Ken's NASCAR Silly Season Notebook - November 13, 1996 Happy belated Veteran's Day to all the vets out there (my dad included). ------------------------------------------- NASCAR Silly Season ...
Ken's NASCAR Silly Season Notebook - November 13, 1996
Happy belated Veteran's Day to all the vets out there (my dad included).
------------------------------------------- NASCAR Silly Season Central ------------------------------------------- A few more changes have been made since last week, and there are still a few unanswered questions. In my next silly season notebook, I'll drop any reference to the 1996 teams, and only report the status of the 1997 field. Next year, provisionals will be a hot topic of discussion, as there are likely to be a field of 50 teams competing for 40-42 starting positions. And I still can't thank you guys that keep forwarding me information for this notebook - especially the ones inside the NASCAR circles. Your help and support is greatly appreciated.
#0 - Delma Cowart in the Master's Inn Ford
#1 Hooters Pontiac - Precision Products & Richard Jackson will lose Rick Mast to the #75 car, will lose crew chief Kevin Hamlin to the #31 car, has lost co-sponsor Hughes to the #43 car, and Hooters definitely will not return as sponsor. Recent reports seem to indicate that Morgan Shepard will drive this car next year, but still no official word yet. If this is true, this will be the first time since the late 80s that Morgan has driven a Pontiac. Word is that a sponsor is also in the works for this team, but no announcement yet.
#2 Miller Ford - Penske or Rusty Wallace will stay together. The rumor that the team may lose crew chief Robin Pemberton has been dismissed since Rusty reported he and Robin have signed a 3-year deal. There are some rumors about a color change for this team next year - likely to the Miller Lite colors of Blue & Yellow or Blue & White.
#02 - Miles Motorsports, Chevrolet - This car has been driven by Robby Faggart up until Atlanta, when it was qualified in 27th position by Randy Baker. Unfortunately, he crashed early in the race. Randy is Buddy Baker's brother, and works with him at the driving school.
#3 GM Goodwrench Chevy - Richard Childress will be making a few changes next year, to try and secure Dale Earnhardt's 8th Championship. The shake up shifts current crew chief David Smith to General Manager of the #31 team, and co-crew chief Bobby Hutchens as RCR General Manager. Childress is talking to several crew chiefs, including Steve Hmiel (Mark Martin), Gary DeHart (Terry Labonte), Paul Andrews (Geoff Bodine) and Todd Parrott (Dale Jarrett). Also, a rumor out of Charlotte has Dale Earnhardt doing a "farewell tour" for profit in 1997, and then coming out of retirement in 1998 to drive his own car with Nike as a the primary sponsor (the Nike glove deal gave momentum to this rumor).
#4 Kodak Chevy - what was formally no changes for Morgan-McClure and Sterling Marlin team has now become the best kept secret of silly season! Crew Chief Tony Glover was offered a job by Felix Sabates to join SABCO racing in 1997, but when Larry McClure found out, he let Glover go on the spot. McClure will temporarily fill-in as crew chief at the next couple of races, or until he decides how to fill the now vacant position. Recent rumors seem to link Mike Hill (currently w/#27) is a good candidate.
#5 Kellogg's Corn Flakes Chevy - no changes for Hendrick and Terry Labonte, except maybe they will get the first stall on pit road....?
#6 Valvoline Ford - Roush Racing has given Mark Martin a new crew chief, Jim Fenning from the #12 car. Current crew cheif Steve Hmeil will become the team manager. Rumors continue to persist that Steve Hmeil is on the top of the list for crew chief on the #3 car with Earnhardt.
#7 QVC Ford - no changes for Geoff Bodine's team. News reports indicate he will add a second truck team with NASCAR Slim Jim All Pro Series driver Tammy Jo Kirk and will bring her sponsor, Lovable intimate apparel (you know, bras and underwear, etc.) with her. Tanya Tucker is also linked to this team as well.
#8 Circuit City Ford - Stavola Bros. will retain Hut Stricklin as driver and reports indicate Circuit City has extended their sponsorship agreement. New team manager will be Richard Broome (#10) who will leave his crew chief position on the Tide car.
