Ken's NASCAR Notebook 96-09-13

Ken's NASCAR Notebook - September 13, 1996 ------------------------------------------- Texas Motor Speedway update ------------------------------------------- Bruton changes the name to Texas International Raceway, declares that he is going...

Ken's NASCAR Notebook - September 13, 1996

------------------------------------------- Texas Motor Speedway update ------------------------------------------- Bruton changes the name to Texas International Raceway, declares that he is going to charge "lifetime-plus preferred seat licenses'' for 36,000 of the raceway's 150,061 seats, and will reportedly get two races next year. That's right, even though the "official" 1997 schedule has been released, Bruton has proclaimed that a second race is in the works.

------------------------------------------- The King as Grand Marshall ------------------------------------------- Richard Petty,"The King", has been named Grand Marshal for the NASCAR Busch Series All Pro Bumper to Bumper 300 at Charlotte Motor Speedway, Saturday, October 5.

------------------------------------------- New Rules Changes, again ------------------------------------------- Beginning with Dover, NASCAR will make the drop the Chevrolet Monte Carlo front air dam clearance by one quarter inch to a minimum ground clearance of 3.75 inches. In addition, the Ford Thunderbirds will have to raise their front air dams by half an inch to four inches. And the rear spoiler height on the Chevrolets will be six inches, up from 5.75 inches. For the Fords, the rear spoiler height will be 6.25 inches, down a quarter of an inch. Ford teams are angry....

------------------------------------------- Wilson joins Waltrip ------------------------------------------- Darrell Waltrip has recently hired weel-known engine builder and crew chief Waddell Wilson as general manager of the #17 Chevrolet racing team. Waltrip said Wilson will join his team on Monday, working with team manager Jeff Hammond. The three have worked together before, when Waltrip drove for Hendrick Motorsports in'87.

------------------------------------------- Silly Season '97 Central ------------------------------------------- Seems like everyday a new rumor comes in or one gets changed, and as a result I'm finding it difficult to keep track of everything. I've got little post-it notes all over the place!! If you hear of something that isn't listed, please let me know. The list is in order by current car number, and then unknowns added to the end.

#1 Hooters Pontiac - Rick Mast leaves to drive the #75 car (official). Pressley could come over to fill the vacant seat (as Pressley leaves the #33 car). Hooters may be replaced by Skoal.

#2 Miller Ford - no changes for Penske or Rusty Wallace.

#3 GM Goodwrench Chevy - no changes, except Childress to add 2nd team with Lowe's as sponsor and Mike Skinner as driver.

#4 Kodak Chevy - no changes, except Morgan-McClure to possibly add 2nd team

#5 Kellogg's Corn Flakes Chevy - no changes for Hendrick and Terry Labonte.

#6 Valvoline Ford - no changes for Mark Martin and Roush Racing.

#7 QVC Ford - no changes for Geoff Bodine.

#8 Circuit City Ford - Stavola Bros. and Hut Stricklin to stay together, but the team may lose Circuit City as sponsor. However, recent 2nd place finish may rekindle the flame.....

#9 Spam Ford - Melling cans Spam as sponsor for 1997 and picks up the University of Nebraska (Corn Huskers ?) as primary sponsor. Lake Speed l ikely to continue as driver. The funding will be raised through the sales of collectables and souvenirs. Spam goes to a new team owned by Ron Neal with Mike Wallace as driver.

#10 Tide Ford - no changes Ricky Rudd.

#11 Lowe's Ford - Brett Bodine loses Lowe's, still no replacement sponsor announced. However rumor has Blockbuster Video on the car.

#12 Badcock Ford - Bobby Allison and Derrike Cope may lost sponsor, also Cope is rumored to be on the "short list" for the #29 ride next year.

#14 Racing for Kids Chevy - unknown about Dale Earnhardt's new team with Jeff Green as driver. Will likely stay parttime next year.

