Ken's NASCAR Silly Season Notebook 96-11-04

Ken's NASCAR Silly Season Notebook - November 04, 1996 - - - Don't forget to get out and vote Tuesday!! - - - ------------------------------------------- NASCAR Silly Season Central ------------------------------------------- Here we are,...

Ken's NASCAR Silly Season Notebook - November 04, 1996

- - - Don't forget to get out and vote Tuesday!! - - -

------------------------------------------- NASCAR Silly Season Central ------------------------------------------- Here we are, only a few days away from the finale in Atlanta. Rumors continue to persist about a few teams, and I'm still willing to bet that a few more announcements will come out of the garage area in Atlanta. A very special thank you to all those that keep forwarding me updates for the list - especially the ones inside the NASCAR circles. Your help and support is greatly appreciated.

#0 - Delma Cowart in the Master's Inn Ford

#1 Hooters Pontiac - Precision Products & Richard Jackson will lose Rick Mast to the #75 car, will lose crew chief Kevin Hamlin to the #31 car, has lost co-sponsor Hughes to the #43 car, and Hooters definitely will not return as sponsor. This team appears to be in trouble for Daytona, as there are no identified replacements or potential candidates.

#2 Miller Ford - Penske or Rusty Wallace will stay together. The rumor that the team may lose crew chief Robin Pemberton has been dismissed since Rusty reported he and Robin have signed a 3-year deal. There are some rumors about a color change for this team next year - likely to the Miller Lite colors of Blue & Yellow.

#02 - Robby Faggert, Chevrolet.

#3 GM Goodwrench Chevy - Richard Childress will be making a few changes next year, to try and secure Dale Earnhardt's 8th Championship. The shake up shifts current crew chief David Smith to General Manager of the #31 team, and co-crew chief Bobby Hutchens as RCR General Manager. Childress is talking to several crew chiefs, including Steve Hmiel (Mark Martin), Gary DeHart (Terry Labonte), Paul Andrews (Geoff Bodine) and Todd Parrott (Dale Jarrett). Also, a rumor out of Charlotte has Dale Earnhardt doing a "farewell tour" for profit in 1997, and then coming out of retirement in 1998 to drive his own car with Nike as a the primary sponsor (the Nike glove deal gave momentum to this rumor).

#4 Kodak Chevy - what was formally no changes for Morgan-McClure and Sterling Marlin team has now become the best kept secret of silly season! Crew Chief Tony Glover was offered a job by Felix Sabates to join SABCO racing in 1997, but when Larry McClure found out, he let Glover go on the spot. McClure will temporarily fill-in as crew chief at the next couple of races, or until he decides how to fill the now vacant position. Several people seem to point towards Kirk Shelmerdine as the leading candidate to fill the position from outside the Morgan-McClure shop, but don't bet on it.

#5 Kellogg's Corn Flakes Chevy  - no changes for Hendrick and Terry 
 Labonte.  Still running the Honey Roasted Corn Flakes paint job???

#6 Valvoline Ford - Roush Racing has given Mark Martin a new crew chief, Jim Fenning from the #12 car. Current crew cheif Steve Hmeil will become the team manager. Rumors continue to persist that Steve Hmeil is on the top of the list for crew chief on the #3 car with Earnhardt.

#7 QVC Ford - no changes for Geoff Bodine's team. QVC will stay in WC but will supposedly leave not return for the Truck series next year.

#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 - Melling loses Spam as sponsor (to the new #91 team) and crew chief Jim Long (to the #10 car). 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, was 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. New crew chief is rumored to be Steve Crow, promoted from within the team.

#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 at the end of the year. A previous rumor just resurfaced that says AT&T will be his new sponsor in '97, as he reportedly signed a three year deal on Oct 23rd with a full announcement in Atlanta. Blockbuster had also been named as a potential sponsor.

#12 Badcock Ford - Bobby Allison has lost crew chief and long time friend Jimmy Fenning to the #6 Valvoline car, and will lose Derrike Cope as driver for next year to the #36 Skittles car & potentially may lose Badcock as sponsor. More and more rumors out of the garage area have Bobby Allison folding up shop and retiring from racing all-together....possibly to enter the political arena. The latest rumors have Allison's team already up for sale....sad story.

#14 Racing for Kids/Toy Biz Chevy - Dale Earnhardt Inc's deal with SABCO has ceased to exist (probably after bad experience at Charlotte) and this team no long has Robby Gordon as driver.

#15 Hayes Modems Ford - Bud Moore will lose current driver Wally Dallenbach to a parttime ride (20-24 races) with SABCO (#87 most likely). Look for Morgan Shepard to come back with Bud one more time next year, as Morgan has been looking for a ride for some time now. 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) was supposed to be a candidate for next year's sponsor.

#16 Family Channel/PrimeStar Ford - Roush, both sponsors, and Musgrave will back for next year (officially announced). Looks like Roush is trying to wake up his teams with a couple minor changes. Howard Comstock out as crew chief and into the team manager slot with James Ince as new crew chief. Ince has served as the chief mechanic of the #6 and #99 Roush Racing teams up until this time.

