Team getting ready for the 1999 Monte Carlo...#1 Pennzoil Monte Carlo Crew
Chief Philippe Lopez knows the 1999 season is already shaping up to be a busy time for his
Dale Earnhardt Inc. team. General Motors plans to introduce the new Chevrolet Monte Carlo
body sometime around midseason. The introduction means Chevrolet teams will have time to
test the new body and still continue to use the current Monte Carlo that has amassed 63
victories and the 1995 and 1996 manufacturers titles plus all drivers' titles since 1995.
Lopez said the new body means more work, more thought on using test dates, and more
Impact Of Change:
"This Monte Carlo body has a lot of
wins and quite a few championships and has proven to be a great car, but we have to keep
up with the times. Ford has come up with the Taurus and this is General Motors' latest and
greatest. A new body is always a major change for us. Anytime you change the aerodynamic
package on a car you really have to test that car. Not just for those aero changes but
also for their impact on the shocks and springs and the car setup. I think you will
ultimately see this car in victory lane a heck of a lot in the coming years."
"A midseason change means we have to
almost run two bodies during the year and we don't have the off season to work on bodies.
So, as soon as the sheet metal comes out we will start hanging it on three brand new
chassis we have at our shop. Then we will do some testing as soon as possible but that is
going to be up to NASCAR's new testing rules. Testing the new body on short tracks isn't a
big deal. We can always go to Greenville-Pickens Speedway and test there and that doesn't
count against us. But, testing on a high-speed track is different. We have to use one of
our seven tests there. Then we have to decide whether we want to test the current or the
new body style. I hear NASCAR may be altering testing rules so everything may be different
by the time we get to that point."
Will Your Current Notes Help With The New
"Your notes are a good place to start
especially if you have really good notes. If you have good setups then after a couple of
races you will start to pickup on the new body. For example, if you have really good
setups for the current body at Rockingham, Richmond, and Atlanta and you find after those
three races the car was tight each time then you know with this new model you have more
rear downforce to work with. If the car was loose at all three places then you know you
have less downforce to work with."
How Have The Teams Helped General Motors?
"We have been included on a lot of the
wind tunnel tests. I know several of the teams have sent their engineers to talk with GM
about aerodynamic packages. The engineers are really the experts. All of us crew chiefs
try to stay out of that stuff. Crew chiefs always want the same thing: a low valence and
Contrary to rumors
circulating in Winston Cup garages, Steve Park is not out of a ride,
close to being out of a ride, or even remotely in trouble of being out of his ride. The
rumors are totally false. They started in Martinsville, when a Charlotte Observer reporter
apparently misquoted Don Hawk, president of DEI, about Dale Earnhardt, Jr, running a
Winston Cup car in Charlotte. That was all the rumor-millers needed to get this one
underway, even after Hawk held a small press conference race morning to clear up the
confusion. The #1 team was built around Steve Park, he made many of the suggestions on
whom to hire on the team, many would leave if indeed he were on his way out. Plus the
phone would be ringing from other owners wanting to hire the highly talented
Central Flordia.com - Garage Notes)
Big E's white
napkin the key to Park's Talladega...If Pennzoil Chevrolet driver Steve Park performs well this weekend at
Talladega Superspeedway in the Winston 500, he'll probably credit a small white napkin for
It was on that napkin in 1997 that his team
owner Dale Earnhardt, drew a diagram of Talladega for his new NASCAR Busch Series Grand
National Division driver. The diagram must have been accurate as Park, in only his second
career restrictor-plate race, staged a stirring duel in the final laps with Mark Martin,
nearly beating the veteran in the NASCAR Busch Series event that season.
Park returns to Talladega this weekend for
his second restrictor-plate race in a NASCAR Winston Cup car. Although there are no
napkins this week, Park said he and Earnhardt have had numerous discussions about driving
the 2.66-mile high banks of Talladega and the 2.5-mile Daytona International Speedway,
where the series visits after Talladega.
"That's easy -- Dale Earnhardt,"
Park said. "He is a master at superspeedways. He won Daytona this year. We talk all
the time about drafting and stuff. He's really shortened my learning curve by just sitting
down and talking to me. If I keep my mouth shut, I can really learn a lot from him.
