News 97-12-10

NASCARFans E-Mail Newsletter Really slow news day, even Jayski had trouble digging up anything. Jay says that Cale Yarborough is supposed to announce his new sponsor today. ===== Here's stories from NASCAR Online you might find ...

NASCARFans E-Mail Newsletter

Really slow news day, even Jayski had trouble digging up anything.

Jay says that Cale Yarborough is supposed to announce his new sponsor today. ===== Here's stories from NASCAR Online you might find interesting:

Race fans and motorsports-related businesses have the opportunity to purchase individual lap sponsorships for all three events in the Kroger SpeedFest, scheduled July 29-31, Indianapolis Raceway Park has announced. "IRP derives absolutely nothing from this plan," said Tom Weisenbach, IRP's director of sales & development. "All funds received are passed on directly to the racers." The plan allows interested fans and business to purchase lap sponsorships at $100 each, with the entire $100 to be awarded to the leader of the lap involved. Potentially, as much as $50,000 could be awarded, as $100 a lap is possible for the leader of each lap in the DuPont 100 featuring the USAC Silver Crown Championship Series on Wednesday, July 29; the Cummins 200 for the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series on Thursday, July 30; and the Kroger NASCAR 200 featuring the NASCAR Busch Series Grand National Division on Friday, July 31.

A year ago, Kenny Irwin won the USAC Silver Crown event, Ron Hornaday the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series race and Randy LaJoie the NASCAR Busch Series event.

"We feel that the program is somewhat unique among short track races," Weisenbach said.

Interested fans and businesses may designate the lap or laps they wish to sponsor in any or all of the three races. A listing of all lap sponsors will be part of the event program during the Kroger SpeedFest.

These interested should contact Weisenbach or Jason Smith, IRP's marketing sales manager, at (317) 291-4090. ===== A fourth-place finish in the 1997 NASCAR Winston Cup Series standings will be tough to beat, but Jeff Burton believes he and his Exide Batteries Ford team can do just that in 1998. A new car, a new paint scheme, a new crew chief and a new shop partner will be just some of the changes that should make the upcoming season interesting for everyone involved.

Becoming acclimated to the new Ford Taurus will be one of the biggest challenges awaiting Burton and his team. The car has been taken to the wind tunnel several times, and extensive testing in both his NASCAR Busch Series and NASCAR Winston Cup Series cars during December and January should help expedite the orientation process.

"I am a little nervous about it," Burton said about the prospect of racing a brand new car. "I am more nervous about it being different than what we are used to than about it being successful. I believe it will be a good race car, but right now we just don't know what we have. The wind tunnel is one thing, but the race track is quite another."

Frank Stoddard has been named to replace former crew chief Buddy Parrott, who will take on the new position of general manager for both the Exide and the Valvoline teams, which will now both be based out of the Mooresville, N.C. shop, and for Burton's NASCAR Busch Series team, also based in Mooresville.

Stoddard has spent the past two years with Roush Racing and held the position of co-car chief for the Exide team during the 1997 season. He is a native of New Hampshire and has been involved in racing for 19 years.

"Frankie and I work well together and understand each other," Burton said. "When Buddy accepted the general manager position, Frankie was the obvious choice for the crew chief position."

Mark Martin has moved his shop from Liberty, N.C., to Mooresville, and Burton and his crew look forward to the opportunity to work with and learn from Martin and his team.

Burton finished fourth in the standings this year, had 18 top-10 finishes, 13 top-5s and won not only the first race of his career at the Texas Motor Speedway, but was also victorious at the New Hampshire International Speedway and the Martinsville Speedway. He also found himself in Victory Lane twice in his NASCAR Busch Series effort and scored a Busch Pole in the last race of his abbreviated schedule.

Burton was also the recipient of the NASCAR Winston Cup Series Exide Batteries "All Charged Up" Award, which is given to the driver who finishes the most positions ahead of their qualifying effort during each race.

"1997 was a great season for us," Burton said. "Hopefully when we look back on it, we can consider it a breakthrough season. But I don't want it to be our best year. That could happen, and it scares me. We hope to use the results from the 1997 season to propel us into 1998 and into the future. I am pleased with our effort. I am proud that we improved upon our 1996 season in all the areas that we targeted before the season began. It is clear where we can still be better, and if we work on and improve those areas, we can make the 1998 season better than 1997 was. It won't be easy."

Burton looks forward to again being a championship contender in 1998.

"All the pieces will have to fit together," Burton said. "The new Ford Taurus, the crew member changes, and my abilities as a race car driver. Contending for the championship won't be easy, but I feel that the team and I have made great strides in the past year, and hopefully we can take what we have learned to an even higher level in 1998." ===== NASCAR has plans to unleash, beginning in January, an unprecedented, comprehensive program on a number of levels to celebrate the 50th anniversary of its creation.

NASCAR Online will join in a huge media campaign that will focus increased attention on the fastest-growing sport in the country -- NASCAR racing -- and provide increased illumination of its past, present and future.

The 50th anniversary year will be divided into quarters with each period being devoted to a specific theme. The four quarters will concentrate on "Legends," "Rivalries," "Country" and "Fans." ===== Mike Irwin (mailto:Mike@NASCARFans.Com) NASCARFans _______________________________________

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

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