actress Rene Russo have also been mentioned as involved. The driver will be a young up-and-comer from California.(11-7-2003)
  • Get Well: Barbara Bigelow, the former Waterford Speedway [CT] Powder Puff driver is laid up and in the need of a little rehab at the St. Johnsbury Health and Rehab Center. If you’re a former fan of hers, she’d love a card. Her mail goes to 19 Lincoln St., St. Johnsbury VT 05819.(11-7-2003)
  • Final Phoenix TV Ratings: Nielsen Media Research says NBC’s broadcast of last Sunday’s Checker Auto Parts 500 Winston Cup race at Phoenix International Raceway drew a 4.7 rating and a 10 share, according to today’s Sports Business Daily. The figures represent a 7% increase over the 4.4/10 the event drew last year and a 17.5% over the 4.0/9 in 2001.(Winston Cup Scene Daily Newsletter)(11-7-2003)
  • Winston West Awards Ceremony: I don’t cover the Winston West [no idea what it’ll be called next year or who will sponsor it, won’t be Nextel] but since the last race was cancelled, thoguht this was good to post: NASCAR has announced plans to hold the NASCAR Grand National Division, Winston West Series awards ceremony at the Eldorado Hotel in Reno, Nev., on Friday, Dec. 12. The event, which had been slated for Nov. 2 in Glendale, Calif., was postponed because of the devastating wildfires in that region.(Racing West Site)(11-7-2003)
  • Another Open Wheeler to NASCAR? Open Wheel driver, Buddy Rice, on Thursday flew to Cleveland, where he was to be fitted inside a NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series Chevrolet owned by Doug Thorson [#88/#98 Team]. He is slated to test Monday at Homestead-Miami Speedway. The Craftsman season ends next Friday at the 1.5-mile oval, and Rice may make his NASCAR debut at the recently revamped track with Thorson’s regular driver, #88-Matt Crafton [who will drive for Kevin Harvick in 2004], as his teammate. “I’ve never driven anything this big,” said Rice, who lives in Phoenix. “I’m kind of excited about the opportunity. It’s a new adventure for me. It’s like when I drove Chris Neville’s Trans-Am car in 2000. I was real excited about doing that, too.” Rice drove this past season in the Indy Racing League for car owner Eddie Cheever Jr., but the team struggled and Cheever chose to replace Rice with Alex Barron for the final three races. Rice and Cheever have since mutually agreed to end their contract, which still had one year and an option remaining. “I’m a free agent,” Rice said. Rice has talked to several IRL teams, including one owned by Chip Ganassi. Ganassi, however, filled the team’s lone open seat recently by hiring Darren Manning to replace Tony Renna, who was killed last month while testing at Indianapolis Motor Speedway.(Arizona Republic)(11-7-2003)
  • And what is up with the Yeley rumor? For weeks, representatives of NASCAR Winston Cup Series owner Joe Gibbs and J.J. Yeley have engaged in contract talks, but a deal has yet to be finalized. Speculation is Yeley, who is on the verge of capturing the U.S. Auto Club Triple Crown (Silver Crown, sprint car and midget championships in the same season), and Gibbs are discussing a deal that would include ARCA, Busch and a few Cup races. The holdup may be in the number of ARCA and Busch races Yeley would do in each series.(Arizona Republic)(11-7-2003)
  • Ward is third-quarter Spirit nominee: #0-Ward Burton has been named the third-quarter nominee for the NMPA/Pocono Spirit Award, not for his well-known work on behalf of wildlife causes, but because he took time to care about one kid. While Burton’s wildlife work is public knowledge, the soft-spoken Virginia native is just as willing to lend a helping hand to those less fortunate, often outside of the spotlight. Such was the case of Dusty Duncan, a young fan who met Burton during an autograph session late last year. Duncan and his younger sister, Angie, are afflicted with cleft lip, a medical condition which can affect speech as well as self-esteem. One in 700 children are born with some type of cleft condition each year, and it is the most common facial birth defect [See info about this on my Racing Charities/Ongoing news page]. The two children are scheduled for surgery in Chicago on April 29. The award, presented each January, recognizes character and achievement in face of adversity, as well as sportsmanship and contributions to motorsports. Car owner Richard Childress received the association’s first-quarter award; the late NASCAR historian Bob Latford was named the second-quarter recipient.(The State)(11-7-2003)
  • Texas Motorsports Hall of Fame AND: Texas open-wheel racing icons A.J. Foyt Jr. and Johnny Rutherford, winners of a combined seven Indianapolis 500s, have been selected as inaugural inductees into the Texas Motorsports Hall of Fame at Texas Motor Speedway. Foyt, of Houston, and Rutherford, of Fort Worth, emerged as runaway choices for the Class of 2003, a five-member group selected by a panel of motorsports media from throughout the state. Racer/designer Carroll Shelby, recently retired IRL IndyCar Series star Gil de Ferran and NASCAR Craftsman Truck title contender Brendan Gaughan also will be honored at The Speedway Club on Jan. 27, 2004. Gaughan, of Las Vegas, will receive the Texas Motor Speedway Racer of the Year award as the individual who has been most successful at the track this season. Gaughan won both Truck Series races on the 1.5-mile quadoval in 2003, giving him a record run of four consecutive victories in Fort Worth. The Texas Motorsports Hall of Fame will be located adjacent to The Speedway Club as a year-round attraction. Groundbreaking is scheduled for early next year. All proceeds from the hall will benefit Happy Hill Farm, a residential school in Granbury for at-risk children, in association with Speedway Children’s Charities. For information on the inaugural gala in January, call (866) 463-8392 (HOF-TEXAS).(Fort Worth Star Telegram)(11-6-2003)
    AND – Vote: The Hall is also conducting an online Fan Favorite poll at www.txmhof.com from TMS Racer of the Year candidates Ryan Newman, Gil de Ferran, Brendan Gaughan, Al Unser Jr. and Joe Nemechek. Fans can win T-shirts, hats or tickets to the Inaugural Gala just for voting.(11-7-2003)
  • Special Schemes for Penske Cars IMAGE: As part of Penske Racing’s 50th win commemoration this weekend at Rockingham, Wallace’s Miller Lite Dodge will carry the familiar and popular black and gold colors that Wallace used in recording 30 of his 54 career wins (total of 36 [not 38] at Penske Racing) and in three of his five Rockingham victories.(TRPR – no image of the car…yet)
    AND also #12-Ryan Newman is supposed to run a special 50th win commemoration scheme at the Rock, nothing mentioned, but see an image of the scheme on my 2003 Winston Cup Paint Schemes – Car #’s 0-23 page.. Penske’s 50 wins [actually 53] are Wallace, 36; Newman 9; B Allison, 4; Mayfield, 3; Donohue, 1.(11-6-2003)
    IMAGE See an image of the #12 on my 2003 Winston Cup Paint Schemes – Car #’s 0-23 page..(11-7-2003)
  • A New Cup Team? NASCAR’s Nextel Cup series gets its second African-American-run team next season, this one entered by the estate of the late Roots author Alex Haley. Majority owner Sam Belnavis became the first black full-time owner this year by starting BelCar Motorsports with Travis Carter. Belnavis’ partner is Haley’s brother, George, a former U.S. ambassador to Gambia and executor of the Pulitzer Prize-winner’s estate. A statement from the estate said the venture seeks to “perpetuate … Haley’s spirit and legacy of family, brotherhood and understanding” and to foster African-American and minority participation in NASCAR. The estate is seeking sponsors for the car that would include tributes to Haley, whose novel tracing his lineage to slavery was adapted for ABC into TV’s most-watched miniseries when it was broadcast in 1977.(USA Today)(11-7-2003)

    (11-6-2003)

  • Heading to Rockingham, four drivers remain mathematically in contention — six actually. If Kenseth just walked away — see you, guys — and refused to run the final two races, Ryan Newman (329 behind) and Kevin Harvick (351 out) could still have long shots. Realistically, however, the four remaining are Kenseth, Dale Earnhardt Jr., Jimmie Johnson and Jeff Gordon, who has only the slimmest of chances.
    The fewest points (season total) Kenseth can score, at 34 per race [as long as he starts each race], is 4896. The most points fourth-place Gordon can accumulate, by winning and leading the most laps, is 4898. So here are the odds for the final three challengers.
    #24-Jeff Gordon is simplest. He must win both Rockingham and at Homestead and lead the most laps in both, with Kenseth finishing last (43rd) in both and not leading at all. Meanwhile, Gordon has to hope that Johnson finishes no better than fifth (not leading a lap) or sixth (leading at least one lap). It also is necessary that Earnhardt finish no better than eighth in either race (leading no laps) or 10th (leading at least one).