"At the beginning of last year when I
started out in the Busch Series, Dale drew me a diagram of Talladega on a napkin. The way
the car setups are in qualifying, the cars have a tendency to bottom out and when that
happens they scrub speed off. You don't want that to happen so he used the napkin to show
me where some of the bumps and dips in the racetrack are. He knows exactly where each bump
is. He also showed me the optimum line to get as much speed as you can.(10-6-98)(Nascar Online)
No Luck But Bad Luck For Park...#1 Pennzoil Monte Carlo driver Steve Park knew
his race car was fast for Sunday's UAW-GM Teamwork 500 at Charlotte Motor Speedway. So,
the rookie driver figured that if he drove patiently we would certainly work his way up
the field from his 38th starting spot. And, he did just that.
"Our car was really
good and I thought we were going to have a great day," said Park who climbed into the
top 20 after about 60 laps on the narrow 1.5-mile track. "At the first of the race,
like everyone else, we were having a few handling problems because the rain overnight
washed away all the rubber on the track. But, I think we were better than a lot of cars
Adding to frustration, a sewer on the
backstretch overflowed stopping the race for 45 minutes. Once the race resumed Park and
the team worked as hard as they could to regain the lost lap. But, on lap 106 the rear-end
of Park's car slid out sending him into the turn two wall. The crash earned Park a trip to
the infield care center and a trip to the garage for the car.(10-6-98)(www.steve-park.com)
Steve Park's struggles seem
to continue this year as the UAW-GM 500 was a tough ride for him. Steve was involved in
one of several single car incidents. Steve Park, started 38th but was up to 18th when he
tagged the wall. He was able to return to the race 97 laps down and finished 36th. Steve
has had an extremely tough year since sustaining injuries early in the season . (10-4-98)
#1 Pennzoil Monte Carlo driver Steve
Park will drive in Sunday's NASCAR Winston Cup race in Dover, DE. Results from a
late Monday evening CAT scan showed Park sustained no head injury after an afternoon
testing accident at the Metro-Dade Homestead Motorsports Complex in Homestead, FL. Park
was released from the hospital Monday night after the CAT scan as well as X-rays on his
neck and back.(Pennzoil PR)(9-15-98)
#1 Pennzoil Monte Carlo driver Steve
Park was groggy, but unhurt after a Monday afternoon testing
accident at the Metro-Dade Homestead Motorsports Complex in Homestead, FL. Park crashed in
turn three of the 1.5-mile oval and walked to the ambulance under his own power. Track
medical crews transported Park to Homestead General Hospital for observation late Monday
afternoon. Team officials were awaiting the results of a CAT scan Monday evening. Team
members reported Park was a bit groggy and said he felt, "as if I had been beaten
up." Park was at the track assisting the Dale Earnhardt Inc. Busch team in its
preparation for the season ending Jiffy Lube 300 on Nov. 15 and the Nov. 28 Winston Cup
exhibition race at the similarly configured Twin Ring Motegi track in Japan. While Dale
Earnhardt Jr. tested the team's Busch car, Park was shaking down the Winston Cup car.
Plans called for Dale Jr. to test the car the Winston Cup car on Tuesday. The Japanese
race marks Dale Jr.'s first appearance in a Winston Cup car.(Pennzoil Press
Hornaday is Two Million
Dollar Man...1996 NASCAR Truck Series champion Ron Hornaday has reached the two
million-dollar mark in winnings in the Truck Series.
With Hornaday's third place earnings of
$13,550 at Phoenix International Raceway on Saturday, he exceeded the two million-dollar
mark in winnings. He has recorded $2,006,829 in four years and 96 races in the series.
"I would have never thought that in
four short years in a new NASCAR series that we could win that much money," said
Hornaday. "It just goes to show you how much NASCAR has done to grow the Truck
"Back in 1995 when Dale and Teresa
(Earnhardt) gave me this opportunity to drive their No. 16 Chevy, I could not have guessed
that it would be such a wonderful ride. Thanks to a great team and our sponsor, NAPA, this
has all been possible."
Hornaday, the 1997 series "Most Popular
Driver," has the most wins in the series with 23.
