The Weekly Newspaper serving the citizens of Morenci, Mich., Fayette, Ohio, and surrounding areas.

  • Front.cheers
    MACEE BEERS joins other Fayette Elementary School students for the annual Mini-Cheer performance during the half-time break at the basketball game.
  • Family.3.wide
    CHILDREN at Stair District Library’s Family Story Time toss scarves into the air during an activity. The evening program provided a mix of stories, songs, dancing, crafts and snacks Monday evening. The program is offered at 5:30 p.m. every Monday for five more weeks. The program is designed for three to five year olds and their family.
  • Front.newpaper.2
    THE INTERVIEW—Evelyn Joughin (right) records the interaction with an iPad while Jack Varga, next to her, asks questions of Morenci Elementary School principal Gail Frey. Morenci senior Sam Cool (standing) listens. Cool serves as the editor for the newspaper written by members of Mrs. Barrett’s second grade class.
  • Front.code.2
    WRITING CODE—Brock Christle (left), a Morenci fifth grade student, takes a look at the progress being made by fourth grader Anthony Lewis. Libby Rorick, a sixth grade student, is next in a line of girls trying out the coding tutorials. This year marked Morenci’s second year of participation in the Hour of Code project.
  • Front.gym.new
    REMIE RYAN (left) tries to dodge the foam wand held by Hayden Bays during physical education class at Morenci Elementary School. In the background, Lauryn Dominique and Brooklyn Williams stay clear of the tag. Second grade students were working on cardiovascular health on the first day back from vacation. For the record, Safety Tag is a very difficult sport to photograph.
  • Front.lift
    MORENCI student Dalton McCowan puts everything into a dead lift attempt Saturday morning during the Wyseguy Push/Pull event. Lifters helped raise more than $1,600 for the family of the late Devin Wyse, a former Morenci power-lifter who graduated last year. Commemorative T-shirts are still available by contacting teacher Dan Hoffman.
  • Front.library.books
    MACK DICKSON takes a book off the “blind date” cart at the Fayette library. Patrons can choose a book without knowing what’s inside other than a general category. The books are among those designated for removal so patrons can consider them gifts. In Morenci, new books and staff favorites were chosen from the stacks and must be returned. Patrons get a piece of chocolate, too, to take on their date, but no clue about their “date.” One reader said she really enjoyed her book for a few pages, but then lost interest—so typical for a blind date.

NASCAR.Stewart's latest moves not that odd 8.13

Written by David Green.

NASCAR NOTES

with RICH FOLEY


Stewart’s latest move not that odd


Many in the NASCAR community expressed the opinion that Tony Stewart had lost his mind when he announced he was leaving Joe Gibbs Racing at the end of 2008 to became driver and co-owner of the struggling Haas CNC team.

After all, Stewart had won 32 races and two NASCAR Cup championships with the Gibbs team while the Haas CNC outfit had never came close to winning a race, even when having drivers as noted as Daytona 500 winner Ward Burton behind the wheel.

It’s an indication of how desperate team management was that they basically gave Stewart half ownership of the team just for signing on as driver. But was Stewart wise to accept the deal?

The idea of owner-drivers in the NASCAR Cup series has come and went a couple of times in the past. In NASCAR’s early years, many drivers owned their own teams. By the mid-1960s, most top drivers had signed on with factory-backed team owners, leaving only struggling independent drivers to run their own operations.

Bobby Allison won seven races in his own car in the early 1970s, driving it in races his regular team owners chose to skip. After his last owner-driver win in 1974, it was 14 years until the feat was repeated.

Long-time journeyman driver Lake Speed ran the race of his life at Darlington in March 1988, winning for the only time in his career. He gave hope to all of his fellow independent drivers, but Alan Kulwicki was the one who lived the dream to its fullest.

Kulwicki scored his first Cup win in November 1988, but he didn’t stop there. He won again in 1990 and 1991. He also won 24 poles during his career. Even with his success, Kulwicki was never quite able to secure sponsorship on an even dollar level with the sport’s top teams. But it didn’t matter in 1992.

Kulwicki won twice that year and squeaked out a Cup championship in the final race of the season. In the meantime, Darrell Waltrip had started his own team in 1991 and won two races, then added three more in 1992.

When Kulwicki was tragically killed in an airplane crash early in 1993, other drivers jockeyed to buy his team and join the owner-driver craze.

Geoff Bodine eventually bought Alan Kulwicki Racing and won three races in 1994 and another in 1996. Ricky Rudd started his own team from scratch in 1994 and won six times between 1994 and 1998.

Other drivers tried to run their own teams with less success, but even the big names tired of the increasing demands on their time to run a team and court sponsors in addition to their in-car duties. Bodine sold his team and returned to driving only after the 1997 season. Waltrip sold his operation in mid-1998. Rudd made it through the 1999 season before returning to “hired-gun” status.

In recent years, both Michael Waltrip and Robby Gordon have tried the owner-driver combination. Even with major sponsorship, Waltrip’s experiment has been disastrous. Gordon has fared somewhat better, but has been unable to secure sponsorship befitting a major team, hindering his efforts to return to Victory Lane. That’s one problem Tony Stewart appears to have solved.

While long-time backer Home Depot will remain with Gibbs, Old Spice, an associate sponsor of Stewart’s for years, will move to his new team as co-major sponsor. Stewart has added Office Depot, now a sponsor on the car of Carl Edwards, as the other major sponsor. Stewart plans to run a second car, but driver and sponsor have yet to be named.

Stewart seems to be the kind of person that can make this work. Like Kulwicki, he’s a bit of a perfectionist and will probably run through quite a few employees until he finds a group he’s comfortable with. Once that happens, the sky’s the limit.

Stewart is already a successful owner of several open-wheel racing teams and Ohio’s Eldora Speedway, one of the country’s legendary short tracks. After he has total control of his Cup future in his hands and Stewart-Haas Racing is running to his satisfaction, that third Cup championship could be just around the corner.

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