April 27, 2001 California Speedway Here are some notes on Ford teams and the cars they will be running this weekend: 2 RUSTY WALLACE Rusty will drive "Mad Max" for the third time this season and the two are still looking for their first...
April 27, 2001 California Speedway
Here are some notes on Ford teams and the cars they will be running this weekend:
2 RUSTY WALLACE
Rusty will drive "Mad Max" for the third time this season and the two are still looking for their first top-10 finish together...Rusty posted 12th-place finishes with this car at both Atlanta and Texas...the fact this Taurus has a name means Rusty has won at least one race with it and that happened to be last August at Michigan...Rusty named it "Mad Max" because the car was so strong in the Brickyard, finishing 2nd, that Rusty was "mad" it didn't win...car bounced back at Michigan and performed to the "max", hence the name...car has eight races to its credit after debuting in the Coca-Cola 600 at Charlotte last season and has finished in the top 10 five times.
6 MARK MARTIN
Martin is coming off a season-best fourth-place finish last weekend at Talladega and will look to carry that momentum here to California...the Taurus Martin will run this weekend has never competed here at California, but it's proven to be competitive on similar type tracks...JR-85 has raced once this season with that coming at Atlanta last month...Martin got off to a good start and qualified 4th, but blew an engine on lap 231 of the 325-lap feature and finished 41st...that marked the second straight Atlanta race in which Martin and JR-85 were forced to drop out with engine trouble...the car led 20 laps in the 2000 finale before engine problems led to a finish of 40th... car has four NWC starts and two top-6 finishes ...JR-85 debuted at Charlotte in October with a 5th-place finish before running 6th at Phoenix.
7 MIKE WALLACE
Wallace's two best finishes have come in restrictor plate races...after finishing 6th in the Daytona 500, he followed that up with an 8th-place showing last week at Talladega, a race in which he got the last provisional and started 43rd...hopes that luck will carryover this weekend as he drives this car for the second time...car debuted earlier this year at Texas and qualified 22nd (finished 24th).
11 BRETT BODINE
This is a homecoming of sorts for Bodine, whose sponsor -- Ralphs -- is based in this area...he hopes to give his primary sponsor something to cheer about this weekend and the car he will race has proven to be fast in the past...in fact, it's the fastest car to ever qualify at Indianapolis...this Taurus set the Brickyard 400 qualifying record with a time of 49.704 seconds (181.072 mph) during second-round qualifying last year.
12 JEREMY MAYFIELD
The defending winner of this event has brought a different Taurus for the weekend -- car #19...Mayfield drove this car in a race for the first time last month at Las Vegas...qualified 14th, but suffered some bad luck on race day as he ran through some oil and ended up hitting his teammate Rusty Wallace...car was eventually forced to the garage after 53 laps and finished 42nd...car actually made its debut during a test session at Las Vegas in February after it was built near the tail-end of 2000.
17 MATT KENSETH
It would be harder to find anyone with a better overall record at this track than Kenseth, who has finished no worse than third in five all-time starts...he has won the Busch race each of the past two years and finished 3rd on two other occasions...he appeared headed for his first Cup win here a year ago until a late-race caution forced one final round of pit stops and ultimately a 3rd-place finish...Kenseth, who tested earlier this week at Sears Point, has a brand new Taurus to run here at California -- car #15.
21 ELLIOTT SADLER
Since winning at Bristol three races ago, Sadler has posted finishes of 16th (Texas), 21st (Martinsville) and 39th (Talladega)...will try to get back into the top 10 this weekend with a brand new car...team tested this Roush-built Taurus at Michigan the day after racing at Martinsville...got in two days of testing there, despite frigid temps and the threat of snow.
26 JIMMY SPENCER
Spencer has a different look on the No. 26 Kmart Taurus this year as Universal Studios comes on board to promote "Return of the Mummy" ... Spencer will drive car #30 this weekend, which is the same car he posted a season-high 4th-place finish with at Darlington last month...car was also solid a year ago when it debuted at Charlotte in October and qualified 4th...eventually finished 15th.