He currently is involved in an intense
point's battle for the 1998 crown with Jack Sprague. Hornaday leads Sprague by 13 going
into the final race at Las Vegas Motor Speedway on November 8.(10-30-98)(Speedworld)
and DEI - BGN in 1999...Hornaday and DEI, UPDATE: I hear CTS Driver Ron
Hornaday will drive a 2nd BGN Dale Earnhardt Chevy at the Daytona BGN race in February
1999. NAPA will be the sponsor.(10-29-98) -- was announced on RPM2Nite and will happen. No
idea of a #.(10-30-98)(Jayski)
NAPA has announced that it will sponsor a
Dale Earnhardt Inc.-prepared Chevrolet Monte Carlo for Ron Hornaday to drive in the NASCAR
Busch Series Grand National Division NAPA Auto Parts 300 at Daytona International Speedway
on February 13, 1999. The DEI entry will carry sponsorship from NAPA AUTO PARTS and will
sport the familiar blue-and-gold paint scheme that adorns Hornaday's winning NASCAR
Craftsman Truck Series ride.
"I have always dreamed of racing at
Daytona," said Hornaday, the 1996 NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series champion. "I
told Dale (Earnhardt) that I did not care what I raced at Daytona when I went to work for
him -- horses, go-karts, bicycles, I just wanted to one day race there. This is a dream
Hornaday holds the NASCAR Craftsman Truck
Series career record with 23 wins. He has earned more than $2 million in prize money. The
NAPA Auto Parts-sponsored Monte Carlo will be prepared by the DEI truck team.
"It is a natural that we sponsor Ron in
the NAPA Auto Parts 300 at Daytona," said Steve Handschuh, president of NAPA Auto
Parts. "Ron is a great representative for NAPA and we are as excited as he is about
Since 1996, NAPA's racing efforts have been most recognized via its sponsorship of the DEI
truck driven by Hornaday. In 1999, NAPA will continue its support of the DEI Truck team,
and will have title sponsorship of eight NASCAR events. There are over 6,200 NAPA Auto
Parts stores nationwide.
"This is something that Ron has always
wanted to do," said seven-time NASCAR Winston Cup Series champion, and DEI owner,
Dale Earnhardt. "We are thankful to NAPA for this opportunity to run him at
is a past winner at the Bakersfield track. He has won there in the NASCAR
Featherlite Southwest Tour and took the victory in the inaugural event (1995) in the
NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series. He was leading the 1997 event when the NAPA truck
experienced a rear end gear failure.
Hornaday has 14 short-track victories (the most in the series). He has won twice this year
on the short tracks (Bristol and Memphis).
Hornaday hails from nearby San Fernando, Calif., and also lived in Palmdale. His annual
trek to Bakersfield is like going "home." He will get the opportunity to visit
with his family and his many fans that reside in Southern California this weekend. There
will also be over 300 members of the NAPA family on-hand to cheer on Hornaday.
"I always enjoy heading to Bakersfield," Hornaday said. "I have family in
the area and a lot of my fans from Southern California always come to the race. It has
been a long tough year. It's always nice to come to a place where you have a lot of fans.
I hope they are not too tough on (Jack) Sprague.
"The track itself is a typical tough old short track. There are a couple different
lines you can run around the place. I am sure it will be one of the best races of the
year. This will probably be the tightest pit road we see all year-that in itself will make
things interesting." (10-15-98)(Nascar Online)
Ron Hornaday heads
west for Sunday's Kragen/Exide 151 at Sears Point Raceway in Sonoma, Calif., with
a second NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series championship within his grasp. Hornaday leads archrival Jack Sprague by
26 in the point standings. The two contenders have swapped the points lead eight times in
a torrid championship battle. Four races remain on the road to the championship (Sears
Point, Bakersfield, Calif., Phoenix, and Las Vegas).
"Sears Point is like a second home for
me," Hornaday said. "I have run a bunch of races there. When I lived in
California, I ran in several NASCAR divisions at Sears Point and always ran well. I also
had my first start in a Winston Cup car there in June. I guess I have as many laps on that
circuit as anyone."
Hornaday has fared well on the road courses.
In the 10 road racing events run in the series, Hornaday has three wins, eight top-five,
and nine top-10 finishes. He has recorded three pole positions, and has led for 250 laps.
Hornaday has not won on a road course since his victory at Watkins Glen (N.Y.)
International in 1996. He took the checkered flag at Watkins Glen this year, but NASCAR
took the win away with a penalty for jumping the final restart of the race (Hornaday was
relegated to fourth).