    #48-Jimmie Johnson can win it by winning and leading the most laps in both races, plus the following circumstances: Kenseth must finish no better than 33rd (leading no laps) or 31st (leading one lap). The difference between third-place Johnson and second-place Earnhardt is problematic — just 13 points. Therefore, in addition to Kenseth’s misfortunes, Johnson must hope that Earnhardt either a) finishes second without leading a lap in one or the other of the races, or that Earnhardt’s final two finishes are second and third.
    Being second, #8-Dale Earnhardt’s chances revolve around Kenseth, who as noted can average 30th place and tie it up. Earnhardt must win and lead the most laps in each of the final two, with Kenseth finishing 31st or worse in both (without leading a lap) or 33rd (with one lap led in each race).
    Kenseth’s finish average the past six races? 16.8, counting two disastrous slip-ups in October which cut his 436-point lead nearly in half. His finish average the past four? 9.5.(more at the Speed Channel site)(11-6-2003)
  • Kyle Busch to attempt Homestead: Hendrick Motorsports owner Rick Hendrick announced that 18-year-old Kyle Busch will attempt to qualify for the Nov. 16 NASCAR Winston Cup Series season finale at Homestead-Miami Speedway. In his first-ever Winston Cup event, Busch will drive Hendrick’s #60 Chevrolet with primary sponsorship from ditech.com, which has backed the Las Vegas native in the ARCA Series and NASCAR Busch Series this year. “This is an excellent way for Kyle to gain some additional experience,” Hendrick said. “Our goal is for him to spend as much time behind the wheel as possible before next season and this is a great way to accomplish that.” If he makes the field, Busch, who turned 18 on May 2, will become one of the youngest drivers to start a Winston Cup race in NASCAR’s modern era. Busch has earned a pair of runner-up finishes and five top-10 starts in six Busch Series appearances this year. He will compete in his final Busch Series event of 2003 on Saturday at North Carolina Speedway before joining the circuit full-time next season in the No. 5 Hendrick Motorsports Chevrolets. After joining Hendrick Motorsports in February, Busch also competed in seven ARCA Series events, posting two victories and two pole positions.(Hendrick Motorsports PR)(11-6-2003)
  • Delphi to be major assoc of the #5 and Terry Labonte in 2004 IMAGE: Delphi Product & Service Solutions, part of Delphi Corp. announced today that they are renewing their relationship with Hendrick Motorsports and will become a major associate sponsor of the #5 Chevrolet in the NASCAR Nextel Cup Series beginning in 2004. “We are very excited about the new sponsorship agreement with Hendrick Motorsports on the No. 5 car,” said Francisco A. (Frank) Ordonez, president, Delphi Product & Service Solutions and vice president, Delphi Corporation. “Our relationship with Hendrick Motorsports has been successful both on and off the racetrack during the past three years, and this new agreement demonstrates our commitment going forward. We are thrilled about having the Delphi brand associated with the winning tradition of the No. 5 team.” Delphi will be prominently featured on the #5 Chevy in all Nextel Cup races during the 2004 season. In addition, Delphi will be the primary sponsor of the car at the Brickyard 400, along with three other events, yet to be determined.(Yahoo Biz)(11-4-2003)
    IMAGE see an image of the new scheme on my 2004 Cup Paint Schemes page.(11-6-2003)
  • #41 Team Helping Out: #41/#19-Casey Mears will be running a special Target House paint scheme in the Busch Series race as well as the Winston Cup race this weekend at Rockingham. Target House is an innovative approach to long-term housing for families whose children are receiving life-saving treatment at St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital. The apartments allow residents the privacy of a furnished two-bedroom apartment, while offering several common areas to interact with other families and children.
    Special Helmet Design: During this weekend’s races at Rockingham, Casey Mears, will wear a helmet with a design created by one of the kids at Target House.
    Raising Money for Target House: Target is selling the Target House paint scheme souvenir die-cast cars on target.com. All proceeds from the die-cast cars will benefit Target House. A portion of sales from select, specially-marked General Mills snack products sold at Target stores will go toward Target House, with a maximum donation of $50,000.
    Gentlemen, Start Your Engines: The Target House 200 NASCAR Busch Series race on Nov. 8 will feature a starting call from the kids at Target House. During the race day, the honorary positions of grand marshal, green flag starter and pace car rider will all be served by cancer survivors who received treatment at St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital.(Chip Ganassi Racing with Felix Sabates)(11-6-2003)
  • Former Cup team facitilty to be auctioned off: The former #7 Mattei Motorsports [also former Kulwicki shop] team facilities on Tuesday, Dec 2nd. Includes the shop, office space, engine shop, paint booth. The property at 6007 Victory Lane is suitable for any number of business pursuits, which are sure to benefit from traffic counts of 40,000 vehicles a day on Highway 29 alone. This road parallels I-85, making the property convenient to shopping and restaurants. Situated on 2.3± acres in the Charlotte Motor Speedway Industrial Park, the former Winston Cup facility is a 25,200±-square foot, multi-use commercial building that boasts handsome office space and a superbly maintained engine shop, conference room, kitchen and workout room. Other bonuses include ample paved parking and landscaped grounds. More info at the www.nationalauctiongroup.com site.(11-6-2003)
  • Waltrip’s Pit Crew Wins in Phoenix; Increases Points Lead For $200,000 Bonus: Michael Waltrip’s No. 15 pit crew rebounded Sunday in Phoenix, claiming the top prize and an important 43 points in the inaugural McDonald’s Drive-Thru Pit Championship fueled by POWERade. In the chase for the $200,000 bonus that goes to the season champion, Waltrip’s pit crew has a 22-point lead over its DEI teammate – the No. 8 crew for Dale Earnhardt Jr. There are two races remaining – Rockingham (Nov. 9) and Homestead-Miami (Nov. 16). Waltrip’s NAPA pit crew, which has five McDonald’s/POWERade victories and $100,000 in prize money to date, has led the championship since the season-opening Daytona 500. “The NAPA boys stepped it up in Phoenix,” said crew chief Richard “Slugger” Labbe. “The first stop was 12.82 seconds and we gained six positions – a great indication for what the day was going to be like. Their success is a direct result of the training by Walt Smith (DEI pit crew trainer). The No. 15 team and the No. 8 team are running first and second in the McDonald’s/POWERade competition – what a testament to Walt and the preparation he makes.” Waltrip’s Chevrolet spent the least amount of time on pit road at Phoenix International Raceway – 159.435 seconds. Jamie McMurray’s Dodge was second at 162.096. Ricky Rudd’s Ford was third (165.198) and Earnhardt’s Chevy was fourth (172.933). The over-the-wall pit crew for Waltrip’s team consists of: Brian Chase (jackman), Jeff Opal (gasman), Chris Crumley (front tire changer), Greg Osborne (rear tire changer), Shawn Ward (front tire carrier), Chad Walter (rear tire carrier) and Pete Rondeau (catch can).
