News 98-01-14

NASCARFans E-Mail Newsletter ===== The duo of Ken Schrader and two-time Daytona ARCA 200 winner Andy Hillenburg worked one of three Andy Petree Racing Skoal Bandit Chevies up to 47.633/188.945, which ranks the team second on the unofficial ...

NASCARFans E-Mail Newsletter =====

The duo of Ken Schrader and two-time Daytona ARCA 200 winner Andy Hillenburg worked one of three Andy Petree Racing Skoal Bandit Chevies up to 47.633/188.945, which ranks the team second on the unofficial winter speed chart. Dale Earnhardt and Dave Marcis did likewise in one of a pair of No. 3 Childress Racing GM Goodwrench Service Plus Monte Carlos they worked with, clocking 47.654/188.861. (NASCAR Online)

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Roush Racing of Liberty, N.C. announced General Mills and its cereal, Cheerios as the sponsor of the number 26 Ford Taurus driven by Johnny Benson. The team will contest all 33 rounds of the NASCAR Winston Cup series in 1998. Crew chief for the Cheerios car will be Steve Hmiel.

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Congratulations to Dr. and Mrs. Jerry Punch (ESPN) who just had a baby!(Jayski)

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The new year of NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series competition has attracted the most successful field of drivers ever compiled for Cintas Rookie-of-the-Year honors. Sponsored by Cintas Corporation, the official uniform supplier for the truck series, the point-based rookie season will commence in Orlando, at Walt Disney World Speedway on Jan. 18.

Along with Tommy Archer, who has earned more championships for Dodge than any other driver, the field of Cintas contenders includes eight-time Indy 500 veteran Dominic Dobson and '98 Winter Heat Champion Greg Biffle in addition to Joe Bush, Andy Houston, Andy Michner, Scott Walters, Wayne Anderson, Joe Haita, and Barry Bodine. (Racing PR Website)

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Kellogg USA has announced plans to unveil two limited-edition collector's boxes featuring past and present stock car racing champions to commemorate NASCAR's 50th Anniversary and salute Jeff Gordon, the 1997 NASCAR Winston Cup Series champion. (NASCAR Online)

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Jayski's news:

Larry Hedrick Motorsports has its own home page:

http://www.lhms.com/

ESPN debuts its five-part series on the 50th anniversary of NASCAR Friday at 7:30 pm. "Sincerely, Bill France" is the first hour-long segment, profiling the NASCAR founder and examining auto racing in the 1930s and 1940s.

Thanks, Jay.

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This excellent article was written by David Poole, of the Charlotte Observer. It's a bit long, but a good read.....

Ford's race teams are so busy disagreeing with each other over their new Taurus, it's cutting into the time they have to worry about Chevrolets and Pontiacs.

``We're aggravated and we're not going to share anything with any other Ford teams,'' team owner Robert Yates said Tuesday, getting the Winston Cup media tour got off to a spirited start. ``If they take off and make us look bad, we'll just have to take that chance.''

Yates quickly amended that, saying his team would continue to work with Ford to get the Taurus ready for the Feb. 15 Daytona 500 and the rest of the 1998 Winston Cup racing season.

But Yates is plenty steamed over what he considers wasted time and effort, and he blames other Ford teams for some of that.

``Todd (Parrott) has cried more tears over this than Jeff Gordon wept at the Winston Cup awards banquet,'' Yates said. Parrott is crew chief for Dale Jarrett's No. 88 Fords.

Yates, who also fields the No. 28 for Kenny Irwin, said his team found some problems with the original design for the Taurus, which Ford will switch to from Thunderbirds this season.

Using wind tunnel data, Yates said, his team found that by lowering the front end and the deck lid an inch and making other minor changes, the aerodynamic characteristics of the Taurus could just about match the Thunderbird's.

So, Yates said, he asked NASCAR to approve those changes, and had every indication it was going to do so. He also expected that, when he shared the data with other Ford teams, they would be with him in seeking the changes.

In mid-December, however, Ford teams tested at Talladega and Lake Speed's Taurus, without the Yates-proposed changes, ran faster than anybody else's Taurus. ``Here comes Lake Speed out of nowhere, drops the thing on the ground, scrapes the quarter panels off of it and runs a half-second faster,'' Yates said.

Speed said Tuesday his car was legal for that test. `They went over our car for an hour and a half,'' he said. ``It fit every template NASCAR released for all the teams to build cars from.''

Speed's team, owned by Harry Melling, had already built several cars to the specifications of the Taurus templates that Yates wanted to modify.

Speed said his team knew nothing about Yates' lobbying for changes until just before the test session at Talladega.