#9 Spam Ford - Melling loses Spam as sponsor (to the new #91 team) and crew chief Jim Long (to the #10 car). Lake Speed's ride will carry the colors and logo of the University of Nebraska athletic teams under the auspices of the Trev Alberts Foundation. Alberts, now an NFL linebacker for the Indianopolis Colts, was a former All-American linebacker for the Cornhuskers. The sponsorshipof the team is "self-funded', with backing from several Nebraska corporations and along with a portion of the funding raised through the sales of collectables and souvenirs. New crew chief is rumored to be Steve Crow, promoted from within the team, or possibly Troy Selberg (#77).
#10 Tide Ford - Ricky Rudd's team will lose Richard Broome, current crew chief, in 1997. Next year's crew chief has been named as Jim Long, current crew chief for the #9 Spamobile.
#11 Lowe's Ford - Brett Bodine loses Lowe's at the end of the year, and picks up two new co-sponsors Catalyst Communications and Frontier Communications, putting an end to the rumors of AT&T or Blockbuster video. (Frontier Communications, a subsidary of Rochester Telephone, is my telephone & cellular provider in Rochester NY.) Also, Brett has contracted with Roush Racing to supply him with motors for next year.
#12 Badcock Ford - Bobby Allison has lost crew chief and long time friend Jimmy Fenning to the #6 Valvoline car, and will lose Derrike Cope as driver for next year to the #36 Skittles car & potentially may lose Badcock as sponsor. The latest rumors out of the garage area have Purdue Chickens as a potential - BAWK - sponsor (sorry, couldn't help it). Nothing official yet, and no word on a replacement driver, but hopefully this is good news for Allison's team. Think they'll paint the car yellow?
#14 Racing for Kids/Toy Biz Chevy - Dale Earnhardt Inc's deal with Felix Sabates & Robby Gordon has ceased to exist (probably after bad experience at Charlotte). Looks like Bill France is trying very hard to get General Mills involved in Winston Cup, and has been working with Earnhardt to arrange some form of sponsorship. The word I get is that the three parties are trying to work out a bigger package, but have temporarily agreed to a one race deal. In addition, rumor has it that Ron Hornaday Jr. is on the top of the list as a potential driver for the car.
#15 Hayes Modems Ford - Bud Moore will lose current driver Wally Dallenbach to a parttime ride (20-24 races) with SABCO's 3rd team. Hayes Modems has reportedly agreed to return as primary sponsor, but are seriously seeking associate sponsors to offset the cost. RealTree Camouflage (currently on #31) was supposed to be a candidate for next year's sponsor.
#16 Family Channel/PrimeStar Ford - Roush, both sponsors, and Musgrave will back for next year (officially announced). Looks like Roush is trying to wake up his teams with a couple minor changes. Howard Comstock out as crew chief and into the team manager slot with James Ince as new crew chief. Ince has served as the chief mechanic of the #6 and #99 Roush Racing teams up until this time.
#17 Parts America Chevy - Darrell Waltrip recently added Waddell Wilson to his team as general manager in an effort to resurrect this team. Also, rumors continue to persist that '97 will be DW's last year as driver. These rumors began when DW hired Rich Bickle (ARCA series) to drive for him in WC, BGN and Truck races next year. Many people feel that DW is grooming Bickle to take over the ride in 1998.
#18 Interstate Batteries Chevy - Joe Gibbs and Bobby Labonte will definitely switch to a Pontiac next year. Interstate Batteries will stay as primary sponsor. No other changes noted.
#19 HealthSource Chevy - no changes for TriStar and Loy Allen Jr.
#20 - Ranier/Walsh BGN team to form a brand new Winston Cup team in 1997 with Indy 500 ROTY Tony Stewart as driver. They attempted to put Tony in the car for Atlanta, but Tony's injuries from an IRL race earlier this year prevented him from driving the car. The team has temporarily hired Elton Sawyer to drive from them at Atlanta. Rumors have suggested that Rick Hendrick is trying to form a IRL team with Tony Stewart as driver, with an additional BGN team for Tony to run the full Busch series schedule in 1997. Hendrick denies it all and says its just a rumor.
