Report from Motorsport News International Thanks to NASCAR Online Saturday crash has Gordon in backup car By NASCAR Online Staff HAMPTON, Ga. (Nov. 15, 1997) NASCAR Winston Cup Series championship contenders Dale Jarrett and Mark Martin...
Report from Motorsport News International
Thanks to NASCAR Online
Saturday crash has Gordon in backup car By NASCAR Online Staff
HAMPTON, Ga. (Nov. 15, 1997) NASCAR Winston Cup Series championship contenders Dale Jarrett and Mark Martin saw their odds of catching series point leader Jeff Gordon get a little better following a Saturday morning incident in practice for Sunday's NAPA 500. Leaving pit road for a few laps in the 90-minute morning practice session, Gordon lost control while attempting to heat the Goodyear Eagles on his DuPont Chevrolet and crashed into the STP Pontiac of Bobby Hamilton. Both teams had to resort to backup cars to qualify for Sunday's NASCAR Winston Cup Series season finale at Atlanta Motor Speedway. Hamilton was forced to take a provisional in his last race for team owner Richard Petty; Gordon was forced to settle for the 37th spot on Sunday after his lap at 190.673 mph. Drivers routinely swerve their cars back and forth as they come up to speed to build up the tire temperature. The warmer tires create better adhesion to the racing surface and that equates to faster speeds. With about 45-minutes remaining in the final practice before Busch Pole Qualifying, Gordon was performing the maneuver on pit road before entering the race track. The tires didn't stick to the surface causing the car to spin and crash into Hamilton who was awaiting his turn to enter the newly configured 1.54 mile Atlanta Motor Speedway for practice. On one hand, the occurrence of Gordon's mishap was timely. Had inclement weather not postponed Busch Pole Qualifying on Friday afternoon, resorting to a backup car would have forced Gordon to start Sunday's race at the rear of the field. In the case of getting out the backup car before Busch Pole Qualifying, Gordon will be allowed to start in the position for which he qualifies in Saturday's single round of Busch Pole Qualifying. The backup car didn't seem to adversely affect Gordon in his morning practice session, he was able to get the backup car on the track and notch himself 10th fastest overall, logging a speed of 194.124 mph. Championship contenders Mark Martin and Dale Jarrett were fifth and sixth fastest respectively recording laps of 194.649 mph and 194.533 mph. Jimmy Spencer, debuting his 1998 colors, crashed his No. 23 Team Winston Ford in morning practice as well. Spencer was also forced to a backup car.