News 97-10-03

NASCARFans E-Mail List ========== Geoff Bodine's surge back into the limelight over the past several weeks has been one of the hot stories on the tour. After languishing in the shadows for so many months, Bodine has suddenly pushed his way back...

NASCARFans E-Mail List ========== Geoff Bodine's surge back into the limelight over the past several weeks has been one of the hot stories on the tour. After languishing in the shadows for so many months, Bodine has suddenly pushed his way back to the front of the pack, which is where he'll start in Sunday's UAW-GM 500.

''I could tell you day by day what's happened this year, but I'm not the only guy who's had bad things happen,'' Bodine said. ''It's been a good-bad year. But, believe me, I feel very fortunate to have met these two gentlemen. (partners Jim Mattei and John Porter) That's what this year is all about.

''The past is the past. There's good and bad in everybody's past. I'm just looking to the future now. And it's looking pretty darn good.''

So at 48, Bodine is finding a new lease on his racing life.

''At Richmond we had a good run, but I was hot when I got out of the car and had a lot of fumes, and there was a picture in the paper of me dumping water on my head,'' Bodine said. ''And I made the comment, 'Not bad for a 48-year-old guy.' But I got chastised for saying that because all those young guys were laying on the ground too, waiting for water.

''I think that and this makes me realize that, yes, I'm 48, and there are some guys out there who are only 28, and I've got a son 19, and I've got a brother, Todd, who's 13 years younger than I am, and his wife is expecting a baby . . . so how does that make me feel? Some guy told Todd, 'You're going to be going through a lot of Pampers with that new baby.' And I was thinking 'Yeah, I used to put Pampers on Todd.'

''Yeah, I know I'm older than most of these guys out here. But with age you get experience and experience in this business is good if you use it. The only problem with age is your health, your mental and physical condition. So if I take care of myself mentally and physically I can keep racing and competing against these young guys for three or four more years or even longer.

''So I don't feel I'm at a disadvantage to these younger guys.'' (JournalNow) ========== In claiming the Busch Pole for Sunday's race, Geoff Bodine became the 18th different Busch Pole winner of 1997 and earned himself a spot in the newly formatted Bud Shootout, an exclusive Busch Pole winner's only race during Speedweeks at Daytona International Speedway in February. If Bodine can score his first victory of the season on Sunday, he will pocket the $15,200 Unocal 76 Challenge Bonus, payable to the Busch Pole winner if he also wins the race. At Charlotte, the pole and third place are the most productive of all starting positions. Each starting slot has produced 11 race winners since the track opened in 1960. (NASCAR Online) ========== ========== "Rick Wilson Racing With Yates Engine: Why was engine master Doug Yates working on an air filter housing in the David Blair Motorsports garage stall? Consider it a returned favor. Rick Wilson will drive the #27 at CMS, and he'll have plenty of thunder under his right foot as Yates was tuning one of his engines in the bay of the Blair car."(TNN-Country.com), Blair/Yates are teaming by running Kenny Irwin, Jr in the #27 Ford at selected races in 1997 in preparation for Irwin driving the #28 Texaco Ford in 1998 for Yates (Jayski) ========== NASCAR fined Rusty Wallace $5,000 Thursday for comments he made after the Hanes 500 at Martinsville, Va. Wallace vented his frustration about NASCAR's ruling in several postrace interviews. NASCAR said Wallace was being fined because he used profane language in a live interview on a nationally syndicated radio broadcast shortly after getting out of his car. Wallace said he had no plans to appeal the fine."(Speedworld/Jayski) ``After the race was over, they interviewed me and I said, `I don't give a blank about myself, because I've won a lot of races. But I feel really bad for the team,' '' Wallace said Thursday. ``And they didn't like it. So they fined me $5,000.'' (Charlotte.Com) ========== Joe Nemechek will start Saturday's Grand National race at Charlotte Motor Speedway in the same place he finished the race in May -- first. Nemechek, driving a Chevrolet, won the pole for the All Pro 300 Thursday with a lap at 176.378 mph. His lap around the 1.5-mile track took 30.616 seconds, which was .033 seconds faster than Dick Trickle's lap in another Chevy. Mark Martin, who has won the past two fall Grand National races at CMS, will start third after qualifying at 175.439 in a Ford. Jimmy Spencer will start his Chevrolet fourth. (Charlotte.Com) ========== On a sun-soaked Thursday afternoon at Charlotte Motor Speedway, Darrell Waltrip learned he would not be racing this weekend.

