Sabates’ team unloads protest car at Dover

Friday, May 31, 1996 – Kyle Petty and his SABCO Racing teammates unloaded with a new, and yet familiar, paint scheme at Dover International Speedway as the No. 42 Pontiac was painted all black instead of its usual blue and red with yellow piping. The change for the Miller 500 was ordered by team owner Felix Sabates, who was incensed over a multi-lap penalty accessed to the team during the previous week’s running of the Coca-Cola 600 at Charlotte Motor Speedway.

Petty had been held in the penalty box for five laps at Charlotte following contact with Ted Musgrave during a restart that ignited a multicar crash on the frontstretch. Sabates’ argument with a NASCAR official, which took place on pit road during the caution, resulted in Petty being held two addition laps.

The black color scheme was intentionally painted to look like that used by Richard Childress Racing for its No. 3 Chevrolet with driver Dale Earnhardt.

Sabates said Earnhardt had made similar contact with another driver earlier that season only to have NASCAR officials rule the contact “a racing incident” with no penalty.

In addition to the paint scheme, the phrase “Todo es justo en amor y carreras,” was painted just behind and below the driver’s side window opening. The English translation is ‘Everything is fair in love and careers.’ The team’s pit crew also wore black uniforms at Dover.

The paint schemes might have been somewhat similar at Dover, but the finishing results were not: Earnhardt finished third while Petty placed 18th in what was officially listed as the No. 42 Coors Light Protest Pontiac.

Hooters exits as primary sponsor

Monday, April 12, 1993 – Hooters officials announce the restaurant chain is withdrawing its primary sponsorship of the No. 7 Ford for Alan Kulwicki Racing effective immediately. The decision comes 11 days after a plane crash claimed the lives of owner/driver Alan Kulwicki, Mark Brooks (son of Hooters CEO Bob Brooks) and two others. “The relationship between Hooters and Alan Kulwicki was unique,” Bob Brooks said. “… It is unrealistic to think that such a relationship could be formed with a new owner and driver in so short of a time.”

The crash occurred Thur., April 1 approximately six miles from Tri-Cities Airport in Blountville, Tenn. The Food City 500 NASCAR Cup Series race was scheduled for Bristol Motor Speedway that weekend. Kulwicki was the defending series champion as well as the defending race champion.

Bojangle’s, sponsor for Cale Yarborough Motorsports and driver Derrike Cope, also sponsored the No. 7 at North Wilkesboro (April 16-18) along with Easter Seals Foundation and Shriners Hospital for Crippled Children. It was the first appearance by the team since the plane crash, following an off-weekend after the Bristol race. Jimmy Hensley drove the car to a 12th-place finish.

Team owner Felix Sabates oversaw the operations of the Kulwicki team until a buyer could be found. NASCAR competitor Geoff Bodine announced on May 11 that he had purchased the team.

Sabates said the Hooters decision to withdraw its sponsorship was due to his refusal to name ARCA driver Loy Allen driver of the No. 7 entry instead of Hensley. The company sponsored Allen in seven ARCA races in ’93 and eventually seven Cup races (through Naturally Fresh) during the second half of the ’93 season. Allen qualified for four of the seven Cup races.

According to reports, Sabates stated that he “was empowered to do what is best for the team.”

“I am not going to put a nobody in the car,” he said.