Random News - January 2000

Kick The Tires And Light The Fires
DAYTONA BEACH, FLA. (January 20)- - The Chevrolet and Pontiac Winston Cup teams tested at Daytona International Speedway on Monday and Tuesday in preparation for February's Daytona 500. Jeff Gordon took to the track in cars 24a and 24b. "We've got one car we're really happy with and we're primarily doing engine stuff with the other car," said Gordon who turned laps of 185.357 in the faster car and 183.561 in the second car. "We've got two cars and one is doing one thing and one is doing another. We've been able to split it up and it's almost like having two whole teams that are going full bore on each car. That's how we're going to get the most out of this test because you don't get a lot of time on the track." The 185.357 lap was the third fastest of the day, just a shade behind Ward Burton's late afternoon fast lap of 185.789 The test session marked the debut of Gordon's 2000 Chevrolet Monte Carlo on the famed 2.5-mile superspeedway. After winning the Daytona 500 last year, Gordon looks to become the first back-to-back winner of the event since Sterling Marlin won the race in 1994 and 1995.

Nothin' But The Taillights
HARRISBURG, N.C. (January 18)- - The body style of NASCAR Winston Cup cars might look similar to the cars you can buy on the showroom floor, there are few "stock" parts on a race car. To make the cars seem more like their street counterparts, teams began using headlight decals a few years ago. In 2000, the Chevrolet teams will also sport taillight decals. Though technically just for show, the added decals are designed to bridge the gap between the look of the stock car and the look of the street counterpart.

Remembering T. Wayne
HARRISBURG, N.C. (January 14)- - On January 14, 1998, T. Wayne Robertson was killed in a boating accident in Louisiana. Robertson was the president of R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Company's Sports Marketing Enterprises for 13 years. He began his career at RJR as a truck driver, hauling the Winston show cars across the country to various appearances and worked his way up the corporate ladder. He was the innovator of programs such as the Winston Million and the No Bull Five where drivers (and now race fans) have the opportunity to become millionaires during a single event. Robertson's department also managed sponsorships of NASCAR Winston Cup racing, NHRA Winston Drag Racing, and other sports sponsorships associated with RJR. He is credited with bringing RJR's motorsports affiliation to the national level. Robertson also created the annual Winston Cup Preview event where fans are afforded an opportunity to meet their favorite drivers and view the new paint schemes for the upcoming season. After his death, the event was renamed "The T. Wayne Robertson Winston Cup Preview" in his honor. As a result of his innovations, the NASCAR Winston Cup series experienced a level of growth that is unprecedented in American sports. He will always be greatly missed by the racing community.

Keeping Up Appearances
HARRISBURG, N.C. (January 3)- - The month of January might be considered the "off season," but Jeff Gordon's schedule is in mid-season form. Next week, he begins pre-season testing at Daytona as he'll take to the track in the 2000 Monte Carlo. On January 15, he'll be on hand (along with nearly all of the Winston Cup drivers) at the Winston Cup Preview in Winston-Salem, North Carolina for an autograph session. The Preview provides fans with their first look at the 2000 paint schemes. Following that, he'll return to Daytona for two more days of testing in preparation for February's Speedweeks. On January 28, he'll attend the GMAC Race Expo at the Von Braun Civic Center in Huntsville, Alabama. In addition to an autograph session, attendees at the GMAC Race Expo will have the opportunity to try the DuPont race simulator which gives fans a realistic racing experience. For more information about the GMAC Race Expo, call (800) 277-1700.

The Pitchman
GULF STREAM, FLA. (January 3)- - Jeff Gordon is quickly becoming one of the most sought-after endorsers in all of sports according to a survey of business and advertising executives conducted by Burns Sports, Inc., a Chicago-based firm that hires athletes as product endorsers. Gordon ranked seventh in a survey of the 20th century's top endorsers behind such names as Michael Jordan, Tiger Woods, and Muhammad Ali. The survey also asked which athletes would be the top endorsers of the 21st century. Gordon was fifth on that list behind Woods, Jordan, Peyton Manning, and Ken Griffey Jr.

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