The gregarious driver was silent.

For the first time in Waltrip's 25-year Winston Cup career, he didn't make a race he tried to qualify for. He failed to make the field for Sunday's UAW-GM Quality 500, ending a string of 216 consecutive Winston Cup starts dating to September 1990 at Richmond, Va., when he returned from injuries suffered that July at Daytona.

He started eighth in the Coca-Cola 600 in May at Charlotte. He had used five provisionals to make races this season. But on this day of second-round qualifying, the courtesy failed to extend the three-time Winston Cup champion.

Waltrip stood on the lap he had in the No. 17 Chevrolet during Wednesday night's first-round qualifying (177.819 mph), knowing it would not place him among the 38 earning starting spots based on speed. He was counting on using the provisional available to former Winston Cup champions.

That spot, however, went to Terry Labonte, the 1996 Winston Cup champion. Labonte had been 36th fastest Wednesday, but was bumped Thursday when three drivers went faster.

''Just failed to make the field,'' Waltrip said with a grim face as he walked out of the track. (JournalNow)

For Waltrip, the last resort had failed. The failure showed, left him sitting silent and somber in the shadows of the garage as driver after driver ran, qualified and bumped someone down.

He didn't say a word when news came he would not race Sunday. He was whisked away to meet with NASCAR officials. A moment later, he emerged from the garage and took the hand of his wife, Stevie.

Flanked by team representatives, the couple walked steadily between haulers and garages, past reporters and fans.

Silver-framed sunglasses shielded his eyes. He never looked anywhere but ahead. He never said a word. He stepped into his vehicle and left the track, three days too soon.

``We worked our tails off getting ready for this event but we just missed on the setup,'' Waltrip said in a statement released Thursday afternoon. ``I have no excuses.''

His fellow drivers jumped to his defense, admonishing anyone who would call Thursday's development a rite of passage for an aging racer.

``It's not a fun deal, but this sport is awfully competitive now,'' Sterling Martin said. ``I wouldn't stick a fork in him. He ain't done yet. He'll be back as hard as he can go next week.''

Said driver Jeremy Mayfield, like Waltrip, a native of Owensboro, Ky.: ``Man, I didn't know you could have a race without Darrell Waltrip.''

This was supposed to be a festive weekend for Waltrip. His fan club celebrates his 25th anniversary in Winston Cup racing tonight at the Darrell Waltrip Motorsports complex on Hudspeth Road.

``Sometimes when you're playing Russian roulette, the gun goes off . . . ,'' (crew chief Jeff) Hammond said. ``There's a lot of what ifs. It doesn't get much worse than this.''

Also failing to make the starting lineup were Mike Skinner, Elliott Sadler, Steve Park, Rick Mast and Dave Marcis. (Charlotte.Com) ========== CHANGES might be coming within the Richard Childress-Mike Skinner team.

Skinner also failed to make the field for Sunday's race. Will Lind, who has been running Childress' Truck Series program the past three years, might be moved over to help coach Skinner on the Winston Cup tour next season, according to sources close to the team.

''This is a first,'' David Smith, the manager of the Skinner team, said dejectedly. ''You've just got to get in on the first day. You can't wait on this second-day stuff. Because any little thing that goes wrong, you're done. (JournalNow) ========== Ricky Craven, driver of the Budweiser Chevrolet, used his last provisional of the season to get into Sunday's race. For the four races following Sunday's UAW-GM Quality 500, Craven will be forced to make the fields based on qualifying speed. Craven, along with Morgan Shepherd, driver of Richard Jackson's R+L Carriers Pontiac, and Brett Bodine, are out of provisionals for the season. (NASCAR Online) ========== The retro paint scheme on the Michael Waltrip's Wood Brothers Citgo Ford this weekend celebrates nothing special. The team thought that by returning the car to the colors of it's "glory days," they could hopefully improve their racing luck. The famous candy apple red and white car with gold 24k gold numbers graced the Wood Brothers car from 1966 to 1982. Neil Bonnett was the last driver to wheel the car with the familiar colors in the World 600 at Charlotte in 1982. (NASCAR Online) ========== Among "firsts" at Charlotte Motor Speedway, Dale Earnhardt (1975), Michael Waltrip (1985), Brett Bodine (1986) and Jeremy Mayfield (1993) made their first career NASCAR Winston Cup Series starts. In the October races of 1990, 1993 and 1994, Broett Bodine, Jeff Gordon and Ward Burton earned their respective first Busch Poles. Jeff Gordon and Bobby Labonte won their first races at Charlotte in the spring races of 1994 and 1995 respectively. (NASCAR Online) ========== Top 20 in Winston Cup Points, courtesy of Chaz:

