News 97-10-13

NASCARFans E-Mail List Wow, what a race at Talladega yesterday! Seeing the hit on Mark Martin by Lake Speed from the rear cam was incredible. I think we fans really don't have any idea at the kind of bumps our drivers take in 190+mph...

NASCARFans E-Mail List

Wow, what a race at Talladega yesterday! Seeing the hit on Mark Martin by Lake Speed from the rear cam was incredible.

I think we fans really don't have any idea at the kind of bumps our drivers take in 190+mph crashes. It's a tribute to the safety standards of NASCAR that we don't have more drivers injured. I won't even get into the restrictor plate issue here.

I was sorry to see the Jayski-sponsored car #47 (Billy Standridge) go out so early in the race, especially after running in the top ten there for a while. ========== Here's a story on the race, from David Poole of the Charlotte Observer:

Terry Labonte, aided by a push from his brother, roared from third to first with less than two laps to go Sunday and held on to win the DieHard 500 at Talladega Superspeedway.

``My car was awfully good, but I needed somebody behind me to draft with me,'' said Labonte, who won for the first time in 1997. ``Bobby got there.''

Bobby Labonte pulled his Pontiac behind Terry's Chevrolet as their cars came out of Turn 2 on Lap 187 of the 188-lap race. Together, the Labontes steamed past John Andretti's Ford and then by Ken Schrader's Chevrolet down the backstretch.

Andretti came to third at the same time, and they finished in that order to cap off a wild day at Talladega.

As stirring as it was, the late-race battle almost seemed anticlimactic after a 23-car cavalcade of crashing on Lap 140. That wreck started when Winston Cup points leader Jeff Gordon cut a tire, bounced of Andretti's car and went spinning across the track. It considerably culled the list of those contending for victory. ========== Results of the Diehard 500:

1. (6) Terry Labonte, Corpus Christi, Texas, Chevrolet, 188, $116,725. 2. (7) Bobby Labonte, Corpus Christi, Texas, Pontiac, 188, $76,670. 3. (2) John Andretti, Indianapolis, Ford, 188, $58,530. 4. (14) Ken Schrader, Fenton, Mo., Chevrolet, 188, $53,715. 5. (1) Ernie Irvan, Salinas, Calif., Ford, 188, $57,275. 6. (15) Ricky Craven, Newburgh, Maine, Chevrolet, 188, $41,500. 7. (42) Kyle Petty, Randleman, N.C., Pontiac, 188, $32,700. 8. (25) Geoff Bodine, Chemung, N.Y., Ford, 188, $38,050. 9. (23) Rick Mast, Lexington, Va., Ford, 188, $36,920. 10. (9) Rusty Wallace, St. Louis, Ford, 188, $42,900. 11. (39) Ted Musgrave, Franklin, Wis., Ford, 188, $38,080. 12. (29) Morgan Shepherd, Conover, N.C., Pontiac, 188, $35,025. 13. (10) Bill Elliott, Dawsonville, Ga., Ford, 188, $35,280. 14. (4) Jeff Burton, South Boston, Va., Ford, 188, $39,410. 15. (35) Kenny Wallace, St. Louis, Ford, 188, $36,760. 16. (37) David Green, Owensboro, Ky., Chevrolet, 188, $28,500. 17. (38) Kevin Lepage, Shelburne, Vt., Chevrolet, 188, $23,835. 18. (5) Derrike Cope, Spanaway, Wash., Pontiac, 188, $27,280. 19. (19) Johnny Benson, Grand Rapids, Mich., Pontiac, 187, $33,950. 20. (34) Bobby Hamilton, Nashville, Tenn., Pontiac, 187, $39,460. 21. (18) Dale Jarrett, Hickory, N.C., Ford, 187, $39,930. 22. (17) Brett Bodine, Chemung, N.Y., Ford, 187, $33,300. 23. (21) Dick Trickle, Wisconsin Rapids, Wis., Ford, 187, $26,290. 24. (3) Jimmy Spencer, Berwick, Pa., Ford, 187, $32,940. 25. (32) Dave Marcis, Wausau, Wis., Chevrolet, 187, $22,460. 26. (40) Jeremy Mayfield, Owensboro, Ky., Ford, 184, $25,360. 27. (11) Robert Pressley, Asheville, N.C., Ford, 178, $22,40. 28. (27) Michael Waltrip, Owensboro, Ky., Ford, 172, $32,170. 29. (12) Dale Earnhardt, Kannapolis, N.C., Chevrolet, 167, $48,500. 30. (31) Mark Martin, Batesville, Ark., Ford, 167, $37,030. 31. (13) Joe Nemechek, Lakeland, Fla., Chevrolet, 165, $24,440. 32. (22) Steve Grissom, Gadsden, Ala., Chevrolet, 163, $28,870. 33. (16) Mike Skinner, Susanville, Calif., Chevrolet, 159, $21,790. 34. (41) Ricky Rudd, Chesapeake, Va., Ford, 153, $36,745. 35. (8) Jeff Gordon, Pittsboro, Ind., Chevrolet, 153, $38,915. 36. (20) Lake Speed, Jackson, Miss., Ford, 153, $21,670. 37. (33) Darrell Waltrip, Franklin, Tenn., Chevrolet, 147, crash, $28,660. 38. (30) Sterling Marlin, Columbia, Tenn., Chevrolet, 139, crash, $37,500. 39. (28) Greg Sacks, Mattituck, N.Y., Chevrolet, 139, crash, $28,500. 40. (36) Chad Little, Spokane, Wash., Pontiac, 139, crash, $21,525. 41. (24) Wally Dallenbach, Basalt, Colo., Chevrolet, 99, crash, $21,500. 42. (26) Billy Standridge, Shelby, N.C., Ford, 51, crash, $21,500.

