Mike's NASCAR Notes 97-06-30

Mike's NASCAR Notes 6/30/97 (mike@nascarfans.com) _________________________________________________ A Note from Mike I wanted to thank everyone for all the feedback and the questions I have received since Von let me start writing the NASCAR ...

Mike's NASCAR Notes 6/30/97 (mike@nascarfans.com) _________________________________________________

A Note from Mike

I wanted to thank everyone for all the feedback and the questions I have received since Von let me start writing the NASCAR Notes. It's been fun for me, I never thought I'd be a "reporter" or "writer". I try to answer all the mail I receive, but please understand that I can't usually go into great detail, due to work and family time constraints. Also, understand that I am not an "insider". I have no direct ties to any team, manufacturer, or sponsor (although if any of these folks would like to contact Von, Henry, or me.........) :-)

Now, on to today's notes and news............

Tony Stewart to NASCAR

Tony Stewart, one of the Indy Racing League's young stars, is going (as rumoured months ago) to NASCAR, as the newest member of Joe Gibbs Racing, which fields the #18 Interstate Batteries Pontiac for Bobby Labonte. Gibbs plans to have Stewart start in the Busch Grand National series and join the Winston Cup division in 1999. Stewart will continue to compete in the Indy Racing League through 1998, but will begin driving for Bobby Labonte, who owns his own Busch team, in a limited number of events this year. Gibbs' operation will expand to field the Busch series Pontiac for 1998.

Geoff Bodine Team Sale Not Final Yet

Geoff Bodine indicated a week ago at California that the sale of his team was imminent. ''If I wasn't here, it might be done by now,'' Bodine said last Thursday. The team said Saturday, June 28, however, that nothing has been concluded. ''It's still ongoing,'' team manager Lee Morse said yesterday. ''We're in discussion with a lot of prospective purchasers. But we're not anywhere near making a decision or accepting any offer.'' Bodine's sponsorship from QVC, a television shopping network, is going away. There are several versions of what has happened, but the truth is not known. Bodine last week blamed himself for the team and sponsor troubles, saying his two-year struggle with divorce kept him from properly administering the No. 7 group.

Jayski reports that on RPM2Nite Saturday, Andy Evans said that talks have broken off between him and Geoff Bodine for buying the #7 WC team. Evans hopes he is still under consideration. Jayski guesses that only the Rick Galles rumor is still alive.

More Taurus News

Ford's racing Taurus, due to replace the soon-to-be-discontinued Thunderbird as soon as next year, is said to be in wind-tunnel tests this past weekend, Ford team sources said. Rusty Wallace's team is said to have carried the racing edition through clay models and to have a full-scale piece ready for aero testing. Members of the Wallace team could not be reached Saturday, 6/28, for comment.

Bell Suffers Heart Attack

Ken ''Ding'' Bell, longtime chief crewman for the Junie Donlavey team, had a heart attack last Monday but is said to be doing fine. Team manager Jeff Kirk said Bell, 55, is recuperating but will not be at Daytona with the team.

Kenny Irwin (great name, btw) Jr. to Yates??

Jayski reports that he keeps hearing (from a well placed source) that Kenny Irwin Jr. is in line for a WC ride at Robert Yates Racing, and that he's still waiting on the announcement about Ernie Irvan signing the contract that was so well rumored a few weeks ago.

Coca Cola signs DJ??

Jayski says that Coke has reportedly signed Dale Jarrett, probably starting in 1998.

Magic Shoes Shifts His Way to Victory Lane

Mike ``Magic Shoes'' McLaughlin lived up to his nickname on the only road course stop in the NASCAR Busch Series, winning the Lysol 200 at Watkins Glen International Sunday. His teammate Todd Bodine was second, and the polesitter Joe Nemechek finished third. McLaughlin, who started sixth in the field, spent much of the day trying to get to the front. McLaughlin's win was the first for a NASCAR Busch Series driver in the seven years the Series has visited the Glen. Dale Earnhardt Jr., who qualified his car ninth, finished 39th, after incurring engine trouble on lap 12.

Sprague Wins Truck Race

Jack Sprague won the NAPA Autocare 200 at Nazareth, Pennsylvania, on Sunday, June 29. Joe Ruttman finished second, and Mike Bliss was third.

Kaboom(times 6)!

Six teams were victims of engine failures in the inaugural California 500. Rick Mast's Ford, Dave Marcis' Chevy, Ernie Irvan's Ford, Sterling Marlin's Chevy, Geoff Bodine's Ford, and Ken Schrader's Chevy all bit the dust during the race.

Woods Family Members Continue Recovery

Beth Witt, Leonard Woods' daughter, was released from Baptist Hospital in Winston-Salem on May 26. She had surgery to repair her spleen, but is expected to make a full recovery. Her 4 yr. old daughter, Carlin, was released from the hospital June 3. Carlin is recovering at home from adominal surgery. My best wishes and prayers go out to the Woods family, especially to Leonard in the loss of his wife in the crash a month or so ago.

200,000 seats

Roger Penske says that his goal for the California Speedway is to have 200,000 seats in five years.

Sponsor Renewal

Darlington Raceway and TranSouth Financial Corp. announced recently that TranSouth would continue to be the title sponsor of the track's spring race through the year 2000.

Mike Irwin (mike@nascarfans.com) NASCAR Fans _______________________________________ NASCAR Fans Website http://www.nascarfans.com

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About this article
Series NASCAR Cup
Drivers Dale Earnhardt Jr. , Ernie Irvan , Dale Jarrett , Bobby Labonte , Tony Stewart , Rusty Wallace , Todd Bodine , Ken Schrader , Joe Nemechek , Jack Sprague , Joe Ruttman , Dave Marcis , Rick Mast , Mike Bliss , Robert Yates , Roger Penske , Andy Evans
Teams Yates Racing , Carlin