#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 (ARCA series) to drive for him in 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 definitely switch to a Pontiac next year. Interstate Batteries will stay as primary sponsor. No other changes noted.

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

#20 - Ranier/Walsh BGN team to form a brand new Winston Cup team in 1997 with Indy 500 ROTY Tony Stewart as driver. They had an agreement in the contract with Tony to have a sponsor by a specific date, and hired a marketing firm to help attract a sponsor. However, the date reportedly has passed and Tony is reportedly a free-agent again. Rumors now seem to indicate that Rick Hendrick is trying to form a IRL team with Tony Stewart as driver, with an additional BGN team for Tony to run the full Busch series schedule in 1997. Tony has a contract with Menard to drive IRL next year, which he would also need to break. Hendrick denies it all and says its just a rumor.

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

#22 MNBA Pontiac - Ward Burton will be back with Bill Davis' team next year. Another rumor has Mark Rypien merging with Davis' operation somehow...but I haven't heard anything in a while on this.

#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. Rick Hendrick has finalized a "multi-year"deal with Ricky Craven, to drive the #25 car starting next year. Budweiser is named as the sponsor. The actual owner of the team is listed as "Papa" Joe Hendrick, Rick's dad.

#26 - Terry Byers (looking for sponsor to run next year).

#27 David Blair Motorsports Ford - David Blair and crew chief Mike Hill are struggling to keep this ex-Jr. Johnson team alive. They have had several drivers this year, including Todd Bodine who has left to drive the #33 seat vacated by Robert Pressley. Blair has recently hired Ron Barfield (driver for Elliott's BGN & Truck) to drive the car in the last race at Atlanta this coming weekend. No formal word as to their plans for '97, but rumor has Barfield running the full schedule with this team. That would tend to contradict the rumor that Barfield was going to run a partial season in a 2nd Elliott car.

#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 now has Robert Pressley driving this car for the remainder of the year, and Pressley has signed a multi-year contract with the team to drive full time starting next year.

#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 and Kevin Hamlin as crew chief (from the #1 Hooters team) and David Smith as general manager (from the #3 team) for full schedule. RealTree Camouflage was reportedly talking with Bud Moore & the #15 team for sponsorship next year.

#33 Skoal Pontiac - Andy Petree has officially assumed full ownership as of Oct 2nd, and changed the name of the team to Andy Petree Racing. Robert Pressley to the #29 car to prepare for next year with Todd Bodine in for remainder of this year. Kenny Schrader will leave the #25 Budweiser team and take over this ride for '97. Skoal Bandit to stay on as sponsor for the new team. Leo Jackson may go back to work on the #1 car with his brother Richard.

#36 Skittles Pontiac - MB Motorsports is owned by a group including Nelson Bowers, a Chattanooga auto dealer, Atlanta investment banker Tom Beard and Atlanta attorney Read Morton. Jay Frye, former NASCAR program manager for Valvoline, is the team's general manager. Mars Inc candy company will expand their NASCAR involvment (Snickers, Pedigree) to have Skittles as the primary sponsor. Derrike Cope has signed on to drive this car next year and Ryan Pemberton (younger brother of Robin Pemberton) will be crew chief.

#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 now has Robby Gordon driving this car with Tony Glover as Crew Chief (lured from the #4 car by a $1 Million deal). A few changes in the works for next year with Coors Light as the sponsor as First Union goes to sponsor the #87 team, with Wally Dallenbach as driver. will field Chevy Monte Carlos next year, instead of Pontiacs.

#41 Kodiak Chevy - Larry Hedrick is losing part-owner and driver Ricky Craven to the #25 Bud car (official). Larry Hedrick has announced that Steve Grissom will take over the driver's seat for 1997, with Kodiak staying on as sponsor.

#42 Coors Light Pontiac - Kyle Petty and Felix Sabates will part ways at the end of this year. Felix has promoted crew chief John Erickson to general manager and will replace him with Mike Hillman as CC next year. SABCO has bought a majority of NEMCO #87 team, and will put Joe Nemechek in the #42 car next year, with Bell South Mobility as sponsor. Felix didn't want Robby Gordon to have to fill the shoes of Kyle Petty, so he put Robby Gordon into the #40 car next year with Coors Light as sponsor. Enter SABCO's third team with Wally Dallenbach driving the #87 on a limited schedule.

#43 STP Pontiac - Bobby Hamilton announced that he has signed a contract extension with Richard Petty for 1997. Huges Richard Petty is holding a contest to determine a new color scheme for next year, but I cannot find details on it anymore.

#44? - Morgan-McClure will not form 2nd team...on hold until the new race shop is complete. This number could potentially be Kyle Petty's new number next year, as he was not able to convince Sabates to let him have the #42.

#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.

#60 - Ed Berrier.

#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 #15 or #90 seat.

