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NASCARFans E-Mail List What about Richard Noble and the Thrust SCC car, driven by Andy Green breaking the sound barrier (unofficially, without the 2nd run within an hour to back it up) on the ground? They went Mach 1.007, faster than 750...

NASCARFans E-Mail List

What about Richard Noble and the Thrust SCC car, driven by Andy Green breaking the sound barrier (unofficially, without the 2nd run within an hour to back it up) on the ground? They went Mach 1.007, faster than 750 miles per hour, only one day short of the 50 year anniversary of Chuck Yeager breaking the sound barrier in the air for the first time. ========== Here's a quote from one of our readers, who races car #80 in the Busch Grand National North series:

"This weekend at Lime Rock Park, Mike Stefanik goes for the BGNN Championship title (he's currently in first by 61 points with only one race left). He is also in contention for the Featherlight Modified Tour Championship (he's in first place by 298 points with 2 races left). If he wins both championships , I believe that he will be the first person in Nascar history to win two titles in the same season!!" ========== There is a good article available to those of you with web access at:

http://www.speedworld.net/history/101497cheating.html

It's called "Those Cheatin' Ways", and it's written by Matt McLaughlin of Speedworld. It tells about how drivers and crew chiefs have been innovative over the years in bending and breaking the rules, including Smokey Yunick's famous (or "infamous") 7/8 scale Chevelle in 1966. One of my favorite stories was the one about 80 lbs. of buckshot hidden in the frame of a certain driver's car, and released throughout the race to lighten the car. NASCAR never did find out how they did it (during that time). ========== Here's a quote on the 2 door Taurus from one of my sources (thanks!):

"....the question about a 2 door Taurus was brought up at a plant VQR (vehicle quality review) last Friday, and all of mgmt said that there is no truth to that one.. That meeting is held weekly by the plant manager, with review by the vehicle line director in Dearborn."

He also told me that Car & Driver had a spy photo months back of a 2 door Taurus.

We'll see what happens with this one. ========== Here's a great article from a few months back by David Poole of the Charlotte Observer. Some of it repeats what I reported yesterday. This article really helps explain the differences in the money awarded at a race. Thanks to David Poole for letting me know he'd written it, and to Xdemp for passing it along. It's a bit lengthy, so for you "too long"ers, you may want to skip it or hit delete at this point <grin>:

Fender spenders Stickers on stock cars can turn pay day into a heyday By DAVID POOLE Staff Writer Charlotte Observer

Dick Trickle finished 30th in Sunday's Goody's 500 at Martinsville Speedway and won $9,515. Ernie Irvan was 31st. He won $24,465.

Does that mean Trickle could have added $14,950 to his winnings by letting Irvan finish one place ahead of him?

No, and welcome to NASCAR Math 101, a complicated formula for dividing money on the Winston Cup circuit.

The variables include track owners, television networks and more than three dozen corporate sponsors who dole out dollars to drivers who are willing to paste decals all over their racing machines.

Purses vary widely. Just over $3.8 million was up for grabs for the Interstate Batteries 500 at Texas Motor Speedway. At Martinsville, the total was $1,241,246.

Kevin Triplett, NASCAR's manager of communications, doesn't carry the money with him each week. But he does carry around a folder in which he keeps the information needed to provide an unofficial breakdown of the winnings, the ones you see printed in Monday's newspaper.

Jeff Gordon was credited with $99,225 in winnings for his victory Sunday. Using that as the example, here's how it's done.

From a total of about $357,000 that the track, as the race promoter, put up, first place was worth $27,775 for Gordon.

Each Winston Cup race is televised, and each track negotiates rights fees. NASCAR requires 25 percent of the rights fee be kicked into the purse. At Martinsville, that amount was $143,750, meaning ESPN paid $575,000 to broadcast the race. Of the television money, Gordon got $7,800.

Because he finished in the top 30 in last year's points standings, Gordon is eligible for NASCAR's Plan 1 program. Each car owner eligible for this plan gets $7,000 per race, regardless of where the car finishes.

This plan is designed to reward car owners for staying in the sport. It also provides incentive to keep cars in races toward the end of a bad season. At $7,000 per race over the 32-race schedule this year, missing the top 30 last season costs a team $224,000 in 1997.

The Plan 1 money goes to the car owner; the $99,225 listed as Gordon's winnings at Martinsville represents the total amount awarded to the team that fields the No. 24 Chevrolet. What portion of the money the driver gets is determined by his contract with his car owner.

Gordon also got $10,200 at Martinsville from the Winner's Circle program, an awards pool shared by teams that have won races. Much of the large advantage Irvan had over Trickle in earnings at Martinsville was because of Winner's Circle and Plan 1 money.

Add the $500 Gordon got for being the fourth-fastest qualifier, and so far we have accounted for $53,275.

What that means is that all of the decals on Gordon's car at Martinsville were worth $45,950. Each decal represents a special awards program paid by a corporate sponsor.

A $7,600 per-race bonus from Unocal, paid if the pole winner also wins the race, and a $10,000 per-race bonus from Winston, paid if the winner is leading in points at the end of the race, were not won at Martinsville. These awards roll over each week they are not collected.

Other awards are paid each week, but not always strictly by finishing order, since not every car is eligible for every award.

Rusty Wallace and Johnny Benson, for example, do not participate in many programs because their car owners want their cars uncluttered by decals. Bobby Hamilton did not collect $5,000 from Busch beer for winning a pole last season because his car owner, Richard Petty, does not carry alcoholic beverage decals.

One bonus program has only one eligible driver. As part of the reward for winning the 1996 Winston Cup title, Terry Labonte gets $5,000 for entering, qualifying for and competing in each race this season. That's $5,000 per race, or $160,000 for the season if he competes in every event.

Some drivers don't participate in specific programs because of sponsor conflicts. Jeremy Mayfield's No. 37 Ford, for example, has RC Cola as a major sponsor. So Mayfield's car does not carry a Gatorade decal and therefore can't win the $5,000 bonus that goes to the car leading at a race's halfway point.

If Mayfield were leading at halfway, the $5,000 would go to the car that carries a Gatorade decal that reaches halfway first.

Some drivers' contracts include clauses that compensate them for awards they would have won but didn't because their car owner doesn't carry a particular decal.

The folder Triplett carries each Sunday contains several pages of ``decal sheets.'' For each award program, these list the drivers eligible. Triplett takes the race rundown and checks the decal sheet for each award, assigning the money to eligible drivers.

The awards available include:

$5,000 from MCI to the driver who posts the fastest lap while leading.

$5,000 from RCA to the crew chief who employs the best pit strategy.

$2,000 from Exide Batteries to the driver who advances the most positions from where he starts to where he finishes.

$2,000 from Western Auto to the mechanic of the race.

$1,500 from Goody's to the winner of the Goody's Headache award, based on a vote by the media.

These awards provide Winston Cup with two of its most tedious ceremonies.

As the drivers are introduced before each race, several awards are presented for the preceding event. In Victory Lane, the winner goes through a seemingly endless process of taking off one sponsor-labeled baseball cap and putting on another.

These presentations are all photographed, Triplett said. Each week, NASCAR assembles prints of the driver getting the check or the trophy or, in the case of the RCA pit strategy award, a big stuffed dog, and sends them to the respective sponsors. ========== Mike Irwin (mailto:mike@nascarfans.com) NASCAR Fans _______________________________________

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