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Another crew chief exits early for Jarrett

Compiled from Times wires
© St. Petersburg Times
published April 10, 2003

MOORESVILLE, N.C. -- Brad Parrott was released as Dale Jarrett's crew chief Wednesday after seven races and one win. His brother, Todd, took a leave of absence as team manager.

Garth Finley and Richard Buck will run Jarrett's team at Martinsville Speedway this weekend.

"We are in the business of winning races and championships," said Doug Yates, GM of Robert Yates Racing. "For the last several races, this team hasn't performed to the level that we know it is capable of performing.

Brad Parrott took over for his brother this season when Todd gave up his job as crew chief for a competition-based role for RYR drivers Jarrett and Elliott Sadler.

Brad Parrott won in his second race, guiding Jarrett to a win at North Carolina Speedway. It was Jarrett's only top-10 finish of the season. The 1999 Winston Cup champion is 12th in points.

This is the second straight quick crew chief change for Jarrett. Jimmy Elledge left a few races into the 2002 season when he and Todd Parrott were struggling to work together.

CHEEVER OUT OF INDY 500: Eddie Cheever Jr. won't get a chance this year to win the Indianapolis 500 for the second time. Owner-driver Cheever, the 1998 Indy winner, said in a statement he will not drive -- though his team will enter at least one car.

His decision ends a streak of 13 consecutive starts at Indianapolis Motor Speedway, the longest among active drivers. The 45-year-old was careful not to say he was retiring, instead calling it a "self-imposed sabbatical."

No replacement was announced for his No. 51 car.

He cited his increasing travel, which included seven trips to Europe this winter, as much of the reason for his announcement.

Cheever lives in Phoenix but was born and raised in Rome, traveling there more frequently since he and John Menard, another IRL team owner, purchased TWR Engines, an engine-design company based in England.

FORMULA ONE INVESTIGATION: The governing body FIA will investigate the outcome of the Brazilian Grand Prix in which Kimi Raikkonen beat Giancarlo Fisichella in a race shortened by spinouts and crashes on a rain-soaked track. Race stewards will meet Friday in Paris.

FIA said if the results were changed, Fisichella, who overtook Raikkonen on Lap 54, would be the winner. The Formula One race usually runs 71 laps but was stopped Sunday on what seemed to be the 55th lap, with Fisichella of Italy in front. Officials declared the race over at the end of the 53rd, when Raikkonen was first.

But FIA said it had received evidence that suggests "car No. 11 (Fisichella) had started his 56th lap before the race was stopped. If this proves to be the case, the race classification would be that at the end of the 54th lap."

F1 BREAKAWAY SERIES: Five automakers will ask Formula One's teams to publicly support a rival series starting in 2008, which will pressure the current competition to pay teams more. Officials of the 10 teams, including series leader McLaren, will be invited to sign a nonbinding agreement at a meeting in Munich, said Nav Sidhu, spokesman for Ford Motor Co.'s Jaguar racing team.

The automakers own, part-own or have agreements with six teams. They want support from the rest as they increase their 47 percent share of TV revenue. Teams spend as much as $2-billion a year combined and are paid $50-million from TV contracts.

NASCAR FINE: Pat Tryson, crew chief for Ricky Rudd, was fined $10,000 for a violation at Talladega Superspeedway. NASCAR said Tryson improperly attached weight to the No. 21 Ford before a practice run. Tryson was caught when the weight fell off the car as it prepared to enter the track.

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