One thing leads to another in practice crackups

Seven cars in accident, but damage seen minor

Neuenberger squeaks in

Daytona notebook

Auto Racing

February 13, 2002|By Sandra McKee | Sandra McKee,SUN STAFF

DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. - The Winston Cup cars went out to practice yesterday afternoon and seven of them were involved in an accident.

"This happens every year in practice," said Jeff Burton. "It's just part of it. The only way to find out what your cars will do and how you're running is to get in big packs, and anytime we get in big packs and anything at all happens, it just takes out a lot of cars."

Yesterday, just two days before the Gatorade 125-mile qualifying races, it took out Burton, Tony Stewart, Jimmy Spencer, Bobby Hamilton and Brett Bodine.

No one seemed overly upset about it.

"I think the car will be OK," said Stewart. "It's front-end damage. I don't think there's any suspension damage."

Bodine's Ford seemed to start the problem by getting loose and then Hamilton moved into his side, causing Burton to check and Stewart to run into Burton, and so it went.

"It's not a big deal," said Hamilton.

What continues to be far more upsetting is the rule change that allowed Ford to cut a quarter-inch off its rear spoiler in an effort to enable its cars to create more speed.

"Ford publicly stated they were going to build a down-force car and be able to race wherever they went and just suffer in the four restrictor-plate races," said car owner Bill Davis, who owns the Dodges driven by Ward Burton and Hut Stricklin.

"OK. Now, they're getting this kind of break on the speedways. I don't understand."

Yesterday was the first day that the new rule went into effect. Mark Martin, driving a Ford, had the fastest time in practice and there were five Fords among the seven fastest cars.

He's trucking

Ted Musgrave earned the pole for Friday's Florida Dodge Dealers 250 Craftsman Truck Race with a run of 187.215 mph in his Mopar Performance Dodge yesterday. Ron Hornaday Jr., who drove his Wolverine Boots Chevrolet 185.778 mph, will start on the outside of the front row.

Brandywine, Md.'s Donnie Neuenberger made the field with little to spare. He got his IHOP Dodge up to 182.146 mph. That was good enough for the 30th spot in the 31-truck field.

Buckle up

For those who saw a report that Bill Simpson, former Simpson Performance Products chairman, was going to sue NASCAR for $30 million over fallout from Dale Earnhardt's death here a year ago in a crash in which his Simpson seat belt allegedly tore apart, it hasn't happened yet. Maybe tomorrow.

Chuck Davies, chief executive officer of the company, said the Simpson Performance Products is not a party to any lawsuit against NASCAR and does not intend to become a party to such a suit.

Share to Petty camp

Attila Collectibles has announced it will donate $10 from the sale of each set of its four-generation Petty family bobbing heads to the Victory Junction Gang Camp, founded by Kyle and Pattie Petty in honor of their late son, Adam.

The camp is for chronically ill children, and its goal is to provide camping experiences that are fun, empowering, physically safe and medically sound. Located on 62 acres in Randleman, N.C., it is operated solely on contributions.

The sets, limited to 5,000 and selling for $99.99, feature Lee, Richard, Kyle and Adam Petty. The Pettys hope more than $40,000 will be raised through the project. The sets are available only via a toll-free number, 800-382-6511, or on the web at www.attilacollectibles.com.

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