February 2, 1998 4 COMPLETE TRUE VALUE FIREBIRD IROC FIELD TINTON FALLS, N.J. -- Former NASCAR Winston Cup champions Dale Earnhardt and Terry Labonte, 1997 SCCA Trans-Am titlist Tommy Kendall, and two-time NASCAR Busch...
February 2, 1998
4 COMPLETE TRUE VALUE FIREBIRD IROC FIELD
TINTON FALLS, N.J. -- Former NASCAR Winston Cup champions Dale Earnhardt and Terry Labonte, 1997 SCCA Trans-Am titlist Tommy Kendall, and two-time NASCAR Busch Series title-holder Randy LaJoie today completed the lineup for the True Value Firebird International Race of Champions.
These four join previously announced Jeff Gordon, Dale Jarrett, Mark Martin, Jeff Burton, and Al Unser Jr., Arie Luyendyk, Tony Stewart and Jimmy Vasser in the four-race IROC series, beginning Feb. 13 at Daytona International Speedway, in Daytona Beach, Fla.
IROC is an invitational series matching a dozen of the world's top drivers, representing different types of motorsports, in equally prepared Pontiac Firebird Trans Ams equipped with Goodyear Eagle radial tires. The schedule also includes events May 2, California Speedway, Fontana, Calif.- June 13, Michigan Speedway, Brooklyn, Mich.; and July 31, the first IROC race at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway.
Earnhardt, of Mooresville, N.C., returns for his record 14th IROC series after finishing fifth in the 1997 Winston Cup standings with prize money of just over $2.1 million. The seven-time NASCAR champion is also a double IROC titlist, in 1990 and 1995, and has won seven series races.
Labonte, a native Texan now residing in Thomasville, N.C., will participate in his eighth IROC and was sixth in last year's Winston Cup rankings with over $2.2 million in winnings. He won the fall race at Talladega. Labonte, a two-time NASCAR title-holder, captured the IROC crown in 1989 and always will be remembered for taking the late Davey Allison's seat for the final IROC race in 1993 to clinch the championship posthumously for Allison.
Kendall, of Santa Monica, Calif., earned his sixth IROC invitation by claiming a record third consecutive SCCA Trans-Am road racing championship. He won 11 consecutive events to start the season en route to his fourth career Trans-Am crown. Kendall is the
LaJoie, a Connecticut native now residing in Kannapolis, N.C., accepted his second straight IROC bid after taking a second consecutive NASCAR Busch Series title. He won five races, including Daytona, to become the first Grand National driver to top $1 million in season earnings. He placed third in his IROC debut in 1997 and won at Michigan to become the first Busch Series representative to win an IROC event.
"I'm glad to be asked back to drive in IROC because I feel like I'm the representative for all the Friday and Saturday night short-track racers around the country," said LaJoie,
ABC Sports will again televise all four IROC contests on a delayed basis.
IROC is sponsored by True Value Hardware Stores; Pontiac division of General Motors Corp.-, Goodyear Tire and Rubber Co.- DuPont Automotive Refinishes-, and AC Delco Rapidfire spark plugs and Freedom batteries.