RAMBLINGS -- CHARLOTTE Remember a couple weeks ago when I told you that Mark Martin had a commanding lead in poles with 3....and you snickered. Well, with only 4 more poles to be had, he's looking better. Geoff Bodine ...


Remember a couple weeks ago when I told you that Mark Martin had a commanding lead in poles with 3....and you snickered. Well, with only 4 more poles to be had, he's looking better. Geoff Bodine grabbed the pole tonight, so we could have a field of 18 for the Bud Shootout next February. I say _could_ cause you gotta wonder if Robby Gordon will be there or not.

This was the first pole for Geoff since Dover in September of 1994. He had 5 poles that season....but that was the year of the tire war, so since Hoosier left the series, he's been pole-less.

"NO BULL" for Jimmy Spencer in '98. Got a piece of news today from subscriber Trevor Adair....Jimmy will have a new paint scheme for next season. RJR will sponsor the car with their Winston Brand....and it'll be nice to see Jimmy in something other than purple & gold. (Jimsy, those colors don't make us look too svelte, either!) (G) Many thanks to Trevor for the news, and check out their impressive web-site at www.frompitrow.com.

Sterling Marlin's move to the #40 car should be announced on Friday. We might get some other news this week as well but,....remember when this week was the height of silly season? (G)

  If we've got lots of cars, this must be Charlotte.  We've got a car-count
of 50 this weekend.  That's the highest number since the BrickYard where we
had 51.  We had 47 attendees here back in May.

You better buy your programs, cause there's lots of changes this week to go along with those occasional entrants. Jeff Purvis will make only his 3rd start of the year this weekend, Kevin Lepage is gonna make his WC debut in the #91 Sunday, Rick Wilson is back in the #27 this weekend, Todd Bodine is working out the kinks with his new team in the #35, Steve Park is back in the Burger King #14, Greg Sacks has the ride for Bud Moore as they attempt to make the race (they were a DNQ at Daytona, and have been MIA since), and Elliott Sadler attempts to make his debut in WC in the #40 car of Felix Sabates.

That #91 that Kevin Lepage will start from the outside of Row 6 on Sunday will be making it's first start since the June Pocono event. That team has had 13 DNQ's this season.

Morgan Shepherd's 10th place starting spot is his best of the season.

With 50 cars present, it's a good thing most of the shops are close by....the ride home won't be as long. There's gonna probably be 7 pack-ups by tomorrow afternoon, and some of the names could be surprising. The trouble train looks like this: Steve Park, Greg Sacks, & Dave Marcis all have no provisionals available to them. Elliot Sadler, Lake Speed, and Kenny Wallace are all pretty far down in the Owner Points, so they've gotta pick it up. Mike Skinner could be in trouble as well....they're 29th on the Points List.

With 2nd round at 1:30 tomorrow, you gotta figure the fast times were tonight....so it could be a real thrash for more than a couple teams tomorrow. But, with only 3/100th's of a second separating 38th to 43rd on the first round list, it should get interesting.

I think Humpy Wheeler should start calling this place the "Track of Champions". When you look at who leads the all-time win list at this quad-oval, it's a who's-who of the sport. Bobby Allison & Darrell Waltrip have 6 wins each, and Richard Petty & Dale Earnhardt have 5 apiece. Thats a pretty select group....18 Winston Cup championships amongst them to go along with those 22 trips to Victory Lane here.

This could be a make or break week for Mark Martin....this track has given Jeff Gordon fits in October. Check back Sunday Night and we'll update the magic number.

Henry Dubret (henry@nascarfans.com) NASCAR Fans _______________________________________ NASCAR Fans Website http://www.nascarfans.com

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Series General
Drivers Dale Earnhardt , Jeff Gordon , Darrell Waltrip , Todd Bodine , Steve Park , Mike Skinner , Jimmy Spencer , Kenny Wallace , Kevin Lepage , Sterling Marlin , Robby Gordon , Jeff Purvis , Dave Marcis , Richard Petty , Morgan Shepherd , Bobby Allison , Greg Sacks , Elliott Sadler , Felix Sabates , Mark Martin