    See standings, top 10 from Phoenix and winners each week, see my Pit Crew News page and Pit Crew Chart.(11-6-2003)
  • DeWalt’s 2003 King of the Drill: Mike Rennie has been crowned as the 2003 DEWALT “King of the Drill.” The 34-year-old drywall contractor from Kirkwood/Seattle, WA won first place in the DEWALT “Million Dollar Challenge” national cordless screwdriving contest, sponsored by Chevy Trucks. The challenge was to see who could drive five screws into a piece of wood the fastest with a DEWALT cordless drill. Contestants had to start a timer, pick up the drill, drive the screws, and stop the timer with the drill. Rennie competed against the 13 other fastest “drivers” from the U.S. and Canada during the final contest held November 1-2 at the Phoenix International Raceway in Arizona. The 14 contestants were seeded tournament-style. A process of elimination determined the final winner. Rennie sank five screws in 7.6 seconds in the 4th round to win the event along with $25,000 and a new Chevy Silverado pick-up truck. He also had the chance to earn a $1,000,000 grand prize if he could sink five screws under 6.5 seconds during the grand finale. Standing front and center on the start/finish line, Rennie was on pace to beat the clock but got hung up on the fourth screw. He ended the million-dollar round with a time of 8.06 seconds.(DeWalt Site)(11-6-2003)
  • Green in the #43 in 2004? hearing that current #43 Petty Enterprises driver, Jeff Green, has a contract in hand to drive the 43 next year and the team is waiting for his decision.(11-6-2003)
  • Wood Brother’s team skips Pit Crew Competition: Twenty-four of the 25 teams eligible for the Union 76-Rockingham Pit Crew Competition have entered the event, scheduled for Saturday afternoon at North Carolina Speedway [the top 25 teams in Owners Points are eligible]. The #21 Wood Brothers Racing crew is the only group that did not enter the competition, after making a crew chief change this week with Roush Racing, which entered Mark Martin’s crew, led by Pat Tryson.(NASCAR.com)(11-6-2003)
  • Instructor Injured: A pit crew instructor was hit by a car Tuesday while training in Mooresville. Authorities say Lance Munksgord sustained a broken shoulder and leg after getting knocked about 60 feet. The accident happened behind a training building where the pit crew was practicing. As the truck [not car] approached, the crew jumped the wall, but the it didn’t stop. Munksgord is the pit coach for three different race teams at Ultra Motor Sports.(WSOCTV.com)(11-5-2003)
    AND it was actually a truck that hit Munksgord as the #2 team was doing pit stop practice when the accident happened. The brakes failed on the truck. The tire changer got around the front, Munksgord was carrying the front tire and got hit. He was released from the hospital the night that the accident happened with a broken shoulder, right arm and right leg and some miscellaneous stiches. Get well Lance!(11-6-2003)
  • Rusty’s tire changer to race: Rob Fuller, rear-tire changer & assistant shock specialist for Rusty’s team, is competing in this weekend’s North/South modified “shootout” at the Concord Motorsports Park. He is to drive a Jamie Tomaino-owned car.(TRPR)(11-6-2003)
  • Rusty’s son at the Snowball Derby: Stephen Wallace, Rusty’s 16-year-old son, is hoping to compete in the annual prestigious Snowball Derby at Five Flags Speedway in Pensacola, Fla., the first weekend of next month. “Trying to put a deal together to run Richie Wauters car down there,” Stephen reported. “Thing is that we need some sponsorship to make the trip and we’re looking for it now.” Rusty participated in the annual racing classic several times. His best finish was second (to winner Freddy Fryar) in the 1979 edition.(TRPR)(11-6-2003)
  • From the Archives: On October 31, 1965 at North Carolina Speedway, Curtis Turner was making his seventh start since returning to NASCAR Grand National (now NASCAR Winston Cup) racing in September. He was driving a first-class Ford for the famed Wood Brothers, but Turner had to be a bit rusty and, after all, he was over 40 years old, very unusual for race drivers in that era when most had retired by their late 30s. Turner qualified fourth in the first series event at the venue, but could he win? He hadn’t seen a NASCAR victory lane since March 1959. In contention for most of the race, Turner took the lead for the final time on Lap 474. The last 25 laps saw the “old pro” wage a duel with young upstart Cale Yarborough. It was a classic scene of age and wisdom against youth and nerve, with Turner winning out. The race closed a chapter in NASCAR history. It was Turner’s last win and the final victory for any of NASCAR’s pioneer drivers. A new generation was coming on, such as Yarborough. Gone from the headlines were the names of Flock, Roberts, Thomas and Weatherly. In a year or two, names like Bobby Allison, LeeRoy Yarbrough, Richard Petty and David Pearson would dominate.(NASCAR PR)(11-6-2003)
  • Kenny to visit a school: Kenny Wallace will visit Richmond County Senior High School Thursday, November 6th as part of “YJ Stinger’s Race to Bee Safe” program. The Race to Bee Safe program is designed to teach teenagers the importance of safe driving and good car maintenance. Students sign a promise to practice safe driving. The promise will act as an informal contract between the student and the student’s parents. The promises will also be used in a drawing for prizes, including tickets to the Nov. 8th Target House 200 NASCAR Busch Series event at North Carolina Speedway.(BDR PR)(11-6-2003)

    (11-5-2003)

  • #10 Cup Crew to be replaced? with #10 Busch Crew? UPDATE: The #10 MBV Motorsports crew may be facing a major shakeup, according to sources who say that incoming driver Scott Riggs may be bringing his Busch crew and crew chief Doug Randolph along with him. Current crew chief, Jay Guy, says he and the crew haven’t been told what’s in the future.(Winston Salem Journal)(11-1-2003)
    UPDATE – Randolph leaving the #10: #10 ppc Racing crew chief, Doug Randolph will leave the team at the end of the 2003 season. The driver of the #10, Scott Riggs is leaving also, moving up to the Cup Series.(FoxSports Net’s Totally NASCAR) Rumors have Randolph going to the #10 MBV Cup team with Riggs.(11-5-2003)
  • Gordon Wins 4th Quarter Voting for USG Person of the Year: The Jeff Gordon Foundation originated in 1999 with a mission to support the physical, social and intellectual needs of children and their families. During the month of October, Gordon, through his “An Evening with Jeff Gordon” dinner – which included the opportunity to bid on a Signature Edition Jeff Gordon Monte Carlo – and his “3rd Annual Go-Kart Challenge,” raised nearly $300,000 for the Foundation. In addition to these contributions, the Foundation donated $60,000 to the Hendrick Marrow Foundation. For his efforts assisting charitable organizations, Gordon has been named the 2003 Fourth Quarter NASCAR USG Person of the Year. The Jeff Gordon Foundation supports Riley’s Hospital for Children, the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society, the Make-A-Wish Foundation and the Hendrick Marrow Foundation.
    For the purpose of determining the NASCAR USG Person of the Year Award winner, the NASCAR Winston Cup season has been divided into four quarters in which drivers are nominated for their off-track efforts. A select group of panelists will select one of the four quarterly finalists as the NASCAR USG Person of the Year. This award will be presented the week of the NASCAR Winston Cup Series Awards Ceremony in New York City, along with a prize of $100,000. The prize will be divided evenly between the driver and the charity of his/her choice. The 2003 First, Second and Third Quarter NASCAR USG Person of the Year winners were Ricky Craven, Elliott Sadler and Dale Jarrett, respectively.
    In addition to the NASCAR USG Person of the Year, USG also sponsors the USG Driver of the Race Award, which goes to the eligible driver who wins each of the 36 NASCAR Winston Cup championship events. Each USG Driver of the Race Award winner receives $2,500 with an additional $2,500 going to the charity of his/her choice.(NASCAR PR)(11-5-2003)
  • Mayfield in the #79 Busch Series Dodge at the Rock: Evernham Motorsports will field the #79 Mountain Dew Dodge in the Busch Series at Rockingham. Mayfield will drive the entry and Sammy Johns will serve as crew chief. In addition to Mountain Dew, Dodge, Ingersoll-Rand, Cometic Gaskets, Action Performance, Freightliner, Siemens, Valvoline, and PPG will serve as associate sponsors on the No. 79 Dodge. The entry is the first for Evernham Motorsports in the Busch Series.(Evernham Motorsports PR)(11-5-2003)
  • Testing at Kentucky UPDATE: a few NASCAR Winston Cup Series and Busch Series teams will test at Kentucky Speedway on Wed-Thurs, Nov 5-6. Mark Green will test the #10 Valvoline car, #79 Arnold Motorsports, not sure which driver since Billy Bigley, Jr. and the team split last week and Billy “Catfish”Parker and Hank Parker, Jr. for Rusty Wallace’s 2004 Busch team.(Kentucky Speedway PR)(11-4-2003)
    UPDATE: Billy “Catfish” Parker prepared for his 2004 NASCAR Busch Series debut with Rusty Wallace, Inc., by opening a two-day test at Kentucky Speedway today. Parker shared the track with NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series title contender Ted Musgrave and veteran Mark Green. Musgrave helped Ultra Motorsports Winston Cup team with research-and-development work while Green shook down a race machine for MBV Motorsports.(Kentucky Speedway PR)(11-5-2003)
  • It’s Back: This weekend #20-Tony Stewart is scheduled to drive the car that NASCAR impounded at Texas. It would be the first time the car has been run since NASCAR returned it. NASCAR officials impounded the car after it failed a pre-event inspection when the rear end was found to be offset beyond the rules. Series officials studied the car for several weeks before returning it.(Roanoke Times)(11-5-2003)
  • Cars to the Chassis Dyno at Phoenix; #20 had the most power UPDATE 2: NASCAR put nine cars on the chassis dyno after the race, to compared effective horsepower at the rear wheels: the Dodges of #12-Ryan Newman, #9-Bill Elliott and #22-Scott Wimmer, Fords of #97-Kurt Busch, #17-Matt Kenseth and #38-Elliott Sadler, and Chevys of #8-Dale Earnhardt Jr., #48-Jimmie Johnson and #20-Tony Stewart.(Winston Salem Journal)(11-3-2003)
    UPDATE: Of the nine cars NASCAR tested on the chassis dynamometer after the Phoenix race, Tony Stewart’s #20 had the most horsepower.(Yahoo Sports/Sporting News)(11-3-2003)
    UPDATE 2: The preliminary figures from Sunday’s chassis-dyno runs showed Tony Stewart with the strongest engine, pulling 742 horsepower at the rear wheels, and Kurt Busch with the weakest, 702 horsepower, according to sources. That’s a sizable difference.(Winston Salem Journal)(11-5-2003)
  • A Labonte in Office: Political newcomer Robert Labonte knocked off an incumbent and another challenger in Trinity’s [CN] Ward 3 City Council race, according to incomplete and unofficial returns Tuesday night. Labonte, father of NASCAR drivers Bobby and Terry Labonte, captured 605 votes. His nearest challenger was incumbent Carlton Boyles, who received 313 votes. A third candidate, Buddy Maness, received 151 votes.(New and Record)(11-5-2003)

    (11-4-2003)

  • Brick Cars For Sale: #11 Brett Bodine are offering the limited edition “Brick Car” Racing Champions diecast for sale on Brett’s Bodine’s website.(11-4-2003)
  • Greg Steadman Takes Helm Of #45 Dodge Veteran to lead G-P team for rest of season: Veteran Greg Steadman will serve as crew chief of the #45 Georgia-Pacific/Brawny Dodge for the final two races of the 2003 NASCAR Winston Cup season. Steadman, who has previously served as crew chief of the #43 and #44 Dodges at Petty Enterprises, had been serving as shop foreman. “Greg has done a great job in the shop but he realizes we need him back on the road,” said Kyle Petty, driver of the #45 and CEO of Petty Enterprises. “As a crew chief with both the #43 and #44, he did a tremendous job, and is a great leader. We are fortunate to have him available. “We have not been able to build on our improvement in 2002. We feel Greg can help us get back on the right track,” Petty added.(Williams Company PR)(11-4-2003)
  • 2003 Union 76/Rockingham World Pit Crew Competition Pit Road Champion Will Be Crowned At NCS: The quest for a championship in the 2003 Winston Cup season isn’t limited to Sunday races. Pit crews, rather than drivers, are in the spotlight November 8, 2003, at North Carolina Speedway for the 36th annual 76/Rockingham World Pit Crew Competition. The purse for this year’s event is $100,000, with $30,000 going to the winning team. Setting a new world record will result in a $10,000 bonus.
