Thursday news 97-08-21

NASCARFans E-Mail List ========== Jeff Gordon tried out a new car and an old reliable Chevrolet Monte Carlo as he completed a two-day test Wednesday at Darlington (S.C.) Raceway. Gordon, who will win a $1 million bonus from R.J. Reynolds ...

NASCARFans E-Mail List ========== Jeff Gordon tried out a new car and an old reliable Chevrolet Monte Carlo as he completed a two-day test Wednesday at Darlington (S.C.) Raceway.

Gordon, who will win a $1 million bonus from R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Company if he wins the Aug. 31 Southern 500 at Darlington, turned in a top speed of 167.836 mph in Wednesday's session. That bettered his best lap of 166.135 mph on Tuesday.

``We're a lot better today,'' Gordon said. ``This is really an intense practice session because we are trying so many things, trying to be competitive right off the truck when we come back next week.''

Gordon brought two cars for the test. One is new, and it looks like that's the one his team will chose as its primary car next week.

``We'll carry it back to the shop and massage it a little bit,'' Gordon said. ``We're just searching for that little extra with the new car. If we don't get it exactly the way we want it, we know we can always go back to `Blacker.' It's a proven winner.''

``Blacker'' is the car Gordon used to win three of the past four races at Darlington. The only loss in that stretch came in March, when Dale Jarrett won.

Gordon has earned a shot at the Winston Million bonus by winning the Daytona 500 and the Coca-Cola 600 this season. The bonus is paid to a driver winning three times in a four-race set that includes the two Gordon has won along with the Winston 500 at Talladega and next weekend's Southern 500.

Bill Elliott won the bonus in 1985, the first year it was offered, and it has not been won since. Elliott also tested Wednesday at Darlington, running a best lap at 167.379 mph. Jeff Burton tested as well and ran 164.084 mph. (charlotte.com) ========== Here's the points race, courtesy of Chaz:

Driver Standings 1. Jeff Gordon, 3,194. 2. Mark Martin, 3,095. 3. Dale Jarrett, 2,914. 4. Terry Labonte, 2,884. 5. Jeff Burton, 2,814. 6. Dale Earnhardt, 2,744. 7. Bobby Labonte, 2,618. 8. Ted Musgrave, 2,479. 9. Bill Elliott, 2,476. 10. Jeremy Mayfield, 2,437. 11. Ricky Rudd, 2,428. 12. Johnny Benson, 2,360. 13. Rusty Wallace, 2,312. 14. Ernie Irvan, 2,300. 15. Darrell Waltrip, 2,230. (tie) Ken Schrader, 2,230. 17. Michael Waltrip, 2,220. 18. Kyle Petty, 2,169. 19. Jimmy Spencer, 2,129. 20. Sterling Marlin, 2,045. 21. Bobby Hamilton, 2,033. 22. John Andretti, 1,984. 23. Ricky Craven, 1,970. 24. Mike Skinner, 1,907. 25. Ward Burton, 1,898. 26. Brett Bodine, 1,893. 27. Steve Grissom, 1,868. 28. Derrike Cope, 1,834. 29. Geoff Bodine, 1,801. 30. Rick Mast, 1,720. 31. Morgan Shepherd, 1,596. 32. Joe Nemechek, 1,584. 33. Kenny Wallace, 1,573. 34. Hut Stricklin, 1,555. 35. Lake Speed, 1,473. 36. Dick Trickle, 1,457. 37. David Green, 1,366. 38. Robby Gordon, 1,206. 39. Chad Little, 1,138. 40. Dave Marcis, 1,119. 41. Wally Dallenbach Jr., 975. 42. Jeff Green, 840. 43. Greg Sacks, 581. 44. Robert Pressley, 545. 45. Mike Wallace, 541. 46. Bobby Hillin, 511. 47. Gary Bradberry, 419. 48. Billy Strandrige, 329. 49. Jerry Nadeau, 287. 50. Rick Wilson, 200. 51. Lance Hooper, 189. 52. Todd Bodine, 188. 53. Ed Berrier, 176. 54. Loy Allen, 119. 55. Ron Barfield, 97. 56. Butch Gilliland, 91. 57. Tommy Hubert, 79. 58. Phil Parsons, 70. (tie) Dorsey Schroeder, 70. 60. Sean Woodside, 64. (tie) Steve Park, 64. 62. Rich Bickle, 61. 63. Jeff Davis, 52. (tie) Jeff Purvis, 52. 65. Larry Gunselman, 49. 66. Jack Sprague, 43. 67. Randy MacDonald, 40. ========== ASC Games, a developer and publisher of video games for Sony PlayStation, Sega Saturn, and PC CD-ROM, has signed NASCAR Winston Cup Superstar and current points leader, Jeff Gordon, to a video game licensing agreement. As part of the deal, Gordon will co-produce the racing series with ASC Games. "This project is much more than a racing game with a celebrity endorsement. When you combine Jeff's racing expertise with his passion for video games, especially racing games, he becomes much more than just a great name, he becomes a great asset to the development team," said David Klein, President and COO of ASC Games. "Jeff's hands-on involvement and personal touch will help capture a level of excitement that will make this racing series something very special for fans of racing video games." (thanks to Chaz) ========== Here's the top 10 points leaders in the Busch Series, courtesy of Chaz:

1. Randy LaJoie, 3,247. 2. Todd Bodine, 3,135. 3. Steve Park, 2,823. 4. Phil Parsons, 2,798. 5. Buckshot Jones, 2,706. 6. Elliott Sadler, 2,703. 7. Elton Sawyer, 2,652. 8. Mike McLaughlin, 2,623. 9. Tim Fedewa, 2,553.

...and the top 10 in the Craftsman Truck series, also courtesy of Chaz:

1. Jack Sprague, 2,726. 2. Rich Bickle, 2,691. 3. Ron Hornaday, 2,632. 4. Joe Ruttman, 2,600. 5. Mike Bliss, 2,399. 6. Rick Carelli, 2,383. 7. Jimmy Hensley, 2,378. 8. Chuck Bown, 2,337. 9. Jay Sauter, 2,310. 10. Butch Miller, 2,257. ========== Food Lion is kicking off a 14-state promotional contest this week that ties racing and country music. The grand prize among some 30,000 prizes worth $3.2 million is quite a haul -- a VIP trip to the NASCAR Awards Banquet in New York City, a similar trip to the Academy of Country Music awards show in Los Angeles, and $100,000 in cash. (charlotte.com) ========== As the ever growing popularity of NASCAR Winston Cup Series racing continues to rise, so too does the television viewership of the events. Overnight ratings for Sunday's ESPN's coverage of he NASCAR Winston Cup Series DeVilbiss 400 event from Michigan Speedway climbed to a 4.3, up from a 4.1 in 1996, according to Nielsen Media Research. With almost three-quarters of the 1997 schedule completed, the NASCAR Winston Cup Series championship point events are averaging a 4.7 rating on cable television compared to a 3.9 year-ending rating in 1996. On network television, the NASCAR Winston Cup Series is averaging a 6.1 rating compared to a 5.6 overall rating in 1996. (NASCAR Online) ========== Former Washington Redskins quarterback Mark Rypien is out of the race-car business, meaning Mark Rypien Motorsports is no more. The team Rypien founded nearly five years ago with co-owner Greg Pollex has been absorbed by Roush Racing and noted car owner Jack Roush, who said Chad