Owners seeking drivers

Posted: Thursday, May 08, 2003

ATLANTA All of a sudden it's a driver's market on the NASCAR Winston Cup Series.

With one job already filled this week, there still are two more vacancies with top-flight teams.

Jerry Nadeau's injuries Friday at Richmond, Va., and the firing of Jeff Green on Monday and Steve Park on Tuesday put car owners in a search mode during one of the rare open dates on the stock car schedule.

Green landed in Park's old job, but that still leaves Nadeau's position at MB2 Motorsports and Green's old job at Richard Childress Racing to fill.

In terms of a replacement, we have to look at the circumstances around each candidate, what other commitments they have and what potential conflicts there might be which usually occurs on the sponsor side,'' said Jay Frye, general manager at MB2.

Nadeau remained in serious but stable condition Wednesday at a Richmond, Va., hospital with head, rib and lung injuries, Frye said. Doctors aren't saying when, or if, the 32-year-old driver will be able to race again.

Green lobbied for that job Monday, but he quickly accepted the ride at Dale Earnhardt Inc. a day later when Park was fired.

Frye and Childress both are left with sorting through a very small list of qualified drivers. Mike Wallace and Ron Hornaday Jr. already have been mentioned as possible candidates for Childress, while Green's departure to DEI has Frye back to square one.

Frye's job was made more difficult because it's not likely a full-time driver will leave his job when the ride at MB2 could be temporary if Nadeau returns.

PIT STOPS: Some of the gasoline suppliers currently negotiating with NASCAR to replace Unocal 76 as the official supplier want the sanctioning body to consider unleaded fuels. Cars and trucks in NASCAR currently use leaded gas. Converting to unleaded would require a major change in the way engines are constructed since lead is used as a lubricant. ... The American Dairy Association celebrated its one-race sponsorship with Terry Labonte's Chevrolet at Richmond, Va., by commissioning an artist to carve a replica of his car out of cheese. At 3,500 pounds, the car, made of cheddar, weighed 100 pounds more than his real car.

Reach Don Coble at doncoble@bellsouth.net.

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