NASCAR Notes: Bodine To Return Soon Foyt Hires Nephew

Geoffrey Bodine, injured in a fiery wreck Feb. 18 during the truck race at Daytona International Speedway, is expected to return to Winston Cup competition next week in Richmond, Va.

Bodine, who had hoped to be back this weekend in Fontana, Calif., took part in a two-day testing session last week in Richmond.

"He hasn't lost much at all," said crew chief Jim Long. "It's like he's never been gone from the car."

Bodine, 51, broke his ankle, wrist and a bone in his spine. His truck flipped and cartwheeled in flames after slamming into the wall at 190 mph.
Dick Trickle will drive the Bessey Motorsports entry at California Speedway. It will be Trickle's third start for the Chevrolet team.

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Foyt Racing Shakeup: A.J. Foyt has made another major change in his fledgling Winston Cup operation, turning over the general manager's job to nephew Tommy LaMance.

LaMance, who replaces Waddell Wilson, guided Foyt's Indy Racing League team to two series championships and the 1999 Indianapolis 500 title.

"Tommy has been my right-hand man the last six years," Foyt said. "He knows how I want my race teams run."

Foyt also hired David Evans to head the in-house engine program for his Pontiac. Evans, longtime engineer builder for Rusty Wallace, most recently worked for Larry Hedrick.

Evans is Foyt's third recent addition from Hedrick's team, joining driver Rick Mast and crew chief Philippe Lopez.

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Golden Wrench: Dale Inman, Richard Petty's cousin and longtime crew chief, will receive the North Carolina Auto Racing Hall of Fame's first Golden Wrench award for contributions to the sport.

"Dale was a racing benchmark," Petty said. "He was the sport's first official crew chief, and people modeled themselves after him."

Inman helped Petty win seven Winston Cup titles and guided Terry Labonte to his first championship in 1984. Inman also worked with Dale Earnhardt, Rick Wilson, John Andretti and Bobby Hamilton.

The 63-year-old Inman, who officially retired in 1998, is now a consultant to Petty Enterprises. He will be honored May 25 in Charlotte, N.C.

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Track Talk: Michael Waltrip dismisses the on-track connection between the Roger Penske-built California and Michigan speedways.

"They call California and Michigan sister tracks, but they look more like stepsisters to me," said Waltrip, preparing for Sunday's NAPA Auto Parts 500 at California Speedway. "You look at California just like a really big short track.

"It seems like you just drive down into the corner, let off the gas, let her roll and then get back on the gas. It's different than Michigan, where it seems like momentum is the most important thing."

The d-shaped, 2-mile ovals have different banking in the turns. Michigan Speedway is banked 18 degrees, four more than California Speedway.

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