Friday news and rumors

NASCARfans E-Mail News List Daytona International Speedway & ISC officials this morning announced that the 1998 Pepsi 400 would be held under the lights. Mussco Lighting will handle the multi-million dollar project, with construction expected...

NASCARfans E-Mail News List

Daytona International Speedway & ISC officials this morning announced that the 1998 Pepsi 400 would be held under the lights. Mussco Lighting will handle the multi-million dollar project, with construction expected to start soon after this weekend's race. No date has been announced for next years event yet (though Dale Earnhardt prefers a Friday Night race, allowing for more fishing time), but the start time is expected to be in the 8PM ET vicinity. Qualifying is expected to be held after dark as well. The cooler temps afforded by a night race are expected to draw even larger crowds, and the start time will also mean less of a chance for those mid-afternoon Central Florida thunderstorms disrupting activities.

Mike Mulhern of JournalNow.com has a great column this morning. He's expecting an announcement today at Daytona that Brian France will assume the role of President of NASCAR. Nothing official yet, but Mike usually has his ear to the ground, so stay tuned.

The latest rumored driver for the possible 4th Roush team is Tommy Kendall, Roush's championship Trans-Am driver. (Jayski)

So much for the Ernie Irvan rumors being put to rest: Robert Yates said yesterday he still hasn't signed Ernie Irvan to a new contract, and yesterday Yates again indicated he might make a driver change for 1998. That comes three weeks after Irvan, on the eve of his win at Michigan, said he and Yates had agreed to team again. Yates said he had signed a new contract with Texaco, and that now the issue was up to him alone to decide, whether or not he wants to keep Irvan in the seat. Yates would seem to be reviving the possibility that Sterling Marlin might get the ride. Marlin has been pushing Yates hard to snare the ride, according to team sources. If Marlin does leave Larry McClure, then Bobby Hamilton would be the top choice for McClure's Chevy. That would leave Richard Petty looking for a new driver(compiled from many JournalNow stories (Jayski).

PPG, CART Indy-car series sponsor, leaving that series and moving to NASCAR, according to NASCAR sources. PPG is a corporate rival of DuPont, which has had such great success marketing Jeff Gordon (Jayski).

Bill France is thinking about a made-for-TV legends series, sort of a NASCAR Seniors tour, on short tracks, with veterans such as Cale Yarborough and Richard Petty, in IROC-type cars. North Wilkesboro Speedway would be one possible location. I hear it would be the smaller tracks and depends on if they can find enough willing 'senior' drivers (Jayski).

Per Benny Parson's on the Pepsi 400 Qualifying show: SPAM is leaving the #91 LJ Racing Chevy, he didn't say when or if SPAM would be moving to another team (Jayski).

NASCAR has signed a licensing agreement with The Upper Deck Company which allows Upper Deck to use the NASCAR logo on all Upper Deck and MAXX motorsports products. Upper Deck will continue to secure rights with each driver for its trading card sets(NASCAR Online/Jayski).

If Jeff Gordon keeps this up, Petty may no longer have the record in NASCAR's modern era of 13 victories in a Winston Cup season. At the halfway point of the season, the 25-year-old Gordon is halfway toward breaking the King's record that has stood for 22 years. (WRAL)

The Bodines, Geoff, Todd and Brett, aren't having an easy time of it. Geoff says he's in financial trouble and has been scrambling to sell part of his team; Todd could end up driving for Geoff next year, under one possible scenario. Now Brett, in his second season as car owner, says he is under the financial gun, too. Brett has been looking into moving from his Mooresville shop into Bobby Allison's old shop behind Charlotte Motor Speedway (JournalNow).

Bruton Smith, the racing magnate, who owns a number of car dealerships, including Lone Star Ford, the largest in Texas, might be in the market to buy some of Rick Hendrick's dealerships, according to business sources. (JournalNow)

Henry Dubret & Mike Irwin henry@nascarfans.com mike@nascarfans.com

NASCAR Fans Website http://www.nascarfans.com

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About this article
Series NASCAR Cup
Drivers Dale Earnhardt , Jeff Gordon , Bobby Hamilton , Ernie Irvan , Richard Petty , Bobby Allison , Robert Yates