28 RICKY RUDD
The Taurus Rudd will race this weekend has been a consistently fast car ever since it debuted two years ago with Kenny Irwin...car #69 helped Irwin to his first NWC pole at Texas in '99...Rudd has had success with this car as well, finishing 3rd with it last October at Charlotte, a race in which he led the most laps and appeared headed toward victory until a late debris caution with 29 laps to go...car suffered a similar fate in August at Michigan as a late-race caution took Rudd and this car out of the lead and a 2nd-place showing.
32 RICKY CRAVEN
Craven has driven this car twice already in 2001and it's shown to be competitive at times...was one of the strongest Fords in the field at Atlanta...ran up front much of the day until pit problems dropped him back to 14th...struggled at Texas, however, as Craven qualified the car 32nd and finished 27th.
66 TODD BODINE
Bodine is looking to snap out of a slump and if this car's history means anything, this could be the week he breaks out...car #6 ran for the only time in 2001 last month at Las Vegas...Bodine dominated the early stages of the 400-mile event as he led 41 of the first 58 laps after starting 6th...he led during the middle stages for a three-lap stretch before finally finishing 5th...this car also gained notoriety when Darrell Waltrip put it on the outside pole for last year's Brickyard 400.
77 ROBERT PRESSLEY
Crew chief Robin Pemberton feels this is one of the best cars the team has ever built in-house since he took over at the beginning of last season...car debuted at Texas and never really had a chance to show its strength...after qualifying 18th, Pressley got hit from the rear and hit the wall on lap 33...team could not get the damage repaired and he ended up 43rd.
84 SHAWNA ROBINSON
Robinson will be trying to become the first female to start a NWC event since Patty Moise took the green flag at Talladega on July 30, 1989...this will be the first of six NWC races she hopes to compete in with the others being Michigan, Chicago, Indy, Kansas and Homestead...has a car this weekend that was part of the Penske-Kranefuss stable a couple of years ago...Jeremy Mayfield drove this car at Martinsville in '99 and it's the sister car to the one he won with at Pocono in '98...team tested here at California three weeks ago...will have Yates engines to work with as well.
88 DALE JARRETT
Jarrett has increased his points lead each of the last three race weekends and if this car continues its streak, that streak could reach four...Jarrett will have the same Taurus that has captured one pole and won two races already this season...car grabbed the top spot at Atlanta and was in the middle of a five-car battle for the win with two laps to go before finishing 4th...Jarrett then led the car to victory lane at Darlington and Texas...in addition to the pole at Atlanta, car has qualified 2nd at Darlington and 3rd at Texas.
90 HUT STRICKLIN
This will be the third time Stricklin tries to qualify with this particular car...Stricklin qualified 25th with this piece in Atlanta and finished 28th...qualified even better in Texas as he took the green flag 21st before finishing 26th...team considers this car one of the best in their fleet.
96 ANDY HOUSTON
Houston is coming off a 21st-place run last week at Talladega and has now qualified for four straight races after missing four of the first six...has the same car he finished 21st with at Atlanta and 32nd at Texas...this car has significant meaning to PPI since it is the first in-house car the team ever built in its Hickory facility.
97 KURT BUSCH
Busch has posted top-five efforts in two of the last three races, including last week's 3rd-place run at Talladega...his other top-five came with the car he will have this weekend when it finished 4th at Texas last month...that race also happened to coincide with Ben Leslie's appointment as crew chief.
99 JEFF BURTON
Burton has steadily made up ground in the point standings after a slow start and he'll try to continue that trend this weekend...has a car that will be racing for the first time in 2001, but it does have some race experience...drove it in the season finale at Atlanta last season and finished 12th...brought the car out here to California and tested with it for two days after the Texas race.