[ This is the sixth in a series of releases featuring the thoughts of key NASCAR Winston Cup Series competitors in anticipation of the inaugural Pennzoil 400, Nov. 11-14 at Homestead-Miami Speedway.] Spencer Looking to Improve 'About Six Inches'...
[ This is the sixth in a series of releases featuring the thoughts of key NASCAR Winston Cup Series competitors in anticipation of the inaugural Pennzoil 400, Nov. 11-14 at Homestead-Miami Speedway.]
Spencer Looking to Improve 'About Six Inches' In Return to Miami for Inaugural Pennzoil 400
HOMESTEAD, Fla. (July 7, 1999) -- Hard-charging Jimmy Spencer has room for improvement when he returns to Homestead-Miami Speedway for the inaugural Pennzoil 400 on November 14. Spencer needs only to improve "about six inches" to become the inaugural NASCAR Winston Cup Series winner at the state-of-the-art facility.
Spencer dominated the NASCAR Busch Series finale at the 1.5-mile Miami oval last fall, only to lose the lead -- and the race -- in a last-turn pass by Jeff Burton, who was declared the winner in a photo finish.
"Tough way to lose," said Spencer. "If it wasn't for the lapped cars we encountered in the closing laps I think we could have won the race."
Spencer rode out front in the Zippo Chevrolet for 72 circuits in last November's Jiffy Lube Miami 300, holding off fellow NASCAR Winston Cup Series veteran Mark Martin. Burton, Martin's teammate with Jack Roush Racing in the Winston Cup ranks, took second in the closing laps, and barely nosed ahead of Spencer in the dash to the checkered flag.
"Experience will help us when we come back in November. We're going to try and win in our Busch car, and naturally we're going to come back for Sunday' s Pennzoil 400 in our Team Winston car and we're hoping to have a good run. I think the NASCAR Winston Cup cars are going to put on a good show in Miami, without question. Everything about the race track definitely warrants a NASCAR Winston Cup event, and they finally got it."
Spencer will drive the Team Winston Ford Taurus in the 400-mile race. The winner of two NASCAR Winston Cup races at Daytona and Talladega in 1994, Spencer seemed headed for a career year in 1998. He ran high in the top 10 in the NASCAR Winston Cup points throughout the first half of the season, but missed two races after crashing in the Brickyard 400 at Indianapolis.
While he managed to finish 14th in the final point standings despite the missed events, his team failed to carry any momentum into the current campaign. However, "Mr. Excitement" is coming off his best showings of the season. He led 15 laps in the closing stages of the recent Pocono 500, only to scrape the wall with 14 laps remaining. The Pennsylvanian held on to finish 14th.
"We've had a terrible beginning to this season, and at Pocono we finally felt likwe saw a little light at the end of the tunnel. That race was a big boost for the team.
They've been working real hard all year, but a strong run like that will perk the guys up to work even harder -- and smarter."
Spencer already has compiled an impressive resume at the Miami facility. He finished sixth in the 1996 Jiffy Lube Miami 300 after qualifying 17th, and came back in 1997 to finish fifth, leading 16 laps.
"I'm really excited about returning to Miami. I've made no secret of the high regard I hold for this track. It is an immaculate facility, and these folks know how to run a race track. I'm glad to see them on the Winston Cup schedule. They've worked hard to earn it."
Reserved grandstand seats are now on sale for the Pennzoil 400. For tickets, call (305) 230-7223. For additional information, visit the official Homestead-Miami Speedway web site at www.racemiami.com.
Jimmy Spencer on South Florida
"Miami is an awesome place, and I always enjoy going there. It's always warm there, and in November it will be good to get back into the heat again. There's so many nice things to do in Miami, and it's a great market for NASCAR Winston Cup racing. A neat place to visit is Don Shula's golf course and steak house. We've already visited Miami Beach, and hope to get back there one day this November. Of course, you're not far from the Florida Keys, and that's another great place to visit and relax."