Originally created 08/19/04

Stewart honors Olympic athletes



BROOKLYN, Mich. - Tony Stewart's race car will pay tribute to six Olympic athletes this Sunday in the GFS Marketplace 400 at Michigan International Speedway.

Stewart's orange and white Chevrolet will have photos of six athletes who are part of Home Depot's Olympic Job Opportunities Program. All six work for stories in the United States and Canada.

The six athletes are weightlifter Tara Cunningham of Stillwell, Kan.; javelin thrower Erica Wheeler of Seqim, Wash.; Paralympic swimmer Kirby Cote of Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada; volleyball player Jeff Nygaard of Madison, Wis.; and track and field participants Melissa Morrison of Mooresville, N.C., and Mark Crear of San Francisco.

The Home Depot has employed more than 430 athletes through its unique program since 1992. Of that group, 205 have competed in the Olympic and Paralympic Games, winning 48 gold, 43 silver and 25 bronze medals.

WALLACE IN BUSCH: It's been nearly 15 years since Rusty Wallace has double-dipped on a racing weekend, but he plans to make a rare Busch and Nextel Cup series appearances this week at Michigan.

Wallace will race in Saturday's Cabela's 250 for the Busch Series, then in Sunday's main event, the GFS Marketplace 400. The last time he worked both days of a racing weekend was in 1989 at Lowe's Motor Speedway.

"The Busch race will be pretty tough this week," Wallace said. "The reason I'm doing it, Jamie McMurray is driving my Busch car all year long and he had two previous commitments head had to do for the newly-designed Chip Ganassi team. That was to run Phoenix and Michigan. I was going to have to put a driver in for those two races, and I said to heck with it, I'll do it myself. I feel like I'm prepared."

HENDERSON JOINS PETTY: Bill Henderson, who had been working as the car chief for rookie Scott Riggs, was hired Tuesday as Kyle Petty's new crew chief.

The move completes a shakeup at Petty Enterprises that saw Petty's crew chief, Greg Steadman, and three other crewmen move over to the No. 43 Dodge driven by Jeff Green. Gary Putnam, Green's crew chief left the team.

ATLANTA GETS SAFER: Installation of the Steel and Foam Energy Reduction barriers will start on Sept. 7 at stock car racing's fastest track, Atlanta Motor Speedway.

The SAFER barriers will be installed on the outside walls in all four turns, as well as the inside wall in the second turn.

GFS MARKETPLACE 400

(RACE NO. 23 OF 36)

WHERE: Michigan International Speedway at Brooklyn, Mich.

WHEN: 2 p.m. Sunday

TRACK DIMENSIONS: 2-mile tri-oval with 18-degree banking in the corners.

BROADCAST: Television - TNT at 1:30 p.m.; Radio - Motor Racing Network at 1:30 p.m.

TRACK RECORDS: Race - 173.997 mph by Dale Jarrett on June 13, 1999.

LAST YEAR'S WINNER: Ryan Newman



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