    Reigning champion – winning consecutively in 2001 and 2002 – is Roush Racing’s No. 17 DeWalt pit crew for current Winston Cup points leader Matt Kenseth. The DeWalt crew bettered their own world record last year by .862 seconds, becoming the first crew to break the 16-second barrier since teams began changing four tires. The current world record, and the time teams will aim to beat in 2003, is 16.823 seconds.
    Past champions of this elite event include such notable teams as Joe Gibbs Racing, Hendrick Motorsports and Petty Enterprises. Richard Childress Racing and the Wood Brothers organization each won the championship a record four times. Roush Racing holds two titles with the No. 17 DeWalt team, but three 76/Rockingham World Pit Crew Championships overall.(Elevation Motorsports PR), see full PR and more info on my Pit Crew News page for past few years Pit Crew Championships results. ALSO – no word on if Sunoco will take over the Competition in 2004 since Union 76 is leaving at the end of 2003.(11-4-2003)
  • Delphi to be major assoc of the #5 and Terry Labonte in 2004: Delphi Product & Service Solutions, part of Delphi Corp. announced today that they are renewing their relationship with Hendrick Motorsports and will become a major associate sponsor of the #5 Chevrolet in the NASCAR Nextel Cup Series beginning in 2004. “We are very excited about the new sponsorship agreement with Hendrick Motorsports on the No. 5 car,” said Francisco A. (Frank) Ordonez, president, Delphi Product & Service Solutions and vice president, Delphi Corporation. “Our relationship with Hendrick Motorsports has been successful both on and off the racetrack during the past three years, and this new agreement demonstrates our commitment going forward. We are thrilled about having the Delphi brand associated with the winning tradition of the No. 5 team.” Delphi will be prominently featured on the #5 Chevy in all Nextel Cup races during the 2004 season. In addition, Delphi will be the primary sponsor of the car at the Brickyard 400, along with three other events, yet to be determined.(Yahoo Biz)(11-4-2003)
  • #71 at the Rock: The #71 Marcis Racing team plans to be at North Carolina Speedway for the Pop Secret 400 on November 7th-9th.  Tim Sauter will be driving the #71 Monte Carlo, sponsored this weekend by Aran Trading and Naples Trucking. The car is the same brand new Chevy Monte Carlo that was used at Brickyard and the washed out attempts at New Hampshire and Dover. The engine for Rockingham will be an in-house Marcis engine.(Marcis Racing Site)(11-3-2003)
    IMAGE: see an image of the car on my 2003 Winston Cup Paint Schemes – Cars #’s 24-99 page.(11-4-2003)
  • Hermie to honor Dad: #02-Hermie Sadler plans on competing in both races this weekend at Rockingham. In the Winston Cup race, Sadler will be sporting a “retro” paint scheme, as the car will be painted gold and black to honor his Dad, Herman Sadler, Jr. for all of his efforts to further mine and Elliott’s racing careers. The Gold and Black “Weekend Warrior” was owned by Sadler’s Dad in the 70’s and won over 100 feature races on dirt tracks across the Southeast. The car was driven by such drivers as his Uncle Bud Elliott, J.E. Beard (now an engine builder at #4 Morgan-McClure) and James Hylton. “That car just sitting in the shop brings back a lot of memories of when I was 4-5 years old going to the races. It has instigated many stories being told about the good old days. We are looking forward to carrying those colors this weekend.” said Sadler.(11-4-2003)
  • Hot Wheels and Roush Racing: Mattel and Roush Racing announced that the parties have extended their mass retail market die-cast through the 2006 race season. The agreement also includes exclusive rights to the Wood Brothers famed Number 21 program based out of Stuart, Virginia. Team owner Jack Roush, President of Roush Racing, Geoff Smith, Tony DaDante, Vice President / General Manager of Hot Wheels® Racing and NASCAR drivers Mark Martin, Jeff Burton, Kurt Busch, Greg Biffle and current NASCAR points leader Matt Kenseth were in attendance for this special occasion. Hot Wheels cars thundered into the toy world in 1968. Nearly 35 years later, Hot Wheels is a global lifestyle brand and a leader in the design, manufacture and marketing of vehicles, playsets and track sets. In addition to leading the way with speed, power and performance, Hot Wheels cars are also Cool Collectibles for adults. For the latest information on Hot Wheels® products, make a break on the information superhighway and cruise over to www.hotwheels.com.(Mattel PR) Also, see info about the Hot Wheel Hall of Fame in my Hall of Fame/Museums page.(11-4-2003)
  • NASCAR Hire: NASCAR announced that Paul Sparrow has joined its licensing division as director of retail development. Sparrow, who was director of marketing and retail development with the National Football League, will be responsible for developing new retail relationships as well as programs and promotions that sell NASCAR-licensed products to retailers.(Winston Cup Scene Daily Newsletter)(11-4-2003)

    (11-3-2003)

  • Pit Accident at Phoenix: During the a pit stop on lap 120 in the Checker Auto Parts 500 at Phoenix International Raceway when the #40 Coors Light Dodge, there was an accident when the air hose was tangled with another competitor’s car. Mike Motil, tire specialist and catch can man for the #40 Dodge, was taken to the infield care center after experiencing pain in his knee. He was then taken to the local hospital and released after x-rays were taken.(Chip Ganassi Racing with Felix Sabates PR).