During a one-day test at Charlotte just after the Talladega test, Jeff Burton's car from Jack Roush's stable performed well, too. Combined with Speed's Talladega results, that was apparently enough to convince NASCAR to decide the Taurus didn't need Yates' changes.

That decision now has Yates' operation behind in getting cars ready for the season. The fact that other Ford teams didn't support Yates in his bid for the rules alterations left him a little angry.

``We laid open all of our books, all of our history, all of our knowledge open to all of the Ford teams to say, `This is where we are,' '' Yates said. ``But nobody on the Ford teams has laid anything on the table for us all.''

Jarrett believes he understands the motivation.

``Some of the teams that we have beaten the past two years decided they just wanted to outrun us,'' he said.

``Because our Thunderbirds were better than theirs, maybe they considered that our drivers here weren't quite as good, so they'd issue a personal challenge. We take on all challenges here, we don't back down from anything.''

Parrott, meanwhile, is through with tears.

``They want to be the best Ford team,'' Parrott said. ``Jack Roush, he is Ford, and when he doesn't finish ahead of a new team with a rookie crew chief and a bunch of misfits who come in and win 11 races in two years and finish higher than either of his teams have, it's a slap in the face.

``But he might as well get used to it, because we're going to keep slapping them in the face.''

Thanks, David, again, excellent article. ===== Here's another similar story by Skip Wood of the Richmond Times-Dispatch:

Please, please, please.

That's Dale Jarrett's appeal to NASCAR for speed-enhancing refinements on the Ford Taurus, which will take over for the Thunderbird this season on the Winston Cup circuit.

"What we have right now," Jarrett said last weekend at the annual Winston Cup Preview, "is not as good as what we had."

That's what recent testing sessions have revealed to the Robert Yates-owned team, which is coming off a career-best season for its driver.

But although Jarrett won seven races last season and probably had the most dominant car during the last fourth of the schedule, he insists problems with the Taurus mute his enthusiasm for 1998.

"We've grown accustomed to running up front," he said. "But sitting here today, I'm not sure we have the capability to do that."

Jarrett had expected NASCAR would allow teams to lower the Taurus nose an inch, and his outfit groomed its cars accordingly. But NASCAR decided the nose would stay where it was.

"The changes that we didn't get set us back pretty far," Jarrett said. "But we don't have that, so we're going to have to find a better way." So what's Plan B?

"I guess we go in the NASCAR trailer wearing knee pads," Jarrett said with a grin. "We get on our knees (and beg) and see what happens."

===== This also by Skip Wood:

Think Dale Earnhardt's still smarting about last year's showing, in which he didn't win a race for the first time in 16 seasons? Think again.

The seven-time Winston Cup champ was blunt in his expectations for the season that begins next month with the Daytona 500.

"I think we'll win plenty of races and win the championship this year," Earnhardt said, matter-of-factly.

He didn't exactly fall on his face last season, that Darlington episode notwithstanding. Earnhardt finished fifth in the points standings and pocketed more than $2 million.

He also admits there were flaws, specifically regarding qualifying setups and race-day consistency.

"But our race-day package has gotten better and better," Earnhardt said, "and it's going to be better yet."

He added that testing results have been positive, as well.

===== Also from Skip Wood:

Mark Martin won't even hint that his team may break out the Thunderbird at Daytona. Other teams have threatened as much, but Martin considers it a closed case. Ford has opted for the Taurus, and so will he. Period.

"The Thunderbird's out of the question." he said. "Totally out of the question."

Of course, that's not to say he's ready to give the Taurus a vote of confidence.

"We have a lot to do and very little time to get it done," Martin said. "We're certainly, at this point, ill-prepared for Daytona."

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The owner of one of racing's -- and all of sportscasting's -- most recognizable voices will join NASCAR Online fans in chat on Wednesday. Eli Gold, who hosts NASCAR Live and calls races for TNN television, will drop by at 1 p.m. EST in the next installment of our media chat week. (NASCAR Online)

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Jan. 14, 1979 -- Terry Labonte begins his NASCAR Winston Cup record streak of 569 consecutive races when he starts the Winston Western 500 at Riverside (Calif.) International Raceway. (NASCAR Online)

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Sponsor or no sponsor, Phil Parsons had already made his plans to head to Daytona for the NASCAR Busch Series Grand National Division opener next month.

If he had his druthers, however, he didn't want to make the trek south without any financial backing. As it turns out, he won't have to.

