Ken's NASCAR Notebook - September 26, 1996 NOTE: I suspect the length of the notebook with the Silly Season updates may be reaching or exceeding the limitations of some mail systems. So I have separated the news apart from the silly season...
Ken's NASCAR Notebook - September 26, 1996
NOTE: I suspect the length of the notebook with the Silly Season updates may be reaching or exceeding the limitations of some mail systems. So I have separated the news apart from the silly season report for this week.
------------------------------------------- Silly Season Central ------------------------------------------- Here are the latest updates regarding moves amongst the Winston Cup teams and drivers next year. I try to only include rumors that can be confirmed by atleast one other source, that way I try to limit these things a little. Often times, one rumor will contradict another rumor. In that case, I try to stick with the one that makes more sense or is more prevalent in the media. There is no science here.... A special thanks to all those that keep forwarding me updates to the list. I suspect many rumors will be put to bed at Charlotte next weekend when many teams and drivers typically announce thier plans for next year.
#1 Hooters Pontiac - Rick Mast leaves to drive the #75 car (official). Rumors are starting to surround this team. One rumor has this team dissolved after the '96 season, with the two Jackson brothers getting back together to work on the #33 team. Another rumor has Todd Bodine driving this car next year.
#2 Miller Ford - Penske or Rusty Wallace will stay together, but the team may lose Robin Pemberton, their current crew chief.
#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 (#44)
#5 Kellogg's Corn Flakes Chevy - no changes for Hendrick and Terry Labonte.
#6 Valvoline Ford - no official changes for Mark Martin and Roush Racing, but there are a few rumors floating around about changes on the team.
#7 QVC Ford - no changes for Geoff Bodine's team.
#8 Circuit City Ford - Stavola Bros. and Hut Stricklin to stay together, but the team may lose Circuit City as sponsor. However, recent good finishes may rekindle the flame.....
#9 Spam Ford - Spam gets canned as sponsor for Melling's team, and goes to new #91 team being formed. 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, 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.
#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, still no replacement sponsor announced. However rumor has Blockbuster Video on the car.
#12 Badcock Ford - Bobby Allison and Derrike Cope may lose sponsor, also Cope is rumored to be on the "candidate list" for a few cars next year. Looks like Bobby may have some problems for Daytona again next year.
#14 Toy Biz/Racing for Kids Chevy - Dale Earnhardt Inc's WC team had Jeff Green as driver, but we now hear that Robby Gordon will drive this car in select races this year, beginning with the October 6th UAW-GM Quality 500 race at Charlotte. Felix Sabates and Dale Earnhardt have formed sort of a coalition to get Robby more seat time, in addition, Dale Earnhardt Inc's president, Don Hawk, will represent Team SABCO and Robby Gordon in all future business dealings.
#15 Hayes Modems Ford - Bud Moore will not lose current driver Wally Dallenbach to a new team (see below), as Dallenbach has refused to accept the offer. Moore is also losing Hayes as primary sponsor, but they may stay on in some form as an associate sponsor. RealTree Camouflage (currently on #31) is reportedly talking with Wally Dallenbach and Bud Moore for sponsorship next year.
#16 Family Channel/PrimeStar Ford - Roush, both sponsors, and Musgrave will back for next year (officially announced). Roush may move Howard Comstock out as crew chief and into another job to revive this team.
#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 to drive some 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 reportedly switch to a Pontiac next year. Interstate Batteries will stay as primary sponsor. Rumors about this team getting McDonalds as sponsor have been put to rest by the folks at the Golden Arches.
#19 HealthSource Chevy - no changes for TriStar and Loy Allen Jr.
#20 Ranier/Walsh and Indy 500 ROTY Tony Stewart will be joining together to form a brand new Winston Cup team in 1997. The Ranier/Walsh BGN team has hired a marketing firm to help attract a sponsor, which is its key to making the jump up to Winston Cup. Harry Ranier owned the team that Davey Allison drove for, before Robert Yates took over.