    Also: been told that Motil left knee was diagnosed for having torn ligaments and will receive further test when he gets back to Mooresville, NC.(11-3-2003)
  • Schrader to the #23? HOWEVER: [hi Mags!] Kenny Schrader [currently with the #49 BAM Racing team] is being courted for a ride with Bill Davis as teammate with rookie [#22] Scott Wimmer, according to sources.(Winston Salem Journal), past rumors have current #23 driver, Kenny Wallace and sponsor Stacker 2 going to the Busch Series, another rumor had Steve Park under consideration for the #23 ride.(11-3-2003)
    HOWEVER hearing there may be a non-change in the works…meaning that Kenny Wallace and Stacker 2 may be staying in the Cup Series and not moving to the Busch or Truck Series.(11-3-2003)
  • Biffle to RCR? UPDATE – back with the #16: Greg Biffle may be considering a $3 million deal to drive for Richard Childress, according to sources. But Geoff Smith, head of Roush Racing, says he expects the Winston Cup rookie to be back with Jack Roush next season.(full story and quotes at the Winston Salem Journal) and see another article at ThatsRacin.com: Biffle’s remarks: Attempt at humor or foreshadowing?(11-1-2003)
    UPDATE: from a NASCAR.com conversation: Q) First of all, we’d love to know your plans, your for-sure plans next year? What’s been decided? What’s going on with you? A) Greg Biffle: Well, right now the for-sure plans are to run for a championship in the 16 car next year. Preliminary plans are to run quite a few Busch races. We haven’t announced that yet, but we’re trying to get that finalized. Hopefully in the next little bit, we’ll be able to make an announcement of how many races we’re going to run and who the sponsor is going to be. We’re really excited about both programs for next year.(NASCAR.com)(11-3-2003)
  • Best Western theOfficial Hotel of NASCAR and to the #15 as an assoc in 2004: Best Western International, Inc. has entered into a three-year partnership with NASCAR to become the sport’s first-ever Official Hotel, beginning January 1, 2004. Best Western will also serve as an associate sponsor of reigning Daytona 500 champion Michael Waltrip and the #15 NAPA Chevrolet for the 2004 NASCAR NEXTEL Cup season. Waltrip is a driver for Dale Earnhardt Inc.(Yahoo Finance)(11-3-2003)
  • BAM Announcement at Homestead? UPDATE none planned: BAM Racing hopes to announce at Homestead that it has a sponsorship deal that will enable the organization to add a second car and a teammate for Ken Schrader. Team owners Beth Ann and Tony Morgenthau are optimistic that the #49 car will have two major sponsors to split the season, and that a full-time sponsor will fund the second car. AT&T will remain as a major associate sponsor for Schrader’s car. BAM already has benefited this season from the “full technical support” the team receives from Dodge, including wind-tunnel time, track-test time and additional engineering support from the manufacturer.(Yahoo Sports/Sporting News)(11-3-2003)
    UPDATE: BAM Racing is getting closer to sponsorship for 2004 and is in discussions with several potential sponsors right now but does not have an announcement scheduled for Homestead, and no announcement is currently planned for there.(source)(11-3-2003)
  • NASCAR Peformance Brand Announced: NASCAR on Monday announced the launch of the NASCAR Performance brand. Targeted to installers and consumers, NASCAR Performance will appear on more than 25 aftermarket brands such as Mobil 1 oil, Goodyear belts and hoses, Moog Chassis parts, Exide batteries and Wix Filters. The brand will serve as a NASCAR “seal of approval” for quality and reliability. NASCAR made the announcement at the annual AAPEX meeting here. NASCAR licenses its mark to automotive aftermarket products to provide a point of difference in a highly competitive retail environment. Surveys show that NASCAR fans are three times more likely to purchase products bearing the NASCAR mark. NASCAR Performance products are available nationwide through installers, dealers and retail outlets. The new brand will be made visible through the NASCAR Performance Network — a marketing program that promotes vehicle maintenance and directs consumers to nearby service facilities. The network, housed on NASCAR.com, features a shop locator service for driving directions, store hours, services and certifications. An ad campaign (TV, print, radio and internet) for the NASCAR Performance Network uses NASCAR crew chiefs such as Greg Zipadelli of Joe Gibbs Racing, Slugger Labbe of Dale Earnhardt Inc., and Ryan Pemberton of MB2 Motorsports.(for full release, see NASCAR.com)(11-3-2003)
  • No Points for the #7 at Phoenix? UPDATE: Unless NASCAR issues a reprieve, Jimmy Spencer and the #7 Ultra Motorsports team won’t earn any points in this Sunday’s Checker Auto Parts 500, not even if they win the race. Spencer’s team is listed as a “post-entry” this weekend because NASCAR did not receive the official entry blank before the deadline, which is seven days before qualifying. Teams are required to submit an entry blank for each race, with the deadline anywhere from seven to 10 days before qualifying. If an entry blank is received after the deadline, neither driver nor owner points are awarded. Ultra Motorsports owner Jim Smith and crew chief Tommy Baldwin met briefly with Darby after Winston Cup Happy Hour on Saturday. But Smith said nothing had been worked out yet, but he was hopeful NASCAR would decide to award the team points. Entry blanks are typically mailed in, and Winston Cup director John Darby understands that problems can arise. Darby said the any change in the status of the team would be released when the official race report is sent out Monday. “They’re currently listed as a post-entry, but that just on the very surface,” Darby said. “We will go back and understand the whole process and try to make sense of it all before we make a final decision.”(NASCAR.com)(11-1-2003)
    UPDATE – No Points: per the ‘official results’ on NASCAR.com, the #7 car is listed as an PE – Post Entry and didn’t get any driver/owner points for finishing 40th at Phoenix.(11-3-2003)
  • What Happened to DJ: been getting a lot of question what happened to #88-Dale Jarrett at the end of the race when he fell from the top 10 after the last restart to finish 29th. From the UPS site: “Dale Jarrett and the #88 UPS Racing Team were poised to turn in a hard-fought top-10 finish in the Checker Auto Parts 500 at Phoenix International Raceway with less than 10 laps to go. A flat right, front tire dropped Jarrett from eighth in the running order to 29th where he eventually finished the 312-lap event.”(11-3-2003)
  • Yeley and Gibbs close to a deal? It’s looking more and more as if JJ Yeley may have found a home at Joe Gibbs Racing. Yeley, a Phoenix native now living in an Indianapolis suburb, could sign a contract with NASCAR Winston Cup Series team owner Joe Gibbs by week’s end. Yeley, 27, is on the verge of becoming only the second driver in U.S. Auto Club history to capture the circuit’s “Triple Crown,” which encompasses winning Silver Crown, sprint car and midget championships in the same season. He visited with Gibbs on Sunday at the Checker Auto Parts 500 at Phoenix International Raceway. If a deal is consummated, team President J.D. Gibbs, Joe’s son, said it likely would include a 2004 season of mostly Automobile Racing Club of America and Busch Series races. Yeley also could be entered in a few Winston Cup events, J.D. Gibbs said. “We think he can wheel a car pretty good,” J.D. Gibbs said. “We’ve tested him, and we’re hoping to put something together. We think we have a good chance to sign him. I think he’s got a great future, and I’d love for it to be with us. Tony (Stewart) and Jeff Gordon came over from open wheel, and what JJ has done in USAC leads you to believe he could do the same thing. We think the world of him.”(Arizona Republic)(11-3-2003)
  • Dale Jr. off to film commercials: #8-Dale Earnhardt Jr. flew to Los Angeles soon after the Victory Lane ceremonies. He is starring in two new Budweiser commercials to be filmed this week in L.A. before he returns to the east coast for the Rockingham race weekend.(fingerprint inc/Budweiser PR)(11-3-2003)
  • #9 Crew Chief to Yates? Mike Ford, #9-Bill Elliott’s crew chief, may be leaving Elliott’s team and moving to Robert Yates’ team to work with Dale Jarrett and crew chief Shawn Parker, according to sources.(Winston Salem Journal), may have something to do with the past rumors of Tommy Baldwin Jr. going to the #9 team.(11-3-2003)
  • More Yates Changes….New GM: #38, #88 team owners, Robert Yates has replaced himself as G.M. of Robert Yates Racing with Eddie D’Hondt. Both RYR teams finished last season in the top 10 in points and they combined for three wins. This year, Dale Jarrett and Elliott Sadler have struggled to stay in the top 25 in points. “I left Eddie a big mess to clean up, but I feel we have found someone who can organize and motivate the team without being a ‘yes man.’ It was time for a change,” Yates says. D’Hondt, 44, previously worked for Bill Elliott and Ray Evernham in Winston Cup and most recently oversaw Damon Lusk’s Busch team, whose crew chief is Tommy Baldwin Jr.(Yahoo Sports/Sporting News)(11-3-2003)
  • Points Change? UPDATE: Next season’s race winners will likely receive a 10 or 15 point bonus, and drivers finishing 37th or lower will likely receive the same points, if NASCAR goes ahead with its plans to revise the Winston/Nextel Cup point system. But then maybe the point system doesn’t need revision. After all, the Busch tour uses the same system, and five men still have a shot at the title.(Winston Salem Journal)(10-27-2003)