#15 Hayes Modems Ford - Bud Moore may reportedly lose current driver Wally Dallenbach to a new team (see below), reports now say that Dallenbach has not accepted the offer. Ford was pushing hard to keep him. Moore is also losing Hayes as primary sponsor, but they may stay on in some form as an associate sponsor. Moore's team appears to be in trouble again for Daytona.

#16 Family Channel/PrimeStar Ford - Roush, both sponsors, and Musgrave will back for next year (officially announced).

#17 Parts America Chevy - no changes for Darrell Waltrip's team. However, rumors continue to persist that '97 will be DW's last year as driver.

#18 Interstate Batteries Chevy - Joe Gibbs and Bobby Labonte will reportedly have a new sponsor next year - McDonald's. As many of you know, Joe Gibbs also owns the McDonald's drag racing teams.

#19 HealthSource Chevy - no changes for TriStar and Loy Allen Jr.

#21 Citgo Ford - no changes for Wood Bros. and Michael Waltrip.

#22 MNBA Pontiac - Despite rumors about Ward Burton reportedly taking over the #25 seat potentially vacated by Kenny Schrader, Ward announced his intentions to stay with Bill Davis' team. Another rumor has Mark Rypien merging with Davis' operation somehow...

#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 reportedly leave and go to the #33 car. Hendrick was reportedly talking to Ward Burton and Ricky Craven, but neither rumor seems likely to become reality. Budweiser sponsorship likely to follow Kenny to #33 team.

#27 Sponsor? Ford - this is the ex-Jr. Johnson team that is now owned by David Blair. Todd Bodine has been driving ever since Darlington, and will likely retain this seat for the full 1997 schedule. This team changed the paint scheme at Richmond, so who knows where the sponsorship is....

#28 Havoline Ford - no announced changes for Ernie Irvan and Robert Yates, but there is no shortage of controversy surrounding this team. One rumor has Ernie driving for (retired) Jr. Johnson next year.

#29 Cartoon Network Chevy - Diamond Ridge Motorsports and/or Bill Ingle is looking at Robert Pressley and Derrike Cope for next year. But he has said that he has not made a decision yet.

#30 Pennzoil Pontiac - no changes for Bahari Racing and Johnny Benson Jr.

#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 for full schedule.

#33 Skoal Pontiac - Robert Pressley leaves the Leo Jackson team next year (official) and Kenny Schrader reportedly will take over the ride. Pressley is thought to be a potential candidate to drive several cars including the #1, the #29 and others.

#37 Kmart/Little Ceaser's Ford - Tim Brewer has quit as crew chief for Kranefuss & Haas. 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 tried to run this car on a limited schedule with Jay Sauter as driver. No word on plans for this team next year.

#41 Kodiak Chevy - Ricky Craven and Larry Hedrick formed a new team co-ownership contract thru 1998 earlier this year, but Ricky Craven is leaving to drive the #25 car (official). In order to leave, Craven must make a payment of "liquidated damages" to Larry Hedrick. Steve Grissom and Derrike Cope are leading candidates to fill the void if Craven comes up with the cash.

#42 Coors Light Pontiac - Kyle Petty and Felix Sabates have announed they will part ways, and its official that Robby Gordon will take over as driver next year. Kyle is still trying to form his own team (see below).

#43 STP Pontiac - Bobby Hamilton announced that he has signed a contract extension with Richard Petty for 1997. Richard Petty is holding a contest to determine a new color scheme for next year.

#44 - Morgan-McClure to form 2nd team...with AT&T as sponsor and Jeff Purvis as driver....reportedly on hold for now...

#46 Independent Home Cable Chevy - Dean Monroe bought the team from A.G. Dillard Motorsports. Stacy Compton has been selected to drive the car and will reportedly run for Rookie of the year title in 1997. No sponsor announced yet.

#71 Prodigy Chevy - Prodigy had sponsored Dave Marcis in this car for 1996, but no word if they will renew for 1997.