#77 Jasper/Federal-Mogul Ford - This team announced that Jasper Engines & Transmissions along with Federal Mogul will return as sponsors next year. Troy Selberg, who was recently added as team manager and crew chief, has left the team with no word on a replacement. Bobby Hillin Jr. should return as driver, since he is part owner of the team.

#78 Diamond Rio & Hanes Activewear Ford - The Wilson Racing team had planned to have Randy McDonald run for Rookie of the Year in 1996, but now has Billy Standridge trying in this car at Charlotte. Looks like this team will try to run the full schedule next year, and enter Billy for Rookie of the Year.

#79 - Norm Benning.

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

#86 HYPE Chevy - Ridling Motorsports will move Kevin LePage up from BGN series for 5 races next year. Kevin just won his first BGN race in 69 starts at the season finale in Homestead, Fla. Sponsor will be HYPE beverage products, same as the BGN team's sponsor for next year (also in the Formula 1 series). Hopes are that LePage will be able to compete for WC ROTY in 1998.

#87 Burger King Chevy - Felix Sabates of SABCO Racing has purchased controlling interest of the NEMCO team from Joe Nemechek. Nemechek will move over to the #42 as driver for '97 and Wally Dallenbach(from the #15) will fill the seat on the #87 in 22-24 race next year. Brad Noffsinger (from the SABCO truck team) will be crew chief for the #87 in 1997. They will lose Burger King as sponsor and gain First Union from the #40 car for 15-18 races next year. Additional sponsors are being sought for 7-10 more races.

#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 and McDonald's will stay together in '97 as per their contract. The latest rumor has Tim Brewer, former crew chief on the #37 car, talking with Bill Elliott about next year. It is unclear what role he will have, but Brewer and Elliott have a good history together. There are some rumors about Elliott trying to field a second team with Ron Barfield as driver, which is where Mike Beam might move over to.

#95 Shoney's Inn Ford - Sadler Motorsports has released Chuck Bown and hired Gary Bradberry to drive this car in selected races this year. The team will reportedly retain use of the #95 in 1997, and will not give the number to David Green's WC team effort next year. Bradberry is reported to be on the the list as a replacement driver for Derrike Cope for the #12 car, but may stay with this team for next year.

#97 Sterling Cowboy Pontiac - Rypien Motorsports is currently running a limited schedule this year with Chad Little as driver and Sterling Cowboy as sponsor. Next year John Deere will be sponsor and Chad Little will remain driver, with team attempting to run the full schedule. 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 with Mattel Hot Wheels as sponsor. The new team is being formed with daddy Richard Petty and David Evans as part owners, and will be called PE2 for Petty Enterprises #2. Several people will leave SABCO racing with Petty: Bobby Kennedy (crew chief), Glenn Funderburke, and Ronnie Phillips (engines). Initially, Kyle will get engines from Petty Enterprises, and then as his own engine shop develops, he'll switch to in-house engines.

#? - 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's Remington Arms team, but he has now decided that he does not have enough time to find a sponsor. Look for him to to back with Bud Moore to fill the empty seat on the the #15 car that was vacated by Wally Dallenbach.

#? - Buz McCall's team with David Green is moving up from BGN to WC next year, with Caterpillar as primary sponsor & Sunoco as an associate sponsor. Unsure of what number the team will use, since their attempt to get the #95 from Sadler racing may have failed.

#? - Tim Steele, current ARCA Bondo MarHyde Series sensation, will reportedly attempt to run Daytona in a Winston Cup car next year. His family's business, H-S Die, will sponsor the car for a couple races, but does not have enough money to fund the whole year. This team is aggressively seeking a full time sponsor and a run at ROTY for Tim.

#? - Rich Bickle to run a very limited WC schedule in Darrell Waltrip prepared cars. No word on sponsor, but look for it be similar to the sponsorship on his car, or Bickle's BGN or Truck ride.

#? - Ron Barfield to run a limited WC schedule in an Elliott-prepared car, with possibly New Holland as sponsor. Barfield is currently Elliott's protege who has driven BGN and Trucks, but is now linked to the #27 car of David Blair.

------------------------------------------- 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.

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About this article
Series NASCAR Cup
Drivers Dale Earnhardt , John Andretti , Rich Bickle , 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 , Tony Stewart , Dick Trickle , Rusty Wallace , Michael Waltrip , Todd Bodine , Mike Skinner , Kyle Petty , Jimmy Spencer , Joe Nemechek , Kenny Wallace , Sterling Marlin , Robby Gordon , Mike Wallace , Hut Stricklin , Robert Pressley , Stacy Compton , Johnny Benson , Chad Little , David Green , Dave Marcis , Rick Mast , Tim Brewer , Ed Berrier , Tim Steele , Richard Petty , Randy McDonald , Andy Petree , Steve Grissom , Gary Bradberry , Norm Benning , Carl Haas , Ron Barfield , Bobby Allison , Jimmy Fenning , Robert Yates , David Smith , Kevin Hamlin , Buz McCall , Felix Sabates , Cale Yarborough , Mark Martin , Bobby Kennedy
Teams Hendrick Motorsports , Bill Davis Racing