    UPDATE: NASCAR will change its point system for 2004. An announcement could come as early as the Winston Cup awards banquet next month in New York, but more likely it will be made during the annual media tour in January. The new system is expected to award more points for wins and discourage drivers in damaged cars from returning to the track just to collect additional points.(Yahoo Sports/Sporting News)(11-3-2003)
  • Dale Jr. First: #8-Dale Earnhardt, Jr. became the first second-generation NASCAR Winston Cup Series winner at Phoenix International Raceway in winning Sunday’s Checker Auto Parts 500.(PIR PR)(11-3-2003)
  • More on the Hendrick/MBV/MB2 relationship: Rick Hendrick’s engineering brain trust is working overtime to help the Johnny Benson-Jay Frye-James Rocco team make it to the top 25 in the final standings, because that’s the cutoff mark for NASCAR’s special financial plans, including the TV plan. Hendrick officials held detailed planning sessions with Benson’s crew this weekend. However, there are growing questions about possible ownership changes at the Frye-Rocco team and the Joe Nemechek-Frye team, with increasing indications that the owners may sell the 2-car operation.(Winston Salem Journal)(11-3-2003)
  • More Teams For Roush? Roush hinted yesterday he might expand to nine or 10 teams next year. He currently fields seven NASCAR teams – five in Winston Cup and two in Busch [actually Truck, none in Busch]. Asked if he would have more than five Cup teams, Roush responded: “Well, right now it’s six if you count the Wood Brothers. But it might be more than that.” Before expanding, the most pressing issue for Roush still remains signing a primary sponsor for the No. 99 of Burton.(Richmond Times Dispatch)(11-3-2003)
  • Cars to the Chassis Dyno at Phoenix; #20 had the most power: NASCAR put nine cars on the chassis dyno after the race, to compared effective horsepower at the rear wheels: the Dodges of #12-Ryan Newman, #9-Bill Elliott and #22-Scott Wimmer, Fords of #97-Kurt Busch, #17-Matt Kenseth and #38-Elliott Sadler, and Chevys of #8-Dale Earnhardt Jr., #48-Jimmie Johnson and #20-Tony Stewart.(Winston Salem Journal)(11-3-2003)
    AND Of the nine cars NASCAR tested on the chassis dynamometer after the Phoenix race, Tony Stewart’s #20 had the most horsepower.(Yahoo Sports/Sporting News)(11-3-2003)
  • Crew Chief Flip-Flop? UPDATE: MRN Radio race coverage reported early in the race at Phoenix that #6 Roush Racing crew chief Ben Leslie will take over the crew chief job at the #21 Wood Brother’s team for driver Ricky Rudd and that #21 crew chief, Pat Tryson will assume the crew chief duties of the #6 team for driver Mark Martin, effective, Monday November 3rd.(MRN Radio Race Coverage)(11-2-2003)
    UPDATE: Roush Racing and Wood Brothers Racing announced today that they will switch crew chiefs on the No. 6 and No. 21 racing teams. Effective Monday morning Ben Leslie will become the crew chief of the No. 21 Motorcraft Racing Team with driver Ricky Rudd, while Pat Tryson will take over the crew chief duties for the No. 6 Viagra Racing Team with driver Mark Martin.(Ford Racing)(11-3-2003)
  • Pennzoil and Roush in 2004 MORE: Acting to position Pennzoil motor oil squarely at the forefront of NASCAR competition, Roush Racing and Pennzoil have announced a lubrication sponsorship and technology partnership across all Roush Racing teams in all NASCAR series. The program will include Pennzoil participation and associate identification on all Roush Racing NASCAR Nextel Cup (NNC) teams, beginning with the Daytona 500 in 2004. Additionally, Roush Racing will feature a special Pennzoil design and paint scheme on the #16 Greg Biffle NNC entry at Pocono Raceway next June. Capping the sponsorship announcement was the news that Mark Martin, the winningest driver in the history of the NASCAR Series will ‘unretire’ to race the Pennzoil colors as part of a three driver Busch Series ‘Pennzoil Super Team’ consisting of Martin, Matt Kenseth and Jeff Burton. The three drivers will combine to race different Pennzoil entries in nine Busch Series events during 2004, beginning with Mark Martin at Daytona in February. The Pennzoil-Roush partnership draws on Pennzoil’s advanced lubrication technologies, and will provide Roush Racing with not just lubrication products but also with the expertise to maximize the performance side of the engineering equation. An announcement regarding the entire nine race ‘Pennzoil’ Busch Series schedule for Mark Martin, Matt Kenseth and Jeff Burton will be made at a later time. Mark Martin will kick off the 2004 Busch Series season at Daytona in a Pennzoil Roush Ford.(Pennzoil PR)(11-2-2003)
    More on the deal…and a Kodak mention: The money for the new Roush sponsorship is estimated at $10 million, enough for associate sponsorship decals on all Roush cars and for a 9-race Busch program that will kick off at Daytona. Mark Martin, Jeff Burton and Matt Kenseth will each run three Busch races. “This is a full 10-car associate sponsorship,” said Geoff Smith, the head of Roush Racing. “So this is a different strategy, and there are different advantages. You have Coke with multiple drivers and now Pennzoil with multiple drivers.” Kodak has been interested in a similar program, instead of backing a single team.(Winston Salem Journal), see an image of the scheme on my 2004 Busch Series Paint Schemes page.(11-3-2003)
  • Dale Jr. gets an eyefull: After winning the Checker 500, Dale Earnhardt Jr. conducted a press conference in the infield media center, which is located behind pit road in the Phoenix International Raceway infield. One side of the press-conference area is bordered by windows. Early in the question-and-answer session, a young woman walked up to the window and bared a part of her anatomy that is typically concealed by clothing. A large contingent of the media — and, of course, Junior himself — witnessed the incident, which set off quite the raucous scene. Earnhardt Jr. waited for the whoops and laughter to subside; then, with a sense of timing that Bob Hope would have envied, leaned into the microphone and said, “The demographic of this sport is changing.” Meanwhile, the ample young woman was being led away outside.(Gaston Gazette)(11-3-2003)
  • Johnson’s Donation: #48-Jimmie Johnson promised to donate $48 dollars – the amount of his car number – for every lap he completed Sunday to the American Red Cross’ Disaster Relief Fund. He completed all 312 laps so he will cut a check for $15,076 to help the wildfire victims near his Southern California home.(Augusta Chronicle)(11-3-2003)

 


 

  • (11-2-2003)

  • Earnhardt Jr. wins at Phoenix: #8-Dale Earnhardt Jr. won the Checker Auto Parts 500 Saturday at Phoenix International Raceway, his first victory an a non-restrictor plate track since Dover in September 2001. #48-Jimmie Johnson finished 2nd, followed by #12-Ryan Newman [the pole sitter], #97-Kurt Busch [who led the most laps] and #15-Michael Waltrip. The victory also helped Earnhardt Jr. solidify his hold on second in the Winston Cup standings behind #17-Matt Kenseth, who had his strongest run since a fourth at Bristol in August. Kenseth, who started 37th on Sunday, finished sixth and now leads Earnhardt Jr. by 228 points with just two races left in the season. Kenseth needs to finish only 30th or higher in the final two races to clinch the championship [or leaves Rockingham with a 186 points lead]. There were ten caution flags, tying the Phoenix Cup race record set in 1991, the 66 caution laps are a new record.(full story at ThatsRacin.com)
    Scheduled Race Re-Air: on Speed Channel:
    one-hour recap/Fast Forward on Wednesday, November 5th at 7:00pm/et and again on November 6th at 1:00am/et;
    and a full three-hour race show will re-air at 3:00pm/et on Thursday, November 6th
    See my Checker Auto Parts 500 Race Info Page for race results links, top 10, lap leaders, drivers out of race/off track, cautions/narrative, notes, lucky dog ‘winners’ and much more.
    Race Results at
    Jayski’s Phoenix Race Results Page
    and see full standings at Jayski’s Drivers/Owners Points after Phoenix.(11-2-2003)
  • NASCAR.com’s Smith heading to Ireland UPDATE: Snickers Marathon is running into the NASCAR family in a unique way as it sponsors NASCAR.com writer Marty Smith as he travels to Ireland to conquer the 26 miles that encompass the Dublin Marathon, but the product is already a ‘distant relative’ to stock car racing. Masterfoods USA, which produces Snickers Marathon, also produces its sister product and high profile NASCAR sponsor M&M’s Chocolate Candies. M&M’s currently sponsors Elliott Sadler and the #38 RYR Ford Taurus. “I decided about a year ago that running a marathon was a challenge that I wanted to conquer, and here I am headed to Dublin to take on the 26 most grueling miles of my life,” Smith said. “I’ve never attempted anything the magnitude of a marathon before, but with a hectic lifestyle and an intense job, I’ve had days where I honestly felt like I had logged 52 miles in a day, so I really felt like I could do this. People everywhere are like me and put in a lot of miles in an ordinary day,” Smith continued. “They don’t intend to cover so much ground…it just kind of happens. Snickers Marathon not only helps me in training, it helps me get through a normal day.” Snickers Marathon didn’t target Smith for a sponsorship, but as an ‘everyday marathoner’ he was the perfect fit to represent their new product abroad in the 24th Adidas Dublin Marathon in an effort to raise money for the Arthritis Foundation as a member of the “Joints in Motion” training team.
