Homestead: Pre-race news, schedule

Ø TV timeout... In the final Nielsen Media Research cable ratings for the weekend of Nov. 2-3, the NASCAR Winston Cup race at Rockingham on TNT attracted 4,805,000 million viewers. It was the second-highest rated sports event on cable...

Ø TV timeout... In the final Nielsen Media Research cable ratings for the weekend of Nov. 2-3, the NASCAR Winston Cup race at Rockingham on TNT attracted 4,805,000 million viewers. It was the second-highest rated sports event on cable that weekend, second only to ESPN's Sunday night NFL broadcast. Overall for the season, the eight NASCAR Winston Cup events on TNT enjoyed a 10% increase in average households over 2001. TNT posted record ratings and household numbers for the fall races at Bristol, Darlington, Richmond and Rockingham.

Ø Streak on the line... Rusty Wallace's streak of consecutive seasons with at least one victory will be on the line at the season-closing Ford 400. Wallace (No. 2 Miller Lite Ford) has won at least one race since his first NASCAR Winston Cup victory at Bristol in 1986, giving him a run of 16 consecutive seasons that is tied for third all-time in NASCAR history. Wallace, tied with Ricky Rudd (No. 28 Havoline Ford), is looking to tie David Pearson for second at 17 and continue his chase of the record established by Richard Petty (18). "Certainly the streak means so much to me," said Wallace, owner of 54 career victories but winless in his last 61 races. "When you finally get ready to hang the helmet up, having things like that in the record book is a pretty cool deal. I know that I don't have too many more seasons ahead, so, yeah, it means a lot. "

Ø Last chance for Chocolate lovers... Well-known gasman Danny "Chocolate" Myers will retire after 17 years in that position with Richard Childress Racing following Sunday's race. Myers, 54, began his career as a gasman in 1986 for the No. 3 GM Goodwrench team and the late Dale Earnhardt, and was part of the team during Earnhardt's six NASCAR Winston Cup championships at RCR. Myers remained with the No. 29 GM Goodwrench Service team when Kevin Harvick took over driving duties and moved to the No. 31 Cingular Wireless team after the No. 29/No. 31 crew swap in June. Myers will remain at RCR as the director of safety, responsible for ensuring that RCR is in compliance with state and federal safety regulations. "I will really miss going over the wall each Sunday, but I think I've made the right decision," Myers said. "When Richard first hired me, he said, 'I can't promise to make you rich, but I will make you famous.' But how could you be around Richard Childress and Dale Earnhardt for so many years and not be recognizable? But that's not what this has been about for me. It's about the love of the sport and the people involved."

Ø Etc...The NASCAR Winston Cup Leader Bonus will be worth a record $310,000 at Homestead. With it being the season finale, the only eligible driver for the bonus will be the eventual NASCAR Winston Cup champion since the money is awarded to the driver who wins the race and sits atop the points standings. The bonus, which starts at $10,000 and grows in increments of $10,000 each race, has not been won since Sterling Marlin (No. 40 Coors Light Dodge) at the first Darlington race in March. Should the bonus not be won, it will be divided among the top 10 drivers in the championship. ... Greg Biffle, who clinched the NASCAR Busch Series championship last week at Phoenix for Roush Racing, will get the opportunity to drive for Petty Enterprises in the NASCAR Winston Cup season finale. Biffle will pilot the No. 44 Georgia-Pacific/Brawny Dodge for the second time this season. He also ran the No. 44 car recently at Rockingham, where he finished 25th. Biffle will move to the NASCAR Winston Cup Series next season on a full-time basis with Roush Racing and his current NASCAR Busch Series sponsor, Grainger. ... Derrike Cope will be in the No. 49 BAM Racing Dodge this weekend, which is a homecoming for owners Beth Ann and Tony Morgenthau. The Morgenthaus are investors who hail from Coral Gables, Fla. and are wrapping up their inaugural season as NASCAR Winston Cup owners. ... Jasper Motorsports and Ryan Pemberton, crew chief of the #77 Jasper Engines and Transmissions Ford since 1999, have mutually decided to part ways at the conclusion of the season. Pemberton is headed to MB2 Motorsports as the crew chief for the U.S. Army Pontiac of Jerry Nadeau. .... Jasper is scheduled to run Boris Said this weekend in addition to the fulltime entry of Dave Blaney (No. 77 Jasper Engines and Transmissions Ford). Said, a road-course specialist in NASCAR Winston Cup who ran both events for Jasper this season, will be making his first career attempt at qualifying for a NASCAR Winston Cup oval event.

ON THE RIGHT TRACK

Ø Dave Blaney (No. 77 Jasper Engines and Transmissions Ford) has a pair of top-10 finishes, including one that matched his career-best effort, in three starts at Homestead. He was ninth in 2000 and sixth last season, which equaled his career best.

Ø Bobby Labonte (No. 18 Interstate Batteries Pontiac) has finished among the top eight in all three starts at Homestead. He was second in 1999, fourth in 2000 and eighth last year. He led 174 laps in '99 and two in 2000.

Ø Tony Stewart (No. 20 Home Depot Pontiac) has won two of the three NASCAR Winston Cup races held at Homestead. He won the inaugural event in 1999 from the seventh starting position and followed with another triumph in 2000, from the 13th position.

WHAT'S THE WORD?

Ø "It would be awesome to have six wins in one season. With competition as tight as it is, I don't see that happening, but I hope we run well and pick up some positions in the points. The points battle has been so tight all year long and this is our last chance." -- Matt Kenseth (No. 17 DeWalt Power Tools Ford), who has a series-leading five wins and is eighth in the championship race.

FROM THE ARCHIVES

Ø David Green captured the pole position for the inaugural Pennzoil 400 at Homestead-Miami Speedway in 1999, which also was the first and currently only pole of his NASCAR Winston Cup career.

Ford 400 (NASCAR Winston Cup Series, Race 36 of 36).
Homestead-Miami Speedway, Homestead, Fla.
1 p.m. ET, Sunday, Nov. 17.
TV: NBC (beginning at 12:00 p.m. ET).
Radio: MRN, XM Satellite.

Pre-race schedule (all times local):
Friday
Practice, 9:45 a.m.-11:45 a.m.;
Qualifying, 1:05 p.m.;


Saturday
Practice, 10-10:45 a.m.; 11:45 a.m-12:30 p.m.

-nascar-

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About this article
Series Monster Energy NASCAR Cup
Drivers Dale Earnhardt , Derrike Cope , Bobby Labonte , Tony Stewart , Rusty Wallace , Boris Said , Kevin Harvick , Greg Biffle , Jerry Nadeau , David Green , Richard Petty , Dave Blaney , David Pearson
Teams Richard Childress Racing