JOE NEMECHEK (No. 33 Oakwood Homes Chevrolet Monte Carlo) NOTE: Nemechek will make his second start in The Winston on Saturday night at Loweâ€™s Motor Speedway. The 36-year-old Lakeland, Fla., native qualified for The Winston by...
JOE NEMECHEK (No. 33 Oakwood Homes Chevrolet Monte Carlo) NOTE: Nemechek will make his second start in The Winston on Saturday night at Lowe’s Motor Speedway. The 36-year-old Lakeland, Fla., native qualified for The Winston by winning the 1999 Dura Lube/Kmart 300 at New Hampshire International Speedway. In his first season behind the wheel of car owner Andy Petree’s Monte Carlo, Nemechek is tied for 24th in the NASCAR Winston Cup standings after the first 11 races. He has one top five and two top 10 finishes this season with a season-best fifth-place finish at Atlanta Motor Speedway. “This will be my second time in The Winston,” Nemechek said. “I was in it back in 1994, but I had to qualify for it that year in the Winston Open. I finished sixth in that race, and they took the top six cars to The Winston because there hadn’t been that many different winners and they needed to fill the field. “Jeff Gordon and I had led a bunch of laps in that race, but we got in trouble on a restart. A bunch of lapped cars stayed out and didn’t get tires under caution and we got smashed up in turn four on the restart. Gordon went on to win, but I finished sixth because the car didn’t handle good the rest of the race. It didn’t handle right in The Winston, either, and we ended up 10th. “At least we’re back in the hunt this year. We’ve had a couple of top 10 finishes in The Winston Open the past two years, but you’ve got to win that one to make it count. We came up one spot short in 1998, but we’re in the main event this year, and we’re all looking forward to Saturday nights under the lights at Charlotte before all the local fans. We’re taking a good car. It’s the car we ran at Bristol, and they’ve completely redone it. We keep learning about the new Monte Carlo, and we’ve put a new body on it and think it’s going to be a good piece for The Winston. “It’s extremely hard to win any kind of race on the Winston Cup circuit, and it won’t be any easier to win The Winston even though about half the number of cars will be in it. You’re still going to have to beat Mark Martin and Dale Earnhardt and Jeff Gordon. All the guys who are normally up front will be up front in The Winston. We’ve just got to get up there and go. “You take a few more chances in The Winston than you would in a normal points race. My guys have been working hard on the car, and they told me to either bring back the trophy or the steering wheel. It doesn’t really matter which in a race like this. They told me if I wrecked the car they’d build me another one. Andy Petree and (car chief) Wally Rogers and all our guys enjoy racing at Charlotte, and The Winston is a race where you can have some fun and win some big money. “Drivers get frustrated sometimes and let off steam in The Winston, but we all know, but that happens in any race under the right circumstances. We know we’re in the hunt. Now all we’ve got to do run with the big dogs. That’s not the easiest thing in the world to do against some of the greatest drivers in the world. People just don’t realize how difficult it is to win any kind of Winston Cup race these days. It’s more competitive than ever, but that just makes it that much sweeter when you do win. “It’s a good tuneup for the 600-miler the next week. That kicks off a pretty grueling summer run. We don’t get a break until after the New Hampshire race in July, and that’s a lot of racing, but that’s what we get paid to do.” Tuesday, May 16, 2000. Advance material for The Winston and Winston Open.
BOBBY KENNEDY (Crew chief No. 7 NationsRent Monte Carlo) NOTE: Michael Waltrip, driver of the No. 7 NationsRent Monte Carlo, won The Winston in 1996 from the 20th (last) starting spot. He will make his eighth start in the NASCAR all-star race on Saturday night at Lowe’s Motor Speedway. Waltrip, a 37-year-old Owensboro, Ky., native, recorded a season-best third-place finish at Martinsville on April 9.
“We’ve got two cars set up for The Winston and the Coca-Cola 600, but if we’re happy with our Monte Carlo in The Winston, we’ll carry it back the next week for the 600,” Kennedy said. “We didn’t test at Charlotte, so we’re going to use The Winston as a test session for the 600. We ran The Winston car at Atlanta and Texas, and we were happy with it in both of those races. “We’re going to put a lot of effort into The Winston. It’s like any other event. It’s a spectacle and you’re going for a lot of money. You might even push the envelop more for The Winston. It the past, they’ve been a little more lenient with the cars getting through the technical inspection, and you might tend to push the template side a little further than you normally would. Some people might, anyway. Of course, we wouldn’t. “Jim Smith is now the majority owner of the team, and if anything, I think it’s going to make us stronger. He’s an owner with a racing background. We’ve got a new shop we’re going to move into in Mooresville, N.C., by the end of July if it’s ready. We’re going to move into it the second off week we have in July if it’s ready. If not, we’ll have to step back and evaluate it. We don’t want to disrupt the flow of the team right now. “Charlotte is one of Michael’s favorite tracks. It really helps if your driver has a lot of confidence at a track, and Michael has plenty of confidence at Charlotte. Naturally, you want to do better in a points race, but we’d like to kick some butt no matter what the event. If it’s a test or whatever, you want to be better than everyone else. If you’re racing bicycles or cars or whatever, you want to be the fastest and win. “We’ll go for broke to do that in The Winston. It’s just like when the 24 car ran out of gas in The Winston a couple of years ago. They were running with minimum fuel trying to get an advantage to keep the weight lower in the car. A lot of people hadn’t caught on to that then, but everybody tries to do it now. They take it to the limit. Everybody likes to think they’ve got a few secrets, but when you get right down to it, there’s just not too many secrets any more. “We’ve been competitive all season, but we just can’t seem to get to the checkered flag. We’ve been crashed and we’ve broke motors. Richmond was our worst race. We finished 19th, but we’ve been running in the top 15 or top 10 almost all season. We’ve been consistent, but we’ve just got to get rid of these DNFs. “The attitude on the team is still good. We’ve wrecked in three races and we’ve had blown engines in three races. and that’s tough. The team has been through some ownership changes, and I’m proud of the way everyone has held up through it all. We’ve got some strong tests coming up, but I think the guys know they can stand up to any challenge they encounter. Michael really likes racing at Charlotte, and he’s got a lot of good tracks coming up. We know nothing is going to change on the team for the rest of the season, except moving into the new shop, and everyone is excited about The Winston and the rest of the races coming up.” Tuesday, May 16, 2000. Advance material for The Winston and Winston Open.