#21 Citgo Ford - no changes for Wood Bros. and Michael Waltrip.
#22 MNBA Pontiac - Ward Burton will be back with Bill Davis' team next year. Another rumor has Mark Rypien merging with Davis' operation somehow...but I haven't heard anything in a while on this.
#23 Smokin' Joes Ford - no changes for Travis Carter or Jimmy Spencer, but may lose ability to run Smokin Joe's logo with new FDA regulations.
#24 Dupont Chevy - no changes for Jeff Gordon and Hendrick Motorsports. Except rumors abound that Jeff Gordon is still considering IndyCars.
#25 Budweiser Chevy - Kenny Schrader will definitely leave and go to the #33 car. Rick Hendrick has finalized a "multi-year"deal with Ricky Craven, to drive the #25 car starting next year. Budweiser is named as the sponsor. The actual owner of the team is listed as "Papa" Joe Hendrick, Rick's dad.
#26 - Terry Byers (looking for sponsor to run next year).
#27 David Blair Motorsports Ford - David Blair and crew chief Mike Hill are struggling to keep this ex-Jr. Johnson team alive. They have had several drivers this year, including Todd Bodine who has left to drive the #33 seat vacated by Robert Pressley. Blair has recently hired Ron Barfield (driver for Elliott's BGN & Truck) to drive the car in the last race at Atlanta this coming weekend. No formal word as to their plans for '97.
#28 Havoline Ford - no announced changes for Ernie Irvan and Robert Yates. Much of the ontroversy surrounding this team has subsided with their recent string of good finishes and a couple of wins under their belt. One rumor had Ernie driving for (currently retired) Jr. Johnson next year.
#29 Cartoon Network Chevy - Diamond Ridge Motorsports now has Robert Pressley driving this car for the remainder of the year, and Pressley has signed a multi-year contract with the team to drive full time starting next year.
#30 Pennzoil Pontiac - no changes for Bahari Racing and Johnny Benson Jr., except that Benson will be known as the '96 WC ROTY.
#31 RealTree Camouflage Chevy - Richard Childress is running a limited schedule with this sponsor and Mike Skinner as driver. Next year, Lowe's will sponsor this team with Mike Skinner as driver and Kevin Hamlin as crew chief (from the #1 Hooters team) and David Smith as general manager (from the #3 team) for full schedule. RealTree Camouflage was reportedly talking with Bud Moore & the #15 team for sponsorship next year.
#33 Skoal Pontiac - Andy Petree has officially assumed full ownership as of Oct 2nd, and changed the name of the team to Andy Petree Racing. Robert Pressley to the #29 car to prepare for next year with Todd Bodine in for remainder of this year. Kenny Schrader will leave the #25 Budweiser team and take over this ride for '97. Skoal Bandit to stay on as sponsor for the new team. Leo Jackson may go back to work on the #1 car with his brother Richard.
#36 Skittles Pontiac - MB Motorsports is owned by a group including Nelson Bowers, a Chattanooga auto dealer, Atlanta investment banker Tom Beard and Atlanta attorney Read Morton. Jay Frye, former NASCAR program manager for Valvoline, is the team's general manager. Mars Inc candy company will expand their NASCAR involvment (Snickers, Pedigree) to have Skittles as the primary sponsor. Derrike Cope has signed on to drive this car next year and Ryan Pemberton (younger brother of Robin Pemberton) will be crew chief.
#37 Kmart/Little Ceaser's Ford - Tim Brewer has quit as crew chief for Kranefuss & Haas, and has been linked to Bill Elliott's truck team. John Andretti swapped rides with the Jeremy Mayfield of the #98 RCA Ford. Kranefuss may buy out Carl Haas' interest in the team.
#40 First Union Pontiac - Sabco Racing now has Greg Sacks driving this car with Tony Glover as Crew Chief (lured from the #4 car by a $1 Million deal). Robby Gordon will drive this car next year with Coors Light as the sponsor as First Union goes to sponsor the other team, with Wally Dallenbach as driver. Felix will field Chevy Monte Carlos next year, instead of Pontiacs.
