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From the Newsstand
  The Buzz What it means
John Sturbin of the Fort Worth Star-Telegram says Winston Cup driver Steve Park has cast a "no" vote in the debate over possible introduction of NASCAR's so-called Talladega aerodynamic package to slow race speeds at Texas Motor Speedway this season. The aero packages are used in conjunction with carburetor restrictor plates. The standard Talladega package includes a 59-inch rear spoiler with a 1-inch gurney flap atop the blade and a damper strip across the roof, mounted 10 inches behind the front glass.
Tony Fabrizio of the Dallas Morning News says Hendrick Motorsports was a NASCAR dynasty during the mid-to-late-'90s, capturing four Winston Cup championships and two Craftsman Truck Series titles. Who could forget Hendrick's 1-2-3 finish in the 1997 Daytona 500 with Gordon, Labonte and Ricky Craven? During the past two seasons, though, Hendrick's Winston Cup powerhouse has experienced a precipitous fall. Gordon, who was indomitable in 1998 with a record-tying 13 victories, tumbled to sixth and then ninth in the standings in '99 and '00. Labonte finished 12th in '99 and, partly because of injuries, 17th last year.
Ed Hinton of the Orlando Sentinel says in-car interviews -- while the race in in progress -- with drivers is becoming a nuisance. That sort of thing "has got to stop," says the savviest promoter in all of NASCAR, H.A. "Humpy" Wheeler, president of Lowe's Motor Speedway near Charlotte, N.C. NASCAR must choose: Will it continue to allow instant gratification of team sponsors, thereby turning off new audiences and damaging its new TV package? Or will it mandate a cleanup, woo viewers who haven't cared before, attract more sponsorship on the TV commercial side and thereby take its final giant step into mainstream America?
Bob Pockrass of the Daytona Beach News-Journal says Jimmie Johnson is known more for a wild wreck than he is for his years as a motorcycle racer, an off-road racer and a stock-car racer. Johnson, whose brake failure at Watkins Glen sent him speeding into a guard rail protected by plastic foam, hopes a few Busch Grand National victories and a dabbling in the Winston Cup Series this year will make him known for his racing. Johnson, who placed 10th in the Busch series last year as a rookie, will run six races for Rick Hendrick in the Cup series with a full-time ride planned in 2002. Jeff Gordon will serve as his mentor. "I don't have to worry about, as an aspiring young driver who wants to go to Winston Cup, if I'm going to get that break or get the sponsors," Johnson said during Grand National testing Tuesday at Daytona International Speedway.

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