Unofficial point standings: Gordon 4,321; Martin 4,211; Jarrett 4,166; J.Burton 4,041; T.Labonte 3,796; Earnhardt 3,794; B.Labonte 3,687; Elliott 3,536; Musgrave 3,322; R.Wallace 3,242; Schrader 3,240; Benson 3,235; Mayfield 3,217; Irvan 3,214; Rudd 3,180. ========== Apparently when Gary Dehart had the argument with the other Hendricks team member at Martinsville, there was suppposed to have been physical contact between the two, allegedly including a sway bar. Thanks to Steve for this info from his Sunday newspaper in Norfolk, Va. ========== Randy Tolsma passed Mike Wallace with four laps remaining and held off Stacy Compton and Mike Bliss on the final lap Sunday to win the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series' Dodge Truck 300

Tolsma, 31, of Meridian, Idaho, finished 0.204 seconds ahead of Stacy Compton, averaging a race-record 76.293 mph in his Chevrolet in the 150-mile competition on Mesa Marin Raceway's half-mile oval.

``We started in the series without any knowledge and we failed many times,'' said Tolsma, who failed to qualify for four of the first six races. ``We had to dig pretty deep and it just came together. It means a lot for morale. You can't believe how much that first win will do for us.'' (Charlotte Observer) ========== This was one of those days Dale Earnhardt relishes. The hard racing. The daring racing. The sometimes-five-wide racing. The Earnhardt racing.

Then he got caught up with 23 others in the wooly wreck on Lap 141, and it became clear this wouldn't be the day he busted that confounding 55-race winless streak.

Earnhardt's crew did a duct-tape number that allowed him get back on the track for the DieHard 500's waning laps, and he wound up 29th. He dropped from fifth to sixth in the points standings.

He also got a first-hand look at how the pile-up commenced, when Jeff Gordon - who caused the thing after his left-rear tire got cut - bounced right into him.

"He clipped me and turned me around and I started spinning down," Earnhardt said. "If I could have spun straight, I wouldn't have hit anything."

Crew chief Larry McReynolds, for one, thought the incident may well have cost his driver the race.

"You never have it won until you cross that stripe," McReynolds said. "But we looked awfully strong."

Skip Wood, Richmond Times-Dispatch ========== There is an absolutely classic article about Dale Earnhardt for those of you with web access here:

http://www.gateway-va.com/pages/sports/auto/1012skip.htm

Apparently Dale just dropped in on the media center unannounced on Friday, and gave a very informal interview.

Check it out. It's too long to include here. Wouldn't want to offend all you "too long" folks <grin>. Only kidding, only kidding. ========== The young man who helped put some much-needed zip in Dick Trickle's No. 90 car may not be long for the team owned by Richmond's Junie Donlavey.

Crew chief Tommy Baldwin said yesterday he has been approached by Ricky Craven, who drives the No. 25 car owned by powerful Hendrick Motorsports, with an offer to serve him in the same capacity.

Craven's present crew chief, Andy Graves, appears bound for the Hendrick-owned No. 5 car driven by Terry Labonte now that Gary DeHart has been forced to give up his post. (Skip Wood, Richmond Times-Dispatch)

HEILIG-MEYERS officials flew in here yesterday to talk with Tom, to try to persuade him not to take the job with Rick Hendrick and Ricky Craven.

Baldwin is to meet with Hendrick men in Charlotte today to discuss the offer and says he will decided Tuesday what to do. (JournalNow) ========== Speaking of who'll be back, Michael Waltrip might not be - at least not with the Wood brothers' No. 21 car. Sources close to the situation say Waltrip, who's 18th in the points standings, is being courted by Petty's No. 43 vacancy, and that the Wood brothers certainly would have no objections if Waltrip chose to bolt.

If that comes to pass, look for the Stuart-based Wood brothers to pursue a rookie driver for next season. (Skip Wood, R. T-D) ========== One of the biggest names in racing, Al Unser Jr., could be headed to NASCAR, according to sources close to the Richard Petty team who say that Indy-car star is now on Petty's list, if Unser leaves Roger Penske. (JournalNow) ========== NASCAR'S PLANNED open test today for the new Ford Taurus has fallen through, with only one team, the Woods, bringing a car. ''You can't test what you don't have,'' Ford's Don Miller said, saying NASCAR officials still haven't approved three crucial body templates.

One of those templates is the roof template. The roof of the production Taurus is rounded, which allows more air to reach the rear spoiler, giving it more relative downforce than a flat-roof Monte Carlo. Which way NASCAR will go is unclear.

Ford executives are to meet again today with NASCAR officials to discuss the templates for the 1998 racing Taurus, and some Ford teams are worried that NASCAR will demand some significant aerodynamic changes.

But Ford's Preston Miller called yesterday's meeting with NASCAR positive, and insisted that there was no brewing controversy. (JournalNow) ========== Nearly 30 NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series teams staged a two-day test at the California Speedway Oct. 7-8 preparing for the Oct. 18 No Fear Challenge. The two-mile superspeedway is the longest venue on which the series for American-manufactured, full-size pickup trucks will compete.

NASCAR fans from coast to coast will be able to enjoy the historic event, which will be broadcast live by espn2 at 4 p.m. EDT and the radio affiliates of the NASCAR Truck Network. Additionally, ESPN will re-air the No Fear Challenge on Oct. 21 at 7:30 p.m. EDT. (NASCAR Online) ==========

Mike Irwin (mailto:mike@nascarfans.com) NASCAR Fans _______________________________________

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