FELIX SABATES (Car owner SABCO Chevrolet Monte Carlos) Felix Sabates discusses why he’s considering selling part interest in his race teams. SABCO teams won seven NASCAR Winston Cup events in the 1990s but have recorded only one victory since 1996. “It’s not an ugly rumor that it (SABCO Motorsports) might be for sale,” Sabates said. “I’ll never sell out completely. Sometimes you’ve got to look at all your options. I’m not pursuing anybody. I’ve had people approach me, and I am talking to people, but it’s to do a joint venture with them. I’m not selling out, but I’m not saying I won’t sell a big piece of it. I don’t have to be (the majority owner). If I could partner up with somebody that would bring technology and bring a fresh approach to the whole deal and would approach this from a different aspect.... “I’m no racer. I’m a businessman, and I have to rely on what everybody else tells me. If somebody tells me an engine blew up because a driver drove it too hard, then I have to believe them. If a driver tells me the car is no good because they didn’t put enough air in the tires, I have to believe it. I don’t know any better. After awhile, you start wondering. I spend as much money as anybody else or probably more than most, and we’re not running like we should be running. You get to a point in time in your life when you say, ‘I’m not selling my race team, but I’m going to bring in a partner or I’m going to sell majority interest to another identity who can come in.’ “I wouldn’t sell my race team to a businessman. If I’m going to do anything it’s going to be with somebody very involved and very big in racing. I’ve got one in particular in mind, and I think it would be pretty a substantial addition to what I’m doing. I talked to NASCAR about it, and they’re very pleased I’m even considering it. “It’s not like I’m getting out of here. I love this too much. I’m going to be here. I’ve come to the realization that I’m a great PR man. I’m a great promoter of my race team and my sponsor, but I don’t know nothing about these race cars. You can tell me that three wheels would run faster than four and I’d believe you. This has become a high technology area. Look at the teams winning races, and they’re the technical people. I don’t have that degree of engineering. “I’m looking at the Yates and the Roushes of this world, the people that get all the wind tunnel time. I understand that Chevrolet wants to make Little E the next hero, and I have no problem with that. That’s business. The object of Chevrolet being involved in racing is to sell more cars, and if Little E can help sell more cars, more power to them. But I also have responsibility to my sponsors. If I’ve got to partner up with somebody to help my race team run better, then that’s what I’m going to do. “I have a lot of fun racing, and in my other businesses, too. I bought Trinity Yachts, a company in New Orleans, and I’m having a lot of fun with that. It’s a challenge for me, but I was doing all my business with them to begin with. I handled most of the production. Now I own the production, and I own the company. It’s a challenge. It’s a big investment, but I’m trying to make Trinity the European standard for American yacht building, and I think I’m going to get that in a hurry. I’m pretty close to that now. That’s going to be my legacy in the yachting industry. Today, people have to go to Europe and spend this ridiculous amount of money to buy a boat for 30 or 40 million dollars. I’m trying to give them the same quality in this country for 25 or 30 percent less, and I’m getting very close to it.” Tuesday, May 16, 2000. Advance material for The Winston and Winston Open.
EARNHARDT Jr.’s RICHMOND WIN TIGHTENS MANUFACTURERS RACE -- Team Monte Carlo drivers have won four races in the 2000 NASCAR Winston Cup season, and rookie Dale Earnhardt Jr. leads the way with two victories in the first 11 races. Junior’s victory at Richmond International Raceway on May 5 pulled Chevrolet ahead of Pontiac in the manufacturers championship standings. Ford leads the way with five wins, four seconds, two thirds and 77 points. Team Monte Carlo is next with 68 points and four wins, two seconds and five thirds. Pontiac follows with 64 points and two victories, five seconds and four thirds. Dale Earnhardt Jr. has been the top finishing rookie in four of 11 races. He trails Matt Kenseth 133-132 in the Raybestos rookie of the year standings. Kenseth has been the top rookie six times. The Chevrolet Monte Carlo is the most successful nameplate in NASCAR Winston Cup history with 280 career victories. Through the years, 25 drivers have won behind the wheel of the Monte Carlo.
TEAM MONTE CARLO WINNERS CIRCLE Darrell Waltrip 48 Tim Richmond 9 Ricky Rudd 2 Jeff Gordon 48 Harry Gant 6 David Pearson 2 Dale Earnhardt 44 Geoff Bodine 6 Buddy Baker 2 Cale Yarborough 38 Richard Petty 6 Charlie Glotzbach 1 Bobby Allison 15 Neil Bonnett 5 Ken Schrader 1 Terry Labonte 15 Sterling Marlin 5 Greg Sacks 1 Benny Parsons 14 Bobby Labonte 4 Earl Ross 1 Joe Nemechek 1 Donnie Allison 3 Bobby Hamilton 1 Dale Earnhardt Jr. 2