#41 Kodiak Chevy - Larry Hedrick is losing part-owner and driver Ricky Craven to the #25 Bud car (official). Larry Hedrick has announced that Steve Grissom will take over the driver's seat for 1997, with Kodiak staying on as sponsor.
#42 Coors Light Pontiac - Kyle Petty and Felix Sabates will part ways at the end of this year. Felix has promoted crew chief John Erickson to general manager and will replace him with Mike Hillman as CC next year. SABCO has bought a majority of NEMCO #87 team, and will put Joe Nemechek in the #42 car next year, with Bell South Mobility as sponsor. Felix didn't want Robby Gordon to have to fill the shoes of Kyle Petty, so he put Robby Gordon into the #40 car next year with Coors Light as sponsor. Enter SABCO's third team with Wally Dallenbach driving the #87 on a limited schedule.
#43 STP Pontiac - Bobby Hamilton announced that he has signed a contract extension with Richard Petty for 1997. Huges Richard Petty is holding a contest to determine a new color scheme for next year, but I cannot find details on it anymore.
#44? - Morgan-McClure will not form 2nd team...on hold until the new race shop is complete. This number could potentially be Kyle Petty's new number next year, as he was not able to convince Sabates to let him have the #42.
#46 Independent Home Cable Chevy - Dean Monroe bought the team from A.G. Dillard Motorsports and had Stacy Compton driving the car. Recent reports seem to indicate that Felix Sabates either purchased this team, or bought the number from them. Brad Noffsinger (from the SABCO truck team) will be crew chief for Dallenbach's team in 1997. Reports out of Atlanta seem to indicate that this will be SABCO's 3rd team for 1997 with Wally Dallenbach driving (20-24 races) and First Union as (15-18 races) sponsor. Felix' wife Caroline is officially listed as the owner of this team.
#52 Pedigree Pontiac - Jack Sprague showed up in this Rick Hencrick/Kenny Schrader owned car for Atlanta and qualified it in 12th place, just ahead of Bill Elliott! Ken Schrader is rumored to be preparing a car for 5-10 Cup races next year, with Andy Hillenburg as driver.
#60 - Ed Berrier.
#71 Prodigy Chevy - Prodigy had sponsored Dave Marcis in this car for 1996, no official word that they will renew for 1997.
#75 Remington Arms Ford - Morgan Shepard will not return as driver next year, but has been linked to the #1 Jackson team for 1997. Rick Mast has signed a 3-year deal to take over as driver in 1997 with Remington returning as sponsor.
#77 Jasper/Federal-Mogul Ford - This team announced that Jasper Engines & Transmissions along with Federal Mogul will return as sponsors next year. Troy Selberg, who was recently added as team manager and crew chief, has left the team with no word on a replacement. Bobby Hillin Jr. should return as driver, since he is part owner of the team.
#78 Diamond Rio & Hanes Activewear Ford - The Wilson Racing team had planned to have Randy McDonald run for Rookie of the Year in 1996, but now has Billy Standridge trying in this car at Charlotte. Looks like this team will try to run the full schedule next year, and enter Billy for Rookie of the Year.
#79 - Norm Benning.
#81 Square D/TIC Financial Ford - FilMar Racing, Kenny Wallace and Square D will return for 1997. TIC will not.
#86 HYPE Chevy - Ridling Motorsports will move Kevin LePage up from BGN series for 5 races next year. Kevin just won his first BGN race in 69 starts at the season finale in Homestead, Fla. Sponsor will be HYPE beverage products, same as the BGN team's sponsor for next year (also in the Formula 1 series). Hopes are that LePage will be able to compete for WC ROTY in 1998.
#87 Burger King Chevy - Felix Sabates of SABCO Racing has purchased controlling interest of the NEMCO team from Joe Nemechek. Nemechek will move over to the #42 as driver for '97. Reports also link Sabates with the #46 team of Stacey Compton, but no official word on this team for next year. Whatever happens to this team, it looks quite evident that they will lose Burger King as sponsor.
