Kansas City, Kan. Lawyers used to visit stores and souvenir booths looking for bootleg merchandise on behalf of Dale Earnhardt, often handing out cease and desist orders on the spot.
Tony Stewart's lawyers didn't have to work as hard. They found what they claim are bogus souvenirs on the Internet.
As a result, Stewart and his sponsor, The Home Depot, filed a lawsuit against Gary McColgin, claiming he sold nonlicensed memorabilia over the Internet, including Stewart racing helmets for as much as $4,000 each.
''We've been trying to track this guy down for a while now,'' Stewart said. ''It looks like fake racing helmets weren't the only things he was selling. My management group has been gathering evidence, and we're charged Mr. McColgin with selling fake racing helmets.''
According to Stewart, McColgin, who lives in Woodstock, Ga., was arrested for selling fake Rolex watches on eBay. The Federal Bureau of Investigation is working with Stewart on his claim McColgin sold fake helmets in the same manner.
PARK OUT: Steve Park was told this week he won't be retained at Richard Childress Racing after the season ends.
Childress told Park after he failed to qualify for last Sunday's race at Talladega, although the car owner insisted that had nothing to do with his decision.
''This is a performance-driven business, and the team's performance has not been up to our expectations,'' Childress said. ''So we decided to make a change for next season. We're announcing this decision now so Steve will have time to find another ride for 2004 and we will have time to find a driver for the team next season.''
PIT STOPS: Despite a blown engine that relegated him to a 33rd-place finish at Talladega, Matt Kenseth's 354-point lead over Kevin Harvick means he can finish ninth in the final seven races without leading a single lap and clinch his first NASCAR Winston Cup Series championship. If he leads one lap in the final seven races, he can finish 10th or better to clinch. ... Todd Bodine will drive the No. 48 Chevrolet for Innovative Motorsports Inc. this Saturday at Kansas Speedway. That car used to be driven by Shane Hmiel until he was suspended for violating NASCAR's substance-abuse policy. Innovative Motorsports Inc. had a sponsor lined up for 2004 with Hmiel as the driver, but the company withdrew its support when Hmiel failed a drug test after the Sept. 5 race at Richmond, Va.
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