1. Jeff Gordon, 4,103. 2. Mark Martin, 3,968. 3. Dale Jarrett, 3,881. 4. Jeff Burton, 3,765. 5. Dale Earnhardt, 3,543. 6. Terry Labonte, 3,481. 7. Bobby Labonte, 3,332. 8. Bill Elliott, 3,266. 9. Ted Musgrave, 3,080. 10. Ricky Rudd, 3,079. 11. Jeremy Mayfield, 3,050. 12. Johnny Benson, 2,990. 13. Rusty Wallace, 2,976. 14. Ken Schrader, 2,957. 15. Ernie Irvan, 2,945. 16. Kyle Petty, 2,776. 17. Bobby Hamilton, 2,751. 18. Jimmy Spencer, 2,695. 19. Michale Waltrip, 2,673. 20. Darrell Waltrip, 2,644. ========== Top 20 in Busch Series points, courtesy of Chaz:

1. Randy LaJoie, 3,856. 2. Todd Bodine, 3,625. 3. Steve Park, 3,483. 4. Phil Parsons, 3,168. 5. Elliott Sadler, 3,131. 6. Mike McLaughlin, 3,109. 7. Buckshot Jones, 3,057. 8. Elton Sawyer, 3,022. 9. Tim Fedewa, 3,012. 10. Hermie Sadler, 2,936. 11. Kevin Lepage, 2,884. 12. Jason Keller, 2,863. 13. Mark Green, 2,815. 14. Dick Trickle, 2,730. 15. Mike Dillon, 2,600. 16. Tracy Leslie, 2,537. 17. Glenn Allen, 2,451. 18. Joe Bessey, 2,376. 19. Stevie Reeves, 2,300. 20. Jeff Fuller, 2,187. ========== Top 20 in Craftsman Truck series points, courtesy of Chaz:

1. Jack Sprague, 3,195. 2. Rich Bickle, 3,146. 3. Joe Ruttman, 3,014. 4. Ron Hornaday, 2,969. 5. Mike Bliss, 2,880. 6. Jimmy Hensley, 2,812. 7. Rick Carelli, 2,765. 8. Jay Sauter, 2,748. 9. Chuck Bown, 2,655. 10. Butch Miller, 2,626. 11. Kenny Irwin, 2,622. 12. Rick Crawford, 2,519. 13. Stacy Compton, 2,393. 14. Bob Keselowski, 2,313. 15. Boris Said, 2,283. 16. Dave Rezendes, 2,255. 17. Tony Raines, 2,243. 18. Bryan Reffner, 2,110. 19. Tammy Jo Kirk, 2,079. 20. Tony Roper, 2,074. ========== Mike Irwin (mailto:mike@nascarfans.com) NASCAR Fans _______________________________________

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Series Monster Energy NASCAR Cup
Drivers Dale Earnhardt , Rich Bickle , Brett Bodine , Jeff Burton , Ward Burton , Bill Elliott , Jeff Gordon , Bobby Hamilton , Ernie Irvan , Dale Jarrett , Darrell Waltrip , Bobby Labonte , Terry Labonte , Jeremy Mayfield , Dick Trickle , Rusty Wallace , Michael Waltrip , Todd Bodine , Steve Park , Jason Keller , Mike Skinner , Kyle Petty , Ken Schrader , Jeff Fuller , Boris Said , Jimmy Spencer , Joe Nemechek , Kevin Lepage , Jay Sauter , Elton Sawyer , Buckshot Jones , Stacy Compton , Johnny Benson , Ron Hornaday Jr. , Ted Musgrave , Mike McLaughlin , Tony Raines , Ricky Craven , Jack Sprague , Rick Crawford , Mark Green , Joe Ruttman , Dave Marcis , Rick Mast , Hermie Sadler , Bryan Reffner , Jimmy Hensley , Rick Carelli , Mike Bliss , Morgan Shepherd , Sterling Martin , Phil Parsons , Tammy Jo Kirk , David Smith , Elliott Sadler , Butch Miller , Stevie Reeves , Mark Martin