As The Crankshaft Turns, Busch & Nextel Series At Loudon
AS THE CRANKSHAFT TURNS
DALE JR BURNED IN GRAND AM PRACTICE
A few weeks ago I had reported that Dale Earnhardt Jr was going to team up with veteran road racer Boris Said to run the American LeMans Series race at Infineon Raceway located in Sonoma, California. For the die hard fans know that Infineon is a road course. On Sunday morning Dale Jr went to do the thirty-minute practice session to get more familiar with the Chevrolet Corvette CR-5 that he would be competing in during the race. While on the track the Corvette spun and struck a barrier in the turn eight part of the track, then all of a sudden the car caught fire. Earnhardt Jr was able to get out of the burning car on his own and safety crews assisted him to the ambulance. Doug Fehan, Program Manager for Corvette Racing, said about the accident, "We had an unfortunate incident in morning warm-up today with our number eight Corvette. The accident was caused by a combination of many factors, including a slick racetrack, cold tires, and a full tank of fuel. The hit was so hard that it broke the filler neck off the fuel cell and caused a fire. We know Dale Jr wishes he could be back here at the race with us and we're going to try to win this one for him.” Through Steve Crisp a spokesperson for DEI, Earnhardt Jr said, "I'm bummed out and disappointed I couldn't run the race.” He was transported to University of California-Davis Medical Center where doctors ran x-rays and stayed the night for observation and the x-rays proved he had no broken bones.
The bad news is the Corvette was a total loss and the team opted not to compete in the race after all. Earnhardt Jr did suffer minor second-degree burns to the chin and on the legs. But the good news is he does plan to compete in the upcoming race at Loudon, New Hampshire and was released from the hospital Monday to go back home to North Carolina to recover.
Get Well Soon Dale Jr!!
NEMECHEK TO REMAIN IN 01 THROUGH 2005
Joe Nemechek has been driving for MB2 Motorsports as the fill-in driver for the injured Jerry Nadeau since his accident at Richmond, where he suffered a serious head injury who drove the zero one car. Jay Fry, General Manager of MB2 Motorsports, said, "In a short time together Joe and the team have developed a great working chemistry. This team continues to turn out solid performances and has the ingredients to reach a new level of success. As a driver, Joe has done an excellent job piloting the zero one car and has been equally outstanding as a spokesperson and representative for our sponsors. We are excited about what we feel is in store for the future of this team” As far as Jerry Nadeau is concerned, he continues his recovery program and there is no exact date as to when he will be back in competition.
Joe Nemechek said, "I want to thank MB2 and all of our sponsors. This Army/USG team has plenty of talent and we are jelling as a unit. We had a streak of bad luck recently, but we hung in there and never lost our focus and confidence in each other. We've had great cars at all different types of tracks and I can't wait for the second half of the season.” He followed up by saying, "I look forward to working with the U.S. Army, it's a privilege and honor to be associated with this institution. We support our troops and know they support us. I want nothing more than to have success on the track and make our soldiers proud of the zero one Army race team.”
MCMURRY WILL DRIVER FOR WALLACE AT NEW HAMPSHIRE
Rising Nextel Series driver Jamie McMurray has taken over the driving responsibilities for Billy Parker Jr in the Busch Series for Rusty Wallace Incorporated starting this weekend at Loudon, New Hampshire in the Siemens 200. But don't worry race fans; Parker isn't off the team, according to RWI's Barry Dodson, General Manager of the team, said, "He's still employed here. He's just not driving the car. He still might be used for some testing and some developmental stuff ... he's just not going to drive the car right now. We just need to have some production, mainly for the sponsor, but also for what Rusty and Pattie have put together and for the race team, because we've got a helluva race team here.”
McMurray comes with experience because in the last two seasons he has won three races in a limited schedule for car owner James Finch. With McMurray running for Wallace this weekend James Finch put his Nextel Series teammate Casey Mears in for the race at New Hampshire. Some information on how Billy Parker Jr has done so far in 2004; with eight starts this season he is 42nd in points and his best finish was finish 22nd at California. Jamie McMurray has five starts this season and has three top ten finishes and one win at Rockingham so far this season. Dodson followed up on those facts and said, "Exactly, just making all of the races and finishing them was our goal. We did not put any pressure on (Parker) ... we just wanted to qualify for all the races. We've made every one and he's qualified well ... we haven't used a provisional yet, but we haven't finished 50% of what we've run and it's halfway through the season. There was a lot of pressure on him, but to me it was self-induced, he's in a high profile race car and there are big expectations to live up to.”
Although critical of Billy Parker Jr, Dodson did acknowledge it wasn't all Parker Jr's fault be saying, "If he had a veteran pit crew he would have won Las Vegas ... a rookie driver in his first race. But we lost two laps in the pits; we passed the winner three times. It drives me crazy. We said, ‘Let's just finish and get some experience,' but when even that doesn't, you don't even accomplish that. With the quality of this team and equipment, you need to get some top-ten's. We should never have put a rookie driver in it.”
It's a learning thing boys, Good Luck!