Wednesday news #1 97-07-23

NASCARFans E-Mail List Reported in the Greenville News: Slim Jim (Goodmark snacks) will not be the sponsor for Jason Kellers' BGN team next season. Jason Keller said he had decided not to exercise his option for a third year. Whatever the ...

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Reported in the Greenville News:

Slim Jim (Goodmark snacks) will not be the sponsor for Jason Kellers' BGN team next season. Jason Keller said he had decided not to exercise his option for a third year. Whatever the truth is, Jason says he is open to all opportunities, including driving for a different BGN or Cup team. (Thanks to xdemp)

Jayski reports that the new Todd Bodine Pontiac team will have McIlhenney Co. Tabasco as sponsor and car #35. They will run a Winston Cup car before the year is out. Either Charlotte or/and Atlanta.

Wes Ward has been appointed director of racing operations for Diamond Ridge Motorsports effective immediately, replacing Bill Ingle. As for Ingle, owner Gary Bechtel says "Bill Ingle worked tenaciously on our racing operation, but we were not producing the expected results. We wish him the best in his future endeavors." Ward joined Diamond Ridge Motorsports in September 1996, but returned to DAJ Racing (Dale Jarrett's Busch team) when Green moved up to the NASCAR Winston Cup circuit in May of this year. (NASCAR Online/RPM2Nite/Jayski)

Ted Musgrave signed a new contract with car owner Jack Roush. (JournalNow)

Kenny Wallace and Kenny Wallace Racing will attempt to make the BGN race at Gateway this Saturday in the #12 Graybar/Buss Fuses Ford in Saturday's race(nascar online/Jayski).

Michael Waltrip will drive in the Winston West Series event at Pike Peaks in Colorado this Sunday. He will drive the #55 Ford Thunderbird that Joe Ruttman attempted to race in the Winston Open at Charlotte. Waltrip owns the car and will be sponsored by Klaussner Furniture (NASCAR Online). Also Waltrip's#21 BGN team has re-signed Band-Aid as sponsor for 1998 to race in 15 BGN races (Jayski).

Speedworld reports that rookie driver Jerry Nadeau was released by Precision Products Racing (#1 R&L Pontiac) on Tuesday. Word is, though, that team owner Richard Jackson is trying to convince his sponsor, R&L Carriers, to stick with Nadeau. (Jayski)

Ernie Irvan feels that Andy Petree's offer is his top choice right now for a 1998 ride and that he would do the deal to become teammates with Kenny Schrader if the sponsor says yes. "The Andy Petree deal, if it could come together, would be a good deal," Irvan said yesterday. It is not clear who the sponsor might be, but Nike is one company interested in sponsoring a team next season. "We hope to get it done in the next 30 days," said Petree, who is talking with more than one potential sponsor. "If we do get the sponsor, I want to run Ernie. And Kenny is buying into the program, because he knows it would help both teams." Irvan confirmed that he has also talked with team owners Julius Erving, Jack Roush, Michael Kranefuss and Don Shavers ('97 NWO Busch team) about next season. "But I'm not sure there's anything open at Jack's," he said. "And Michael and I are always talking, but right now he thinks Jeremy (Mayfield) has been doing a great job, that it's still too soon for him to do a second team until his first team is all dialed in. I'm just interested in whatever deal can help Ernie Irvan win races, whether it's Andy Petree's deal or Julius Erving's deal."(parts from the JournalNow/Jayski).

One of Jayski's sources told him that Robby Gordon will go to the Barry Green/Team Kool Green CART team in 1998, plus iRace reports that Robby has sold his boat and home on Lake Norman(NC) and is currently renting a place in Charlotte until the end of the year.

The Wood Brothers have exercised their option to retain Michael Waltrip as their driver for 1998 (Philly Daily News/Jayski).

Dale Jarrett, talking about the upcoming Brickyard race, said, "I'll cherish last year's win the rest of my life. It's very gratifying and something I'll always remember. Obviously there's great history and great tradition at Indy, but it's also an incredible amount of money. It's the most money of any race that we run, and that is great motivation. We'd really like to win it again." (WRAL)

It isn't often that somebody can show up both Dale Earnhardt and Rusty Wallace in one fell swoop, but Richard Childress did just that last week at Indianapolis Motor Speedway. And now Childress wants his money.

Earnhardt and Wallace, he says, are in arrears to him for $1,000 apiece for a bet made over dinner about just how good a driver Childress might still be, 15 years after he hung up his helmet.

''I listened to 'em talking over dinner, over a steak and a glass of wine, and the bet was from Dale that I couldn't run in the 55-second bracket,'' Childress said of that night's break in a week of testing for the Brickyard 400. A 55-flat would be 163.636 mph.

''So I listened to 'em . . . and then the last 30 minutes of our testing, I went over and put on a suit and told 'em, 'OK, I'm ready.'

''I went out on the track, and the whole time I was putting in my mind what Ontario Motor Speedway (an Indy copy) had been like. Man, it was a thrill. It was the first time I'd been in the car at speed in 15 years. It was really a highlight for me to get to do that. I had a lot of fun. I just wanted to show 'em I could do it.

''That's all I needed of it. And I won the bet.'' (Mike Mulhern, JournalNow)

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 , Ernie Irvan , Dale Jarrett , Michael Waltrip , Todd Bodine , Jason Keller , Kenny Wallace , Robby Gordon , Jerry Nadeau , Ted Musgrave , Joe Ruttman , Andy Petree , Jack Roush