    Smith follows the NASCAR circuit around week to week translating the day to day happenings into words for 8 million fans that frequent the official website of NASCAR – NASCAR.com. Smith’s usual sit-down job is very time consuming and the travel involved is intense. Being on the road for 30 weekends a year means logging hundreds of miles in airport terminals, from parking lots to media centers and chasing driver celebrities for interviews. Though he’s never run 26 consecutive miles, there is not doubt he worn out more than one pair of sneakers in his ‘ordinary’ line of work.(Elevation Group PR)(10-15-2003)
    UPDATE: hadn’t gotten an update on this, so did some searching and founs that Martin ‘Marty’ Smith finished 3152 [time was 4:19:15] out of 6278 finishers [and over 10,000 entrants – many fell out] at the 24th Adidas Dublin Marathon in Dublin, Ireland. The woman Jayski sponsored, Jamiee Pearce [GEM Store, Dennisville, NJ] was 5124th. The race was won by Onesmus Kilonzo with a time of 2:17:03 – a tad over 11mph.(24th Adidas Dublin Marathon site)(11-2-2003)
  • Gordon’s Car Cleared of Traction Control: Perhaps you noticed last week’s race winner Jeff Gordon having difficulty completing a proper burnout after winning last week’s race. You might have also noticed Gordon was able to run through Atlanta Motor Speedway’s corners so high that he was kicking up dirt and dust, but never pulled the car’s rear end into the wall. If so, you were not alone as a vast number of those who toil in the Winston Cup garage noticed these things as well, including NASCAR officials. According to NASCAR PR staff, Gordon’s car was torn down, inspected with a fine toothed comb and special attention paid to the ignition system. NASCAR officials did take the rear end from Gordon’s car into the Conover, N.C., R&D center, where the unit, away from the prying eyes of the competitors, was cleared later in the week. This confiscation was not widely publicized within the industry, but few were surprised when they did hear the news. One driver simply said of the impounded piece, “It doesn’t surprise me. I was running as hard as I could and I certainly couldn’t pull half the moves that [Gordon] was. Nope. It doesn’t surprise me, that they took it and that they didn’t find anything wrong.”(Ford Racing)(11-2-2003)
  • Fireball Site: This site is dedicated to the legendary Daytona Beach driver, Fireball Roberts, who captured the 1962 Daytona 500: www.fireballroberts.com.
    See other past/retired driver site links on my Retired Drivers News/Links page and tribute links on my Driver Tribute page.(11-2-2003)
  • StockCarFans.com – Rumblings – Phoenix: #8-Dale Earnhardt Jr powered past Jimmie Johnson on lap 252 and led the final 51 circuits to capture today’s Checker Auto Parts 500 presented by Havoline at Phoenix International Raceway. It was the second win for Little E this season (he captured Talladega in April), the 9th of his career (5 plates and 4 non-plates), and the 15th for DEI. Jr. is now tied for 47th on the all-time win list….and to say that crew looked happy in Victory Lane would be an understatement!
    #97-Kurt Busch (4th) had his best finish and first Top-5 since he won at Bristol in August.
    #17-Matt Kenseth (6th….and more about him later) had his best finish since he was 4th at Bristol in August.
    #99-Jeff Burton (8th) had his best finish since he was 4th at Richmond in September.
    #22-Scott Wimmer (9th) had his career-best finish today. His previous best was a 17th at Talladega in October of 2002. He also gives us 41 drivers to score a Top-10 this season….last year’s number was 42.
    #6-Mark Martin (10th) had his best finish and first Top-10 since he was 10th at Watkins Glen in August.
    #40-Sterling Marlin (11th) had his best finish since he was 10th at Pocono in July.
    #25-Brian Vickers (13th) had his career-best (albeit short) finish today. His previous best was 33rd at Lowe’s Motor Speedway last month.
    #14-Larry Foyt (28th) tied his career-best finish today. He also finished 28th at Dover in June.
    STREAKIN….
    Jeff Gordon has 7 Top-10’s in a row.
    Jimmie Johnson has 5 Top-10’s in a row.
    Ryan Newman has 8 Top-10’s in the last 9 races.
    Dale Earnhardt Jr has 5 Top-10’s in the last 6 races.
    This Week’s Elevator….UP: Operator of the Week (for the second week in a row) is Matt Kenseth (+31), followed by Tony Raines (+22). DOWN: The Big Dropper was Casey Mears (-33), followed by Rusty Wallace (-28), Jeremy Mayfield (-27), Joe Nemechek (-21), and Ward Burton (-21). Kenseth has now clinched no worse than a tie in the Op of the year category….this was #5.
    We’ve had seven drivers score 100 or more bonus points this season. I don’t know if thats a record or not, but it’s certainly waaaay above average. It’s the most we’ve had that I can find in my stats going back to 1996. We had six drivers hit the century mark in 1999 and five in 2000. Other than those years, the norm is four.
    Matt Kenseth has done everything but clinch his first Championship. His lead is now 228 (he lost 30 points off his margin), and his Magic Number vs Dale Earnhardt Jr is 30th. If Matt finishes 7th or better next week, he clinches (no matter what Jr does).
    Kevin Harvick’s problems the last two races have certainly been costly. He was 2nd coming out of Martinsville but he’s fallen to 6th over the last two weeks.
    Kurt Busch (11th to 9th) and Michael Waltrip (14th to 12th) made multi-position moves upward this week. The aforementioned Mr. Harvick (3rd to 6th) dropped three spots.(StockCarFans.Com Winstoncup Newsletter)(11-2-2003)
  • McMurray OK: Jamie McMurray was working on his Havoline Dodge when a metal sliver fell into one of his eyes. It was removed at PIR’s infield medical center.(Arizona Republic)(11-2-2003)
  • Fire Supression in the #32: #32-Ricky Craven is the only driver in the field whose car is equipped with a fire suppression system designed to deploy dry chemical powder following a rear-end collision. A Scottsdale, AZ-based company manufactures the device.(Arizona Republic)(11-2-2003)
  • #250 for Craven: #32-Ricky Craven will make his 250th career Winston Cup start today at Phoenix.(11-2-2003)

    (11-1-2003)

  • Musgrave Battling Cancer: Truck series championship contender Ted Musgrave battled cancer early this season, his team owner revealed Saturday. “We were winning races while he was going to the doctor on Monday getting chemotherapy,” Jim Smith, owner of Ultra Motorsports, said in an interview with a publicist for Dodge. Musgrave, 48, formerly of Franklin, Wis., was not available a day after finishing second at Phoenix International Raceway in the series’ second-last race of the season. His wife, Debi, was stricken with leukemia years ago. Musgrave has won three times this season and ranks second in the standings, 26 points behind Brendan Gaughan, and has scored 13 victories since coming to the series three years ago. “I think if anybody’s deserving of (a championship), it’s Ted Musgrave,” Smith said.(ThatsRacin.com)(11-1-2003)
  • #7 Team Plans to be back in 2004: #7 Dodge / Ultra Motorsports owner Jim Smith said Saturday he is moving ahead for plans for 2004 with his Winston Cup operation despite the lack of a primary sponsor secured for next season. Smith said he believes his Cup organization should remain mostly intact, other than the loss of crew chief Tommy Baldwin, who has already notified Smith he will not return to the team next season. “We’ve got some money in our checking account, and rather than putting it in my checking account and going home, we’re going racing,” Smith said. “We’re talking to a few people a little bit, but nothing of major consequences. I’m confident that something somewhere will pop up. We don’t have to have $18 million to operate. They’ve had everything they wanted this year, and I think you can waste money in Winston Cup, too. I know what an adequate number is to run a Winston Cup team, and I won’t go racing without that adequate money.” Veteran Jimmy Spencer has driven for Smith this season and is expected to return next year if Smith continues with the team. “Jimmy doesn’t want to go anywhere. I’m proud of all these guys. Tommy didn’t want to leave. They have families and stuff, and they have to make decisions,” Smith said. “I’m going to meet with all the top people at Ultra Motorsports and assure them they have a job. If we don’t end up Cup racing all year, the Truck teams are certainly going to be a lot better than they are right now.”(ThatsRacin.com)(11-1-2003)
