DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. (Nov. 11, 1998) NASCAR's first oval race in Japan is shaping up to be a dog fight among champions as a 31-car entry for the Nov. 22 NASCAR Thunder Special Motegi -- Coca-Cola 500 has been set. A true field of the ...
DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. (Nov. 11, 1998)
NASCAR's first oval race in Japan is shaping up to be a dog fight among champions as a 31-car entry for the Nov. 22 NASCAR Thunder Special Motegi -- Coca-Cola 500 has been set. A true field of the sport's elite drivers will take the track with no fewer than 11 former NASCAR champions -- including the reigning champs of NASCAR's three premier series -- set to compete. Three-time and 1998 NASCAR Winston Cup Series champion Jeff Gordon and two-time and 1998 NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series titlist Ron Hornaday are included in the field, as well as 1998 NASCAR Busch Series Grand National Division point leader Dale Earnhardt Jr.. Earnhardt Jr. is guaranteed to win the championship if he simply starts Sunday's Jiffy Lube Miami 300 at the Miami-Dade Homestead Motorsports Complex. The race in Japan at the 1.5-mile Twin Ring Motegi oval will also see Earnhardt Jr. race his famous father, seven-time NASCAR Winston Cup Series champion Dale Earnhardt, for the first time.
Among the other NASCAR champions in the field include three-time NASCAR Winston Cup Series champion Darrell Waltrip, who will replace Dale Jarrett in his Robert Yates Racing Ford; former NASCAR Winston Cup Series champions Rusty Wallace and Bill Elliott; former NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series champion Mike Skinner; former NASCAR Winston West Series champ Butch Gilliland; former Busch North Series, NASCAR Touring champ Ricky Craven; and former Raybestos Brakes Northwest Series, NASCAR Touring champ Kelly Tanner.
Along with Craven, some drivers making their debuts with the NASCAR Winston Cup Series teams for whom they'll drive next year include Michael Waltrip in the No. 7 Philips Ford and Elliott Sadler in the No. 21 Citgo Ford. Four noted Japanese pilots will be among the entrants when the cars take their first laps around the track on Friday, Nov. 20 during an afternoon practice session.
Each team will make a one-lap qualifying run on Saturday, Nov. 21 and the green flag will drop on the third annual NASCAR exhibition event at 12:30 p.m. Japan time on Sunday, Nov. 22. With the time difference, television coverage in the United States begins on Saturday, Nov. 21, at 10:30 p.m. EST.
Source: NASCAR Online