#21 Citgo Ford - no changes for Wood Bros. and Michael Waltrip.
#22 MNBA Pontiac - 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 definitely leave and go to the #33 car. Hendrick is reportedly close to finalizing a deal with Ricky Craven, but but Ricky must buy out the remainder of his contract in order to make the switch. Budweiser sponsorship likely to follow Kenny to #33 team.
#26 Skittles Pontiac - M&M Mars company to have Skittles sponsor a new team put 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 has turned down the offer stating problems with the contract. Now the reports seem to link Derrike Cope with this team, but nothing official yet.
#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. Todd Bodine is reportedly working with a potential sponsor, with some speculation that it might be a major long distance company or a credit card company. A keen eye might have spotted a Hughes logo last week, which may indicate the team is working closely with them as sponsors.
#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 currently has Chad Little behind the wheel, but Bill Ingle has chosen Robert Pressley for next year, and Pressley has signed a multi-year contract with the team.
#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 for full schedule. RealTree Camouflage is reportedly talking with Wally Dallenbach and Bud Moore for sponsorship next year.
#33 Skoal Pontiac - Robert Pressley leaves the Leo Jackson team next year (official) and Kenny Schrader reportedly will take over this ride. Pressley has confirmed he'll take over the #29 ride next year.
#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 (pretty much official). In order to leave, Craven must make a payment of "liquidated damages" to Larry Hedrick (much like Irvan had to do in order to leave the #4 for the #28). Steve Grissom is the leading candidate to fill the void if Craven comes up with the cash.
#42 Coors Light Pontiac - Kyle Petty and Felix Sabates have announced 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 #49 below). Sabates is looking into switching from Pontiac to Chevy for next year, and Robby Gordon made the mistake by alluding to the fact on NASCAR Online Chat session earlier this week.
#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 the likely sponsor and possibly Jeff Purvis as driver.... As I heard, a 3rd party is involved with the sponsorship of this team, so the whole deal is questionable at this point.
#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, no official word that 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 - A new development has Felix Sabate trying to buy this team from Joe Nemechek, who reportedly will lose Burger King as sponsor next year. Although the offer has not been accepted, word is that the offer may be difficult to turn down since it includes a new sponsor. Nemechek would reportedly stay on as driver for '97, but the operation would move over to SABCO's shops.
#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.
#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 recently bought out Charles Hardy's portion of the team, and now retains full ownership, although it apparently involved surrundering his name from the Georgia Ford dealership. McDonald's has stated that Elliott's team will in fact retain McDonald's full sponsorship for '97 as per their three year contract. So any rumors that McyDee's is going to Joe Gibbs should be squashed.
#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 co-sponsor Buzz McCall's team with the #95. What happens to Sadler Motorsports next year 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. A rumor has Mark trying to merge with Bill Davis Racing.
#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. Rumors have run the gamat on this one.... Sponsors that have been mentioned include Pepsi, KFC, Taco Bell, Mug Rootbeer, Harley Davidson, Hot Wheels and now the NWO. The NWO stands for "New World Order" and is a bunch of guys allegedly trying to take over WCW "World Championship Wrestling" with the car #49. Apparently, since WCW sponsors the #29 Busch car, the NWO feels obligated to sponsor a NASCAR team as well. There are confusing reports as to whether this deal is for the BGN or WC car. I still feel comfortable saying that Kyle will have his own WC team next year, with some sort of sponsorship from the Pepsi company.
#? - General Mills was planning on sponsoring a team next year, with Wheaties the likely candidate to go head to head with Corn Flakes. Apparently, they have changed their mind and are looking into CART.
#? - Morgan Shepard had thoughts about starting his own team when he decided to part ways with the Butch Mock - Remington Arms team, but he has now decided that he does not have enough time to find a sponsor. Look for him to fill the empty seat on the #90 car or possibly the #15 if Wally makes a move.
------------------------------------------- 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.