News 97-12-09

NASCARFans E-Mail List Here's a web site a fan has set up that contains racing radio scanner frequencies: http://home.ptd.net/~fire13/ Jayski also has scanner links (see, Jay, I do actually look at your other web pages occasionally) ...

NASCARFans E-Mail List

Here's a web site a fan has set up that contains racing radio scanner frequencies:

http://home.ptd.net/~fire13/

Jayski also has scanner links (see, Jay, I do actually look at your other web pages occasionally) at:

http://www.jayski.com/linknas.html ===== Jayski hears Jeff Fuller is close to signing to drive Terry Labonte's #5 BGN Chevy's full time in 1998. ===== The Automobile Racing Club of America (ARCA) has announced that it will sanction a racing series for compact pickup trucks beginning in 1999, with one exhibition event already scheduled to be run in 1998. (Jayski) ===== I thought this was interesting, so I decided to include the whole article. Thanks to Jayski for the heads up. The article is by Bob Zeller of News & Record Online:

Although he finished third in the NASCAR Winston Cup championship standings, Mark Martin called the 1997 season his finest.

Martin was, in fact, better than any other driver in two key statistical categories.

He had the lowest finishing average at 9.06 for the 32 races. And he is the winner of the News & Record's annual NASCAR crash roundup, having been involved in only three mishaps for the entire season.

No one else equaled Martin's ability to stay out of trouble in 1997, not even Terry Labonte, who has won the roundup twice. Martin now has led the roundup three times in seven years.

He won in 1991 with three crashes, tied Dale Earnhardt in 1993 with two crashes and won it outright again this year.

Martin, in fact, had a crash-free record in 1997 until Richmond in September, when he was part of a six-car tangle on lap 20. Then, at Martinsville, he was involved in a three-car spin on lap 450. And he was also involved in the big wreck at Talladega.

But that was it.

Rookie David Green, keeping his nose clean, was second, with only three crashes as well. But Green only made 26 races. Bill Elliott and Dale Jarrett tied for third with four crashes in 32 races. Darrell Waltrip had only four incidents in 31 races.

Another rookie, Mike Skinner, was the crash king for 1997, with 14. Skinner, incidentally, won Rookie of the Year honors. And he won his first Winston Cup race (a non-points event) last month at Suzuka.

But no one was involved in more yellow-flag incidents during the season than Skinner, even though he missed Charlotte in October.

Skinner's first accident was a spin on lap 298 at Rockingham. Then he was involved in Steve Grissom's big wreck at Atlanta. He jacked up his totals with a pair of doubles -- two incidents at Texas and two more at Bristol. He added one more at Michigan in June and another in the Pepsi 400.

In the stretch run, Skinner tallied two more at Bristol in August, one at Darlington, one at New Hampshire and one at Martinsville. And he won the crash king title at Talladega when he, too, was caught in the 23-car wreck for his 14th incident of the year. Derrike Cope, who is neck-and-neck with Jimmy Spencer for the title of crash king of the '90s, placed second, with 13 crashes in 31 starts. Mr. Excitement had 12. Spencer made double digits for the fifth time in the seven years. Geoff Bodine also was involved in 12 incidents.

Crashes are one statistical category that NASCAR doesn't keep. This year, as in the past, a driver is credited with a crash if he is involved in a yellow flag for a spin or a crash (as opposed to debris or blown engines).

There are some interesting anomalies with the 1997 figures. Dale Jarrett, for instance, was the first driver involved in one of the year's 23 "doubles."

Jarrett was involved in two yellow flags during the Daytona 500. Then, for the rest of the year, Jarrett was involved in only two more (first Dover and second Talladega) to tie for third place in the roundup.

Geoff Bodine had four doubles among his 12 incidents. And three drivers -- Cope, Johnny Benson and Jack Sprague -- scored the rare NASCAR hat trick: three incidents in a single race.

Cope's came at Martinsville in April, which had 11 yellow flags, 10 for spins or wrecks. Cope was part of caution periods six, eight and 10. Benson had three crashes at Texas and, remarkably, only two more the rest of the year. In fact, he had none at all after Bristol in April.

Sprague, driving for injured Ricky Craven at Bristol in April, was involved in three of the whopping 20 yellow flags in that crashfest.

Craven's car was involved in 10 incidents, but Craven was behind the wheel for only five of them. The two that Sprague didn't account for went to Todd Bodine the week before, who had a double in the race at Texas after Craven was injured in practice. Michael Waltrip kept his nose clean until midseason. His first came in the Pepsi 400 at Daytona. Then the floodgates opened: a double at Bristol, one crash at New Hampshire, one at Dover and another double at Martinsville. He also crashed at Talladega for a total of nine -- all in the second half of the season.

Winston Cup champion Jeff Gordon totaled five crashes. Labonte, the 1996 champ, had six, including a rare (for Labonte) double at Martinsville in September.

Dale Earnhardt totaled six, although none of them was enough to put his car out of action. The No. 3 Chevy finished every race. Interestingly, Earnhardt did not get credited for one in the Southern 500 at Darlington when he blacked out and hit the first and second turn walls on the first lap. There was no yellow flag for that incident. His car finished that race, Earnhardt didn't. Mike Dillon drove in relief.

In general, crashes were up this year, despite the almost inconceivable caution-free Winston 500 at Talladega in May.

There were 160 yellow flags for spins or crashes over the course of 32 races in 1997, or an average of five per race. That's up from 1996, when there were 145 for 31 races, or 4.67 per race.

And the average number of crashes per driver was up this year to 7.44, although the season was one race longer than in 1996. It was 6.9 in 1996. In 1995, the average was 7.5 and in 1994 it was 8.2 crashes per driver.

In the seven years of the crash roundup, Labonte and Elliott are tied for the all-time lead, each with 29 crashes (an average of 4.14 per year). Mark Martin is second with 30 crashes in seven years.

The driver with the most from 1991 through 1997 is Jimmy Spencer, with 76 (an average of 10.85 per year). Cope is second with 75. ===== International Speedway Corporation, a leading promoter of motorsports activities in the United States, has announced that its board of directors has approved an additional $32 million for capital projects to be completed by February 1999.

These projects include an additional 23,000 grandstand seats and 24 to 32 luxury suites, improvements to existing hospitality facilities and corporate suites, the acquisition of land adjacent to existing facilities and other projects designed to enhance the overall racing fan experience.

A summary of the additional grandstand seats and suite additions included in the $32 million additional capital expenditures is as follows: 11,100 premium over-sized seats at Talladega Superspeedway in Alabama, 6,800 Turn 4 seats and three luxury suites at Darlington Raceway in South Carolina, 5,000 Turn 1 seats and five luxury suites at Phoenix International Raceway in Arizona and 16 to 24 luxury suites at Daytona International Speedway in Florida. (NASCAR Online) ===== Mike Irwin (mailto:Mike@NASCARFans.Com) NASCARFans _______________________________________

NASCAR Fans Website http://www.nascarfans.com _______________________________________

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