#75 Remington Arms Ford - Morgan Shepard will vacate this seat. Rick Mast has signed a 3-year deal to take over as driver in 1997 with Remington returning as sponsor. Morgan is reportedly trying to form his own team or work a deal for the #90 seat.

#77 Jasper/Federal-Mogul Ford - This team recently announced that Jasper Engines & Transmission and Federal Mogul will return as sponsors next year. They have also recently added Troy Selberg as team manager and crew chief. Bobby Hillin Jr. should return as driver, since he is part owner of the team.

#78 Diamond Rio & Hanes Team - unsure of the status of this team. Randy McDonald had planned to run for Rookie of the Year in 1996.

#81 Square D/TIC Financial Ford -  FilMar Racing, Kenny Wallace  and 
 Square D will return for 1997.  TIC will not.

#87 Burger King Chevy - Joe Nemechek may lose Burger King as sponsor.

#88 Quality Care Ford - no changes for Dale Jarrett and Robert Yates.

#90 Heilig-Meyers Ford - Dick Trickle has taken over as driver for Junie Donlavey, but no word if he will retain that seat next year. Rumor is that Morgan Shepard is talking to Junie about next year.

#94 McDonald's Ford - Bill Elliott recently bought out Charles Hardy's portion of the team, and now retains full ownership. Elliott will reportedly lose McDonald's to Joe Gibbs team for next year.

#95 Shoney's Inn Ford - Sadler Motorsports has released Chuck Bown and hired Gary Bradberry to drive this car in selected races this year. NEXT YEAR David Green is movin' on up from BGN to WC , where Caterpillar & Sunoco will sponsor Buzz McCall's team with the #95. What happens to Sadler Motorsports is questionable at this point.

#97 Sterling Cowboy/John Deere Pontiac - Rypien Motorsports is running a limited schedule this year with Chad Little as driver and Sterling Cowboy. The team plans to run a full Winston Cup schedule next year with John Deere as sponsor.

#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...or possibly go with Sabates or Petty Enterprises???

#? - General Mills is planning on sponsoring a team next year, with Wheaties the likely candidate to go head to head with Corn Flakes. Look for an announcement later this fall. Can you say battle of the breakfast cereals?

#? Skittles Pontiac - M&M Skittles to sponsor a new teamput together with the help of Rick Hendrick and Jimmy Johnson and owned by Nelson Bowers, a Myrtle Beach, S.C. businessman who owns several car dealerships. Wally Dallenbach was apparently going to be the driver, but may have turned down the offer.

#? - Spam to sponsor a new team in 1997 for Ron Neal with Mike Wallace as driver.

------------------------------------------- Happy Motoring :-) =Ken= E-Mail: or CyberHome:

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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.

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About this article
Series NASCAR Cup
Drivers Dale Earnhardt , John Andretti , Brett Bodine , Jeff Burton , Ward Burton , Derrike Cope , Wally Dallenbach , Bill Elliott , Jeff Gordon , Bobby Hamilton , Ernie Irvan , Dale Jarrett , Darrell Waltrip , Bobby Labonte , Terry Labonte , Jeremy Mayfield , Dick Trickle , Rusty Wallace , Michael Waltrip , Todd Bodine , Mike Skinner , Kyle Petty , Jimmy Spencer , Joe Nemechek , Kenny Wallace , Jeff Green , Jay Sauter , Robby Gordon , Mike Wallace , Hut Stricklin , Robert Pressley , Stacy Compton , Johnny Benson , Ricky Craven , Chad Little , Jeff Purvis , David Green , Dave Marcis , Rick Mast , Tim Brewer , Richard Petty , Randy McDonald , Steve Grissom , Gary Bradberry , Carl Haas , Bobby Allison , Robert Yates , Felix Sabates , Bobby Hillin Jr. , Cale Yarborough , Mark Martin
Teams Hendrick Motorsports