NASCARFans news 97-07-24

NASCARFans E-Mail List Penske Motorsports Inc. and International Speedway Corp. (Bill France Jr.) joined forces Wednesday to acquire a controlling interest in the 2-year-old race track at Homestead. In the latest round of track takeovers,...

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Penske Motorsports Inc. and International Speedway Corp. (Bill France Jr.) joined forces Wednesday to acquire a controlling interest in the 2-year-old race track at Homestead. In the latest round of track takeovers, Penske and ISC each paid $11.8 million cash for 40 percent ownership of a group formed to operate the Metro-Dade Homestead Motorsports Complex. Founder Ralph Sanchez and partner H. Wayne Huizenga will each keep a 10 percent interest. The partnership is valued at $29.5 million. The track, which opened in November 1995, is still owned primarily by the city of Homestead and Dade County. Sanchez will remain president and will oversee operation of the 344-acre complex 25 miles south of downtown Miami. (WRAL)

For the second time in his history, the KFC Colonel will ride at a WC track. This time he's on the hood of "Team Twister," the three-team assault planned for the weekend of the Brickyard 400. The trademark white logo will adorn Rich Bickle's #26 Monte Carlo. He will also appear on the BGN ride of Kenny Irwin Jr., and the Craftsman Truck of '95 NCTS champion and current WC rookie, Mike Skinner as they compete in races centered around the Brickyard. Bickle's car is a WC chassis from Darrell's regular stable of cars being overseen by Jeff Hammond. Interestingly enough, this is not a "dropped snout" chassis, which some teams are planning to use at Indy, Darrell included. Bickle doesn't favor the turn-in characteristics of a dropped-snout car and is using a standard chassis. Dropped snout chassis are becoming more prevalent on flat tracks like Loudon and Indy because of their superior (to some driver's feel) ability to turn-in through a corner. Also expect most of the teams to be using rear anti-roll bars at the Brickyard, which were first used by Jeff Gordon and Geoff Bodine at the initial running. (country.com)

For those of you with web access and who are interested, they also have a great photo of the hood of Rich Bickle's #26 KFC car at: http://www.country.com/motor/motor-f.html.

Team owner Richard Jackson's second thoughts about releasing driver Jerry Nadeau have been rendered moot, with Nadeau ruling out a continuation of his tenure as driver of Jackson's Winston Cup Pontiacs. The driver was released on Tuesday morning, but later that day, Jackson -- who felt there were no strong candidates available to drive the car, was trying to convince the team's sponsor, R&L Carriers, to retain Nadeau. Nadeau, 26, of Danbury, Conn., began driving for the team, hias first Winston Cup ride, in early June. He qualified ninth at New Hampshire International Speedway, in his fifth race. "I am very grateful to Richard Jackson for giving me the chance to drive his Winston Cup car," Nadeau said, according to the press release. "The experience I gained in those five races brought me that much closer to my goals in motor sports. I'm ready for whatever the future holds. My ability to be flexible and adapt to many different types of racing helped me get where I am today and that won't change. I'm going to continue to work hard so I can take advantage of the opportunities this experience has given me." (iRace)

More Irvan Info

According to unconfirmed reports, Irvan was asking about $1.5 million from Robert Yates for 1998; that would be a top-of-the-line driver deal. However, teammate Dale Jarrett is reported to be making only $900,000, so Yates would also have to give him a raise to the same level . . . without any significant increase in sponsorship money to pay for the two hikes. That would be more than $1 million out of Yates' pocket. (JournalNow)

One of the NASCAR body templates for Ford's new Taurus will be at least eight inches off the production car specs, according to one source familiar with the model, which will be unveiled at Indianapolis next week. (JournalNow)

When Ford unveils its 1998 Winston Cup model next week in Indianapolis, the problems will have only just begun. And some teams aren't convinced Ford executives realize the urgency of the situation. Count among them Michael Kranefuss, owner of the No. 37 entry driven by Jeremy Mayfield. His opinion is underscored by 25 years as a Ford Motor Co. executive, most as its worldwide director of motor sports. Ford will have to get a new and untested car up to speed for February's Daytona 500. General Motors, and its teams that race Chevrolet Monte Carlos and Pontiac Grand Prixs, worry NASCAR will cut Ford too much slack and the new model will be tougher to beat than this year's Thunderbird. NASCAR has to be concerned about the appearance of playing favorites and keeping races competitive. "We're doing this for the third time in four years, so you'd like to think we're getting better at it," says NASCAR spokesman Kevin Triplett, referring to the Monte Carlo's return in 1995 and the remodeled Grand Prix last year. (USA Today)

Tommy Kendall has been a loyal driver for Jack Roush over the years, and now, with the changes coming in the Trans-Am series, Roush is trying to find another spot Kendall. One option is a Winston Cup ride in a fourth Roush Ford; another option would be an Indy Racing League ride. (JournalNow)

What about the rumors about Johnny Benson's future? ''Aw, I think the media guys start all that,'' Benson says. ''I don't know who starts all that, but it's fun to sit and listen to them. Sometimes something might not get printed the way it was meant to be, and then everybody is wondering what everybody else is doing.'' So Benson will be back with Rider and Pennzoil again next year? ''Oh, we hope so. that's our plan. We'll just have to wait and see.'' (JournalNow)

P L E A S E N O T E

I will be on vacation Friday, 7/25 through Tuesday, 7/29. I should still be able to send out the afternoon posting today. Von has some personal priorities in his life right now, but that should be calming down soon. He will probably be able to begin reporting the news again shortly. I have a laptop from work, so I will be checking my email, but there are no guarantees of updates from me until at least Wednesday of next week. I'll try, but vacation takes first priority. There shouldn't be any earth-shattering news to speak of anyway, (begin JOKE!!!) like Dennis Rodman biting Richard Petty's ear after signing to drive his Winston Cup car (end JOKE!!!) (hey, he "wrassled" for WCW recently, apparently anything is possible) <grin>.

Mike Irwin (mike@nascarfans.com) NASCAR Fans _______________________________________ NASCAR Fans Website http://www.nascarfans.com

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About this article
Series Monster Energy NASCAR Cup
Drivers Rich Bickle , Jeff Gordon , Dale Jarrett , Jeremy Mayfield , Mike Skinner , Jerry Nadeau , Johnny Benson , Richard Petty , Jack Roush , Robert Yates , Tommy Kendall