  • and yet more on Traction control: When #24-Jeff Gordon couldn’t do a decent post-race victory burnout at Atlanta, rivals were quick to question whether he might have been running traction control, the illegal system that prevents rear wheels from spinning out of control. Many teams suspect use of traction control is rampant this season, and one driver says he suspects as many as 16 teams [none named…..again] have used the device, which is believed to be impossible to detect. Some wonder why NASCAR couldn’t modify its engine chassis dyno to detect traction control. Others say that NASCAR uses a sophisticated sound analysis system that can detect traction control. Robbie Loomis, Gordon’s crew chief, says Atlanta wouldn’t be a very good track for traction control, and some fellow crew chiefs agree. “I don’t really know enough about it,” Loomis said. “Obviously it would work at the short tracks and anywhere you have a lot of wheel-spin. But at Atlanta the car stays pretty hooked up and you have a lot of traction. Me personally, I don’t think it’s out there that much. Somebody might slide in and use it every now and then on you. But my hat’s off to any team that’s got an engineer good enough to dial that stuff in.” The chassis dyno wouldn’t be a good detection system, Loomis said, “because they talk about the driver being involved in putting it in the car and taking it out.” One question rivals had was about the sometimes erratic performance of Gordon’s car off the corners at Atlanta. Loomis said that was a fuel line problem. “Unfortunately we were having trouble with the fuel system. It scared me early in the race. We’ve got some stuff out here to look at it, and hopefully we’ve got it fixed.”(Winston Salem Journal)(11-1-2003)
  • Biffle to RCR? Greg Biffle may be considering a $3 million deal to drive for Richard Childress, according to sources. But Geoff Smith, head of Roush Racing, says he expects the Winston Cup rookie to be back with Jack Roush next season.(full story and quotes at the Winston Salem Journal) and see another article at ThatsRacin.com: Biffle’s remarks: Attempt at humor or foreshadowing?(11-1-2003)
  • DW Grand Marshal at the Toyota All-Star Showdown: Darrell Waltrip, three-time NASCAR Winston Cup Series champion, Fox Sports NASCAR analyst and occasional NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series competitor, will officially start things off at the Toyota All-Star Showdown. Toyota named Waltrip as the event’s Grand Marshall and the popular NASCAR driver/TV analyst will give the command for the drivers to start their engines on Saturday night at Irwindale. “Toyota is delighted to have an icon of the sport as our Grand Marshall at the NASCAR Toyota All-Star Showdown,” said Les Unger, National Motorsports Manager for Toyota Motor Sales USA. “We are working diligently with NASCAR and the staff of Irwindale Speedway to make sure this inaugural event is remembered for years to come.” The NASCAR Toyota All-Star Showdown at Irwindale (Calif.) Speedway will be held Nov. 6-8, 2003 and televised on Speed Channel on Nov 7th at 11:00pm/et and on Nov 8th at 8:00pm/et. More info at www.nascartouring.com/toyota.(NASCAR PR)(10-31-2003)
  • Didja Know 2? that #24-Jeff Gordon has won on every race track [19 current and at defunct North Wilkesboro] on the Cup circuit with the exception of Phoenix, Texas, Chicagoland and Homestead. Gordon’s most wins at a track is six at Darlington.(11-1-2003)
  • Didja Know 3? when Kevin Harvick won the Truck Series race at Phoenix on Friday, he became the second driver ever to win a race in all three of NASCAR’s National Series in the SAME season. Who was the first? Terry Labonte in 1995 [3 Cup wins, 1 Busch and 1 Truck win]. Seven drivers have won at least one race in all three series: Jimmy Spencer, Greg Biffle, Mark Martin [Truck sin in 1996 but NO Cup wins that year], Bobby Hamilton, Kevin Harvick [no Busch wins in 2002], Terry Labonte and Ken Schrader. Biffle owns Busch and Truck championships. NOTE: Geoffrey Bodine’s Truck win was an exhibition race and doesn’t count.(a few readers asked…so I looked it up…so you don’t have to)(11-1-2003)
  • No Comment by Busch: #97-Kurt Busch declined to comment on NASCAR’s decision to revoke his “hard card” – an annual credential used to gain access to tracks – in response to a pit road incident during the Oct. 19 race at Martinsville, Va. Throughout the day Friday, Busch directed questions regarding the manner to NASCAR officials. Busch’s hard card was revoked last weekend at Atlanta by NASCAR President Mike Helton. For the rest of the season, Busch must pick up paper credentials outside the track each weekend, as well as a hot pass – used for garage access – from Winston Cup series director John Darby.(ThatsRacin.com), see original report on my #97 Team News and Links page(11-1-2003)
  • NASCAR to meet with Stewart: NASCAR officials plan to meet with #20-Tony Stewart this weekend at Phoenix to discuss his failure to meet media obligations following Monday’s race at Atlanta, said Jim Hunter, NASCAR’s vice president for corporate communications. Stewart finished second in Monday’s race, won under caution by Jeff Gordon. He did a brief TV interview immediately after the race, but did not report to the media center, a requirement for the top-three finishers in a race. This is the second time in four races NASCAR has had a driver who finished runner-up in a Winston Cup event fail to meet media obligations after a race. Bill Elliott refused all but a brief interview after his second place run at Kansas on Oct. 5.(ThatsRacin.com)(10-30-2003)
    UPDATE: Tony Stewart had a “productive” meeting Friday with NASCAR officials regarding his failure to meet media obligations following Monday’s race at Atlanta, said Jim Hunter, NASCAR’s vice president for corporate communications. After finishing second at Atlanta, Stewart failed to attend a post-race news conference, which is required of the top-three finishers of each race.(ThatsRacin.com)(11-1-2003)
  • #10 Cup Crew to be replaced? with #10 Busch Crew? The #10 MBV Motorsports crew may be facing a major shakeup, according to sources who say that incoming driver Scott Riggs may be bringing his Busch crew and crew chief Doug Randolph along with him. Current crew chief, Jay Guy, says he and the crew haven’t been told what’s in the future.(Winston Salem Journal)(11-1-2003)
  • BAM Team told it will be back; 2 cars? …..#49 BAM Racing’s determination was recently rewarded by Dodge Motorsports. The manufacturer said it would supply the team with technology and equipment, including use of its wind tunnel and assorted dynamometers. A team that’s gone without for so long may have enough backing to run two cars in 2004. Team Owner’s Tony and Beth Ann’s Moganthau have Ken Schrader as a driver. There is no contract between them, other than their words. That’s binding enough for both sides. Schrader now knows the future of the team depends on signing a sponsor. The search for a sponsor has been so promising that the team was told this week it would be back in 2004.(full story at the Augusta Chronicle)(11-1-2003)
  • Million Bucks a race to be the pace car? General Motor’s decision to pull the plug on Pontiac support in NASCAR caught everyone by surprise and it is apparently related to pressure from NASCAR demanding more money from the Detroit car maker – at least $1 million a race, according to reports – to be the official pace car of the Winston/Nextel Cup circuit. Pontiac officials, according to sources, said no.(Winston Salem Journal)(11-1-2003)
  • Bill Davis 2nd Team looking for a sponsor; Driver could be Park? UPDATE: Bill Davis is a car owner [#22/#23/#27] juggling a lot of balls at the moment. And he has much more on his plate than just watching Scott Wimmer in his top [#22] car. Davis is also trying to put together a package for his second team, now that Kenny Wallace is expected to step back to either the Busch or truck series, though still running for Davis. And Davis will be playing next season without any official factory support. General Manager Mike Brown concedes that a lot of things are still up in the air, even this close to the end of the season. “On the Cup side, we’re actively pursuing a second sponsor (for the team Wallace drives for). We have a couple of good leads, and we’ll see how it plays out. Stacker2 (the current sponsor) is about to announce its intentions; they’re remaining with us and Kenny, just with a change in how they market their products in the Winston Cup series. So if we get our second Cup deal done, there will probably be a new driver in that.” There is speculation that it may be Steve Park. But, said Brown, “We wouldn’t shy away from bringing another rookie in the fold,” even though Scott Wimmer, the man taking Ward Burton’s place, has only half a dozen Cup races under his belt. “There are some good rookies out there. A lot of times the sponsor dictates the driver, because of the marketing they’re looking for.”(in part from the Winston Salem Journal)(10-31-2003)
    UPDATE – Wallace not leaving BDR…but? Kenny Wallace denied a report that he won’t be back in Bill Davis Racing’s #23 Dodge next season. And there is speculation that Wallace could be the next to go, perhaps to the Busch Series in a Davis car. “Is there?” Wallace said after qualifying Friday. But he denied he was leaving. “Everything’s the same,” Wallace said before ducking into the team’s hauler.(NASCAR.com)(11-1-2003)