Daytona sets January testing schedule By Dave Rodman
DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. (Dec. 21, 1999) Daytona International Speedway is on a holiday break after a busy December that included runs by just about every manner of two- and four-wheeled race vehicle that competes at the "World Center of Racing." But as usual, the typically hectic pre-season testing schedule will be dominated by January's NASCAR Winston Cup Series dates.
After a New Year's break and four days of sports car testing by the Grand American Road Racing Association preparing for the Feb. 5-6 Rolex 24 At Daytona, NASCAR Winston Cup Series General Motors teams running Chevrolets and Pontiacs have Jan. 10-11 reserved for their use. Ford Motor Company NASCAR Winston Cup teams have the track from Jan. 12-13.
All NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series teams will test on Jan. 14-15, with Jan. 16 reserved as a rain date for the NCTS teams.
General Motors' NASCAR Winston Cup Series teams will return for"mandatory" manufacturers' test on Jan. 17-18, with Jan. 19 reserved as a rain date. The "mandatory" Ford test dates are Jan. 20-21, with Jan. 22 held as a Ford rain date, if needed.
The hectic month comes to a close with a three-day test for all NASCAR Busch Series Grand National Division teams on Jan. 24-26; and a two-day test for all Goody's Dash Series, NASCAR Touring teams on Jan. 27-28.
Notes and quotes Tuesday from around the NASCAR Winston Cup Series:
NASCAR Winston Cup competitor Jerry Nadeau decided decorating a tree and exchanging gifts weren't the only ways to celebrate the holidays this year. The driver of the No. 25 Michael Holigan Chevrolet added a special memory, exchanging wedding vows with long-time girlfriend Jada Blanchard Dec. 11 in the Bahamas. "Jada has been an important part of my life for a long time," said the 29-year-old Danbury, Conn., native. "I can't imagine any better way to celebrate this special time of year than with family, friends and my new bride."
Blanchard, a Spartanburg, S.C., native, is studying to be a dental hygienist. When not in class or traveling with her new husband, Blanchard enjoys decorating the couple's home on Lake Norman and spending time with their Shih Tzu, Willie. Nadeau's parents and new sister and brother in-law were on-hand for the island wedding, but returned stateside after the ceremony so the couple could enjoy a short honeymoon. After the honeymoon and the holidays, Nadeau will be busy with numerous sponsor appearances, test sessions and media interviews leading up to his debut with Hendrick Motorsports in the Feb. 20 Daytona 500.
Wood Brothers Racing, which owns and operates the No. 21 CITGO Ford in the NASCAR Winston Cup Series, has hired Terry Smith to help direct its "50 Years in Racing" licensing program. Smith owns Terry Smith Enterprises and also directs all licensing aspects for NASCAR Winston Cup driver Michael Waltrip and other licensees. Smith will be responsible for overseeing all licensing as it relates to Wood Brothers Racing and its driver Elliott Sadler. Smith is actively pursuing several opportunities with manufacturers and distributors to promote the "Wood Brothers' 50 Years in Racing." The Wood Brothers will celebrate "50 Years in Racing" during the entire NASCAR 2000 season. "2000 is going to be a big year for Wood Brothers Racing," said co-car owner Eddie Wood. "We are getting the right people in place to make the season a success both on and off the track."
In other Wood Brothers Racing news, Mike "Andretti" Smith was named the 1999 season MVP for the team, based in Stuart, Va. Smith received the honor last Friday in front of his teammates and peers from other Ford teams at the 2nd Annual Taurus Team Party, which was held at the Charlotte Convention Center.
Smith's position with the team is car chief, and he is also the rear tire changer for the No. 21 CITGO Ford on race day. Smith was awarded MVP for his hard work, strong competitiveness and team leadership qualities. He is entering his 9th season with the Wood Brothers Racing team and resides in Claudville, Va.
"I have to thank everyone on the team for this award," said Smith. "It's a true honor to be on the Wood Brothers team, and an even bigger honor to have my name listed as the 1999 MVP. The Wood Brothers team has so much heritage and to be recognized by the organization is a dream come true."
The Orlando (Fla.) Sentinel raised some eyebrows earlier this month when a "local interest" columnist wrote that actor Paul Newman would attempt the 2000 Daytona 500 as a 75-year-old. A Newman associate said that was not true, but that the actor, who won his class in the Rolex 24 At Daytona sports car race as a 70-year-old, might compete in that event, which kicks off Speedweeks at Daytona International Speedway.
Lowe's Motor Speedway President H.A. "Humpy" Wheeler played Santa Claus recently, donating race tickets and money on behalf of Lowe's Motor Speedway to a family in need. About two weeks ago, Sandra Haas of Charlotte, N.C., returned from church to find her home and belongings lost to a house fire. In addition, all of the Christmas presents she had purchased for her three young sons, Matthew, Jonathon and Timothy were destroyed in the flames. Wheeler presented Haas and her sons with tickets to the Coca-Cola 600 on May 28, 2000. The Haas family will sit in the new Ford Tower Grandstand slated for completion in the spring. Wheeler also gave the Haas family a check for $3,000 to purchase clothing and other necessities in time for the holidays.
Atlanta Motor Speedway's Director of Sales Greg Walter has announced the hiring of Rock Upchurch and Greg Harvey to the staff as sales executives for the 1.54-mile speedway located in Hampton, Ga. "Rock and Greg are great additions to our team," said Walter. "Both bring to the table a wealth of knowledge and experience in the sales of sports properties."
Upchurch, a native of Buies Creek, N.C., was most recently with the Tennessee Oilers/Titans Radio Network as a sports marketing executive, from July 1997 until his joining AMS. He was responsible for creating and selling marketing packages, which included in-store promotions, player endorsements and in-stadium signage. He also sold radio advertising for the Titans flagship station in Nashville, Tenn.
Harvey came to Atlanta Motor Speedway after nearly three years as an account executive at Capitol Sports in Raleigh, N.C. He marketed national radio properties Winston Cup Today, Performance Racing Network and John Boy and Billy Rock and Roll Racing to various companies. He also helped increase the revenue of the Carolina Hurricanes Television Network and earned salesperson of the year honors for Capitol Networks in 1999.