#88 Quality Care Ford - no changes for Dale Jarrett and Robert Yates.
#90 Heilig-Meyers Ford - Its finally official, Junie Donlavey has hired current driver Dick Trickle for the full season next year.
#91 - Pro-Tech Motorsports, co-owned by Ron Neal and Tom Hanley will have Spam to sponsor their new team in 1997, with Mike Wallace as driver. The team will field Chevy Monte Carlos. Ron Neal currently fields a BGN car with Todd Bodine as driver. Hormel Foods, parent company of Spam, will also advertise three other food products - Dinty Moore, Kids Kitchen and Hormel Chili - on the car next year.
#94 McDonald's Ford - Bill Elliott and McDonald's will stay together in '97 as per their contract. The latest rumor has Tim Brewer, former crew chief on the #37 car, talking with Bill Elliott about next year. It is unclear what role he will have, but Brewer and Elliott have a good history together. There are some rumors about Elliott trying to field a second team with Ron Barfield as driver, which is where Mike Beam might move over to.
#95 Shoney's Inn Ford - Sadler Motorsports has released Chuck Bown and hired Gary Bradberry to drive this car in selected races this year. The team will reportedly retain use of the #95 in 1997, and will not give the number to David Green's WC team effort next year. Bradberry will likely stay with this team for next year based on recent performances.
#96 Cat/Sunoco Chevy - Buz McCall and David Green are moving up from BGN to WC next year, with Caterpillar as primary sponsor & Sunoco as an associate sponsor. Since their attempt to get the #95 from Sadler racing has failed, they will use the #96 in '97.
#97 Sterling Cowboy Pontiac - Rypien Motorsports is currently running a limited schedule this year with Chad Little as driver and Sterling Cowboy as sponsor. Next year John Deere will be sponsor and Chad Little will remain driver, with team attempting to run the full schedule. A rumor has Mark trying to merge with Bill Davis Racing. http://www.chadlittle.com/
#98 RCA Ford - Cale Yarborough now has John Andretti (from #37) as driver replacing Jeremy Mayfield. They will retain RCA sponsorship. Jeremy is now driving the #37 Kmart/Little Ceaser's car.
#99 Exide Batteries Ford - no changes for Jeff Burton and Roush Racing.
#? - Kyle Petty to form new team with Mattel Hot Wheels as sponsor. The new team is being formed with daddy Richard Petty and David Evans as part owners, and will be called PE2 for Petty Enterprises #2. Several people will leave SABCO racing with Petty: Bobby Kennedy (crew chief), Glenn Funderburke, and Ronnie Phillips (engines). Initially, Kyle will get engines from Petty Enterprises, and then as his own engine shop develops, he'll switch to in-house engines.
#? - Tim Steele, current ARCA Bondo MarHyde Series sensation, will reportedly attempt to run Daytona in a Winston Cup car next year. His family's business, H-S Die, will sponsor the car for a couple races, but does not have enough money to fund the whole year. This team is aggressively seeking a full time sponsor and a run at ROTY for Tim.
#? - Rich Bickle to run a very limited WC schedule in Darrell Waltrip prepared cars. No word on sponsor, but look for it be similar to the sponsorship on his car, or Bickle's BGN or Truck ride.
#? - Ron Barfield to run a limited WC schedule in an Elliott-prepared car, with possibly New Holland as sponsor. Barfield is currently Elliott's protege who has driven BGN and Trucks, but is now linked to the #27 car of David Blair.
#? - According to Winston Cup Scene, 1981 WC ROTY Ron Bouchard is reportedly trying to lease a WC car from Rick Hendrick to try to run the Daytona and Talledega races. Bouchard has not driven in a WC race since 1987.
PS: I've temporarily lost access to make updates to my homepage.
------------------------------------------- Happy Motoring :-) =Ken=
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Disclaimer: The information contained herein was compiled from a variety of sources, including the rumor mill and the grapevine, so its accuracy cannot be completely guaranteed. Use of copyrights or trademarks are for descriptive fair-use purposes only. The opinions expressed are my own, and not my employer's.