Parsons, a NASCAR Busch Series veteran since its inception in 1982 and one of its steadiest performers, announced Tuesday evening during the Bell South Media Tour presented by Charlotte Motor Speedway that his No. 10 Chevrolet team had secured primary sponsorship for the 1998 season from Dura-Lube, a company that had sponsored Dick Trickle's No. 64 entry the past two seasons. (NASCAR Online)

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Here are some other NASCAR Online stories you might want to check out:

Dale Earnhardt, Jr. chat session: http://www.nascar.com/news/97news/00533295.html

Irwin (no, not me!) set to make splash in '98: http://www.nascar.com/news/97news/00533334.html

Cheerios to sponsor Benson: http://www.nascar.com/news/97news/00533180.html

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David Poole also wrote an article on Bruton's Smith's vision of 2 NASCAR circuits. Check it out here:

http://www.charlotte.com/nascar/97/pub/040726.htm

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There are some real gems by Glen Grissom from the Bell South Winston Cup Media Tour here:

http://www.country.com/motor/hard-link/rn011498a-bellsouth.html

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Speedway Children's Charities National Office, based at the Charlotte Motor Speedway, announced today that http://www.NASCARFANtasy.com, a new interactive web site owned by Reher-Morrison Motorsports, will raise money for the Charities and award players with NASCAR related prizes.

For a minimum $15 donation to the Charities, fans can play all three major NASCAR series all season and be eligible for a variety of prizes. The web site features completely secured online transactions when paying by credit card. NASCARFANtasy.com will give 100% of the donations to Speedway Children's Charities, a foundation that distributes funds to non-profit children's organizations throughout the country. (Thanks, Kim) =====

Speedway Children’s Charities announced today its first ever Internet web page, http://www.speedwaycharities.org, benefiting them by advancing awareness about the foundation as well as keeping race fans informed of the activities of the Charities.

Speedway Children’s Charities is a non-profit foundation that distributes funds to non-profit children’s organizations throughout the country. NeoFocus, an Internet marketing company in Plano, Texas, donated the web page to the Charities so that more people will be aware of the work they do.

This year alone the charities distributed over $816,000 to non-profit children’s groups throughout their chapters. Chapters are located at Bristol Motor Speedway, Atlanta Motor Speedway, Charlotte Motor Speedway, Texas Motor Speedway and Sears Point Raceway. (Thanks, Kim)

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Reher-Morrison Racing Engines has announced that they will add a NASCAR Craftsman Truck team to their 26-year racing legacy.

The Arlington, Texas based company is the primary engine builder for NHRA teams and also works with many Winston Cup teams. Additionally they own the successful Outlaw-sponsored NHRA Pro Stock driven by Bruce Allen. After many years of going straight and seven world championships co-owner Buddy Morrison has developed another division of the company called Reher-Morrison Motorsports.

"We plan to compete in 10 truck races this season, but we must sign a sponsor to do that," said Morrison. "Since we are so new and we only plan to race a partial schedule, we feel we can offer a company a great deal of publicity at a reasonable price."

Newcomer David Starr of Houston will pilot the Chevrolet 1500 making his debut Sunday, January 18, in the season opener at Disney World Speedway.

David Starr has a website at http://www.davidstarr.com. Reher-Morrison has a website at http://www.reher-morrison.com.

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From Rich, concerning the proposed Maryland race track to be located in Anne Arundel county. Information is from "The Capitol" newspaper:

The track is to be located on an abandoned 380 acre sand and gravel pit near Ft. George G. Meade in the western part of Anne Arundel County. It will be 1 mile in length and will feature an oval as well as a road course. It will have 54,800 seats. It will be developed by the Middle River Racing Association of Timonium. It will create over 1000 jobs and is expected to generate $10 million in tax revenue. The track property is bordered by a womens correctional facility, an industrial park, the National Security Agency headquarters and a 2000 home development.

The developers have requested a change in the zoning laws so the track approval process can be sped up. They have said that they need to have the track open by 1999 so they can get a Nascar date. Opposition is light but is expected to grow. The main concerns are noise and traffic. To help appease the nearby residents the developers are offering 8 public ballfields, a skateboard park and road improvements.

======== Mike Irwin (mailto:Mike@NASCARFans.Com) NASCARFans --------------------------------------- NASCAR Fans Website http://www.NASCARFans.com _______________________________________

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About this article
Series NASCAR Cup
Drivers Dale Earnhardt , Jeff Gordon , Dale Jarrett , Terry Labonte , Dick Trickle , Ken Schrader , David Starr , Greg Biffle , Andy Houston , Tommy Archer , Dave Marcis , Andy Petree , Bruce Allen , Phil Parsons , Jack Roush , Robert Yates , Dominic Dobson , Tim Richmond , Mark Martin