Random News - September 2000

Johnson Joins HMS
HARRISBURG, N.C. (September 26)- - Busch series rookie Jimmie Johnson has signed with Hendrick Motorsports to drive full time in the Winston Cup series beginning in 2002. Johnson will continue to drive the #92 Chevrolet for Herzog Motorsports in the Busch series next year in addition to four Winston Cup events for Hendrick Motorsports. Johnson's cars will be fielded from Jeff Gordon's raceshop within the Hendrick Motorsports complex. Gordon will be directly involved with Johnson's team. "I'm really looking forward to working with him and developing his new team," Gordon said. "I think a two-team operation under one organizational structure could be the way of the future as it pertains to managing race teams." Johnson, a 25-year-old California native, was the ASA rookie of the year in 1998 and won two ASA events the following season. He is currently 10th in the Busch series points standings.

Intrigue At The Brickyard
SPEEDWAY, IN. (September 25)- - The Formula One series made its long anticipated return to the United States with the running of the U.S. Grand Prix at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway. Fans in the United States turned out in force to see the world's most refined form of motorsports on display. Michael Schumacher took the lead from David Coulthard on the seventh lap and never looked back. His biggest challenge came from the 2.6-mile race course itself. Five laps from the end, Schumacher spun in turn nine of the infield road course after his right side tires touched the wet grass. Though his 26 second lead was cut in half, he easily held on for the victory in front of a Formula One record crowd of 250,000. More important to Schumacher was the misfortune of Mika Hakkinen who came into the event with a two point lead on Schumacher in the standings. Hakkinen was running second to Schumacher and seemed to be closing the gap when he dropped out of the race on lap 25 after his engine expired. Schumacher's victory gave him an 8 point lead over Hakkinen with just two events remaining in the season.

Golf Classic
WILMINGTON, DE. (September 21)- - The 2nd Annual Jeff Gordon DuPont Motorsports Golf Classic was held on Thursday, September 21 at DuPont Country Club in Wilmington, Delaware. It raised more than $120,000 to benefit various children's charities. Roughly 100 golfers participated in the tournament at DuPont Country Club in Wilmington, Delaware, which was hosted by the three-time Winston Cup champion and attended by several other NASCAR drivers. At a ceremony following the tournament, Jeff joined Ellen Kullman, group vice president of DuPont Bio-Based Materials and Safety Resources, to present a check for $50,000 to the United Way of Delaware. The organization will distribute $30,000 to the local branch of the Make-A-Wish Foundation, which helps terminally ill children, and $20,000 to Children and Families First, which provides social, educational and mental health services in Delaware. The remaining money raised by the event goes to the Jeff Gordon Foundation, which supports a variety of children's charities.

No Bull Opportunity
RICHMOND, VA. (September 12)- - It has been awhile since Jeff Gordon was eligible for the No Bull Five $1 million bonus. Gordon was eligible for the bonus in May 1999 at Lowes Motor Speedway after a top five finish at Las Vegas earlier that year. However, a power steering line failed sending him behind the wall for repairs. He hasn't been eligible for the No Bull Five program since. With the victory in the Chevrolet 400 at Richmond, Gordon will be eligible for a $1 million payout should he win the Winston 500 at Talladega Superspeedway in October.

DuPont Among Best Managed
WILMINGTON, DE. (September 6)- - For the fifth straight year, DuPont has been named to Industry Week's list of the world's 100 best-managed companies. The judges who compiled the list evaluate companies on a number of factors including financial performance, innovation, globalization, employee benefits and community involvement. The magazine cited a number of reasons for DuPont's inclusion on its list, including the company's creation of a "Knowledge Intensity University" to provide training and the large number of Six Sigma projects that have been completed or are in progress. (DuPont PR)

Ball In Bahre's Court
DARLINGTON, S.C. (September 3)- - After Kenny Irwin and Adam Petty were killed in crashes at New Hampshire International Speedway earlier this year after the throttles on their cars hung wide open, drivers have demanded that the track install some type of soft wall barrier on the concrete walls in the corners. A stuck throttle on the straightaways at Loudon is devestating due to the angle of the concrete wall in the corners. Track owner Bob Bahre has said they will make adjustments should NASCAR ask them to. However, NASCAR Chief Operating Officer Mike Helton said, "We still maintain there's nothing wrong with that racetrack." Hence the September 17 race there could produce some tense moments for the sport's governing body. "They're going to get a lot of backlash," Jeff Gordon said. "I know a lot of drivers have said they think something should be done at a place like that." He added that the track needs to make the effort, whether it works or not. "The racetrack has a responsibility. They make enough money to put up a barrier. They've had plenty of time to put something up there," Dale Jarrett said. The track has the chance to learn from this year's tragedies. The proverbial ball is in Bob Bahre's hands. If he drops it, 43 drivers will pick it up and slam it back in his face. (Chicago Tribune/JG Online)

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