"The changes they made have made it
tougher to pass," Hornaday said. "It's still a fun place to race, and I am sure
it is better for the fans now. They get to see a lot more of the action. I qualified 33rd
here in June in the NAPA Winston Cup car and was able to get up towards the front. So it's
possible to not qualify well and still win on the new circuit."(10-6-98)(Nascar Online)
Hornaday battled with Jimmy Hensley
in the final stages of the NAPA 250 and came up third. When Hensley and Hornaday started
rubbing fenders it allowed Jay Sauter in the #3 Goodwrech truck to slip underneath both of
the to take the win. Hornaday hold a 26 point lead over Jack Sprague in the season points
battle. With four races left in the season, Ron stands a good chance of winning another
Truck Series Championship. (9-28-98)
Kerry Earnhardt on the move....With
the name comes the expectation. Kerry Earnhardt understands that. So far, the racing world
knows him as "the other Earnhardt." He's hoping to change that in 1999, when he
becomes a full-time competitor on NASCAR's Busch Grand National circuit. Ask the oldest
son of seven-time Winston Cup champion Dale Earnhardt to discuss his goals, and he doesn't
hesitate. "Win a bunch of races," he shot back, adding that victories should
lead to a title. "We're going to concentrate on the championship and try to get
several wins next year." That theme is being played out this year by Dale Earnhardt
Jr., who in his first full season of Grand National racing has won six times and leads the
points standings with four events left.
But while 23-year-old Dale Earnhardt Jr. got
an early boost in his career by racing for the well-financed family operation, Dale
Earnhardt Inc., his 28-year-old brother is taking a decidedly different approach. Kerry
Earnhardt spent six years working as a service adviser for his father's car dealership,
but when he decided to try his hand in Grand National racing, he elected against doing it
under the family's umbrella. There was little fanfare seven months ago when he signed a
three-year contract to drive Chevrolets for Doug Taylor. The deal calls for him to run a
limited schedule this year and all the races in 1999 and 2000.
"I'm happy where I'm at," Kerry
Earnhardt said. "I'm just trying to run races my own way. Sure, it would be wonderful
to follow in my dad and my brother's footsteps and all that. But you have to be realistic.
"I drive a whole different style from what they drive. Everybody does what works for
him. I'm just hoping to do as well as I can, and hopefully, that will be better than
Kerry Earnhardt prepped by driving late
model stocks in NASCAR's Winston Racing Series, finishing fourth in the standings this
season at a track in Asheville, N.C. He has gone to three Grand National races this year,
and made the field at two. His first stop was Myrtle Beach, S.C., where he qualified 22nd
and finished 23rd, three laps off the winning pace. From there it was on to South Boston,
Va., where he had the 13th-best qualifying speed but got into a wreck with Matt Kenseth
and Glenn Allen and wound up 26th. He failed to make the field last weekend at Charlotte
Motor Speedway. He called it part of a learning process that also will include appearances
at the last four stops on the 1998 schedule.
"We're just trying to run the rest of
the way here this year and get all that rookie status stuff out of the way and get that
yellow stripe off the back of the car," he said.
He frequently consults his younger brother
for advice. "He's been a lot of help," Kerry Earnhardt said. "When I'm
racing, I'll go over to him and get some ideas of some lines and stuff like that."
Dale Earnhardt Jr. said his brother is
making excellent progress, especially considering a lack of experience on the circuit.
"The desire is there. He's just got to maybe back it off a notch," Dale
Earnhardt Jr. said. "We all have been through it starting out."
Once Kerry Earnhardt gets some more
seasoning, he's looking forward to running up front with his brother. "We've done a
little bumpin' and rubbin' here and there in late models," Kerry Earnhardt said.
"It'd be exciting for the fans. And it would mean a lot to me, too."(10-8-98)(AP-Go Carolinas-Sports)
Kerry Earnhardt was caught up in an
early wreck during the second round qualifying race for the Busch Grand National
Series and was unable to finish high enough in the qualifying race to earn a starting
position in Saturday's All Pro Bumper to Bumper 300.(10-2-98)
Kerry Earnhardt, son of
seven-time Winston Cup Champion Dale Earnhardt, will drive the second Channellock entry.
The Xpress Motorsports team will be handling car preparations, maintenance, and pit stops
for the third-generation driver. Doug Taylor Motorsports will be fielding the Channellock
#40 for Kevin Lepage as it usually does and Earnhardt's car will carry the traditional
Channellock colors and the #04. Earnhardt has two BGN starts this season (23rd-place
finish at Myrtle Beach, 26th-place finish at South Boston).(Jayski's 9-30-98)