Coca-Cola 600 Wednesday notebook Shawn A. Akers CONCORD, N.C. (May 20, 1998) Notes and quotes from Charlotte Motor Speedway Wednesday on Bud Pole Night for the Coca-Cola 600: On Monday, Ray Evernham, crew chief for the No. 24 DuPont ...
Coca-Cola 600 Wednesday notebook Shawn A. Akers
CONCORD, N.C. (May 20, 1998) Notes and quotes from Charlotte Motor Speedway Wednesday on Bud Pole Night for the Coca-Cola 600:
On Monday, Ray Evernham, crew chief for the No. 24 DuPont Refinishes Chevrolet driven by Jeff Gordon, took full blame for Gordon running out of gas, one lap from the finish, while leading The Winston last Saturday night at Charlotte.
"It was my fault and I take full responsibility for what happened," Evernham told a local radio station. "I don't want this reflecting on Jeff or anybody else on this team. Whatever happened, I take the blame for it. It was my fault and my fault only. I call the shots around here. So when something goes good, I get credit, and when it goes bad, it's my fault."
Elliott Sadler got his first taste of the perils of Charlotte Wednesday afternoon. Sadler, who is attempting to qualify for his first NASCAR Winston Cup Series race, crashed his No. 92 Diamond Ridge Motorsports Chevrolet during Wednesday's practice.
The team, running a car sponsored by Ocean Pacific, was forced to go to a backup for Bud Pole Qualifying. Prior to crashing, Sadler was 31st-fastest in practice, turning in a lap of 177.825 mph.
Ward Burton, who holds the Bud Pole Qualifying record at Charlotte Motor Speedway, was the fastest car in the first practice session Wednesday afternoon. Burton turned in a fast lap of 180.608 mph.
Bobby Labonte was second-fastest in practice Wednesday at 180.174 mph, followed by Mark Martin, John Andretti and Ernie Irvan.
At a news conference this afternoon in the Winston Infield Media Center, it was announced that Husqvarna Forest & Garden Co., of Charlotte, has agreed to become an associate sponsor on all the cars and teams of Joe Gibbs Racing. Included are the No. 18 NASCAR Winston Cup Series Pontiac driven by Bobby Labonte; the NASCAR Busch Series Grand
National Division Pontiac driven by Tony Stewart; the NHRA Top Fuel Dragster, with driver Cory McClenathan; and the NHRA Funny Car, with driver Cruz Pedregon.
Additionally, Husqvarna, a leader in the engineering, manufacture and sale of premium outdoor equipment, introduced a new national TV ad featuring Gibbs, the former three-time winning coach of the Super Bowl. It's called "Joe Gibbs on Winning," and depicts the values of Husqvarna and Gibbs Racing share and how those values are integral to their success.
Stephen Wallace, 10-year-old son of 1989 NASCAR Winston Cup Series champion Rusty Wallace, drove in Wednesday night's Bandolero Series race during pole night activities. The younger Wallace won last Saturday's race held prior to the running of The Winston at Charlotte Motor Speedway. It was Stephen Wallace's first organized race of any kind.
Rusty Wallace and Stephen's mother, Patty Wallace, came running to pit road following the victory to congratulate their son. Patty Wallace's father is the team's crew chief. Older brother, Greg Wallace, is the team manager. They plan to run the entire Bandolero Series.
Mike Swaim Jr. continues to have success at Charlotte Motor Speedway, although his race experience there is limited. He won his third straight pole at the 1.5-mile superspeedway Wednesday morning, two coming in the Goody's Dash Series, NASCAR Touring, and one in the ARCA Bondo/Mar-Hyde Series. He sat on the pole for Wednesday night's Goody's Dash Series Tom Johnson Camping Center/Easy Care 100 with a lap of 155.048 mph.
Swaim won the Bud Pole for last year's Goody's Dash Series race at Charlotte. He also won the pole for last weekend's ARCA Series race at CMS, prior to The Winston.
"I've won poles, and now we've got to win races here," said Swaim, the defending Goody's Dash Series champion. "We did run about 2 1/2 tenths quicker this year (than last year), so we're happy with it. We made some changes to the race car this morning. We changed the weight around in the car, and it really made a tremendous difference."
Bobby Hutchens, team manager at Richard Childress Racing, is the proud father of a new baby boy. His wife, Sharon, gave birth to Robert Ray Hutdchens II at Forsyth Memorial Hospital in Winston-Salem, N.C.
A group of about 35 Charlotte-Mecklenburg County (N.C.) High School students interested in the media and journalism as a career got a taste of what it's like to interact with a celebrity in a real-life setting Wednesday morning in the CMS press box.
The first Skittles Racing Team High School Media Tour is the first of four scheduled events this year. Wednesday, the students got a chance to act as reporters, while watching reporters at work, and they got a chance to interview Ernie Irvan, driver of the No. 36 Skittles Pontiac.
Source: NASCAR Online