Random News - January 2001

News Bytes

  • To help commemorate Pepsi’s return to Winston Cup, Talladega Superspeedway is offering a special Jeff Gordon Pole Day Ticket for qualifying on April 20. The ticket has a photo of the #24 Pepsi Chevrolet appearing to "drive through" the ticket with a picture of Gordon celebrating in victory lane at Talladega last season.
    +Jeff Gordon Pole Day Ticket

  • Jeff Gordon donated $10,000 to the Kingsport Christian School in Kingsport, Tennessee. The 32-year-old school announced in early January that it needed $80,000 to stay open through the end of the year. "I’m very confident that we’ll get what we need to continue our ministry," said Mike Miller, principal of KCS. (Kingsport Times-News)

  • The story of how Rick Hendrick gave away the City Chevrolet license plate from his truck to a fan.
    +Honeymoon at Hendrick

    Enhanced Viewing
    OCEAN BEACH, N.Y. (January 15)- - To further enhance televised NASCAR coverage, the organization has planned a number of technological advances. For 2001, some cars will have cameras for qualifying and the race. There will be an electronic box mounted in the floor of the each car (about 1" square by about 5" tall) and a complete set of wiring harnesses that must be mounted in the car whether the car carries a camera or not. If a driver is going to have a camera in their car, then the "dummy" box will be swapped for a "real" camera box and cameras. The harnesses will be connected to the brake pedal and the distributor to register a telemetry set-up that will tell the viewer how much brake or throttle the driver is using. However, the plan kicks into high gear in 2002 when all 43 starters will have cameras in their cars. In addition to coverage on FOX/NBC, viewers will be able to choose which 4 cars and which of the 3 cameras (roof, driver, and bumper) in those cars they wish to view. Viewers would be able to do this through and 'The NASCAR Channel' (which is still in development) via their TV remote control.

    Planning Ahead
    CHARLOTTE, N.C. (January 10)- - The Winston Cup pre-season media tour rolled into Hendrick Motorsports on Tuesday. The annual event allows the racing media to visit a few select raceshops in the midst of the off-season to pick up some public relations fodder. Rick Hendrick announced that Ken Howes had been named Director of Racing Operations. Howes, who previously managed the chassis and R&D departments, will act as central policy maker to assure a better exchange of information between the teams. In addition, plans were outlined for the new raceshop on 37 acres adjacent to the HMS complex, which will also house Jimmie Johnson's Winston Cup team. The 25-year-old Johnson will drive the #48 Chevrolet in four races in 2001 and the full schedule in 2002. No sponsor for the team has been announced. When searching for a possible number, "48" was 24 plus 24. Two teams under one roof with one philosophy. The shared garage space should help to foster an exchange of information between the rookie team of Johnson and championship team of Gordon. Construction of the new shop is expected to be completed by mid-2001. Gordon also unveiled the new-look Pepsi Chevrolet. The pearlescent blue car will be driven at Talladega on April 22 and Daytona on July 7. Last June, Pepsi extended its relationship with Gordon through 2005 and will continue to include him in promotional activities. "We had two great years in the Busch series with the #24 Pepsi car and look forward to the two paint-out races this season," Gordon said.

    Keeping Up Appearances
    HUNTSVILLE, AL. (January 5)- - Jeff Gordon is scheduled to appear at the GMAC Race Expo at the Von Braun Center in Huntsville, Alabama on January 26-27. The expo features NASCAR cars, simulators, a mini Daytona style track, NASCAR merchendise, hands-on exhibits, and NASCAR drivers. Please note that Gordon will appear only on Friday, January 26. Joining him that day will be Steve Grissom and Benny Parsons. On Saturday, Tony Stewart, Kenny Wallace, and Harry Gant will visit the expo for autograph sessions. Gordon was scheduled to appear at the GMAC Race Expo last year but inclement weather forced him, as well as other NASCAR drivers, to cancel.

    Intensive Regimen
    GULF STREAM, FLA. (January 2)- - You'd be hard-pressed to find a NASCAR driver who worked out on a regular basis 25 years ago. However, as competition has intensified in recent years drivers have searched for an elusive competitive edge. These days it's not uncommon to see personal trainers and gourmet chefs traveling to the tracks to service the drivers. Mark Martin was one of the first to embrace physical fitness and others have followed suit. Jeff Gordon traces his work with weights, especially for his arms and upper body, to when he was seven years old. His stepfather told him it would help him control the car better. In recent years, he has added cardiovascular work to his routine, but like many drivers, Gordon still finds it a challenge to work out as often as he would like during the season, when a spare hour can be a precious and elusive commodity. "As I get older -- you know, I'm reaching 30 here pretty soon -- working out is becoming more and more a part of my routine," he said. Just as is the case with other drivers who have joined the physical fitness regimen, Gordon can sense a difference, especially as the season progresses into September, October and November. "I actually feel like I get stronger as the year goes on," he said. "And that's a good edge to have when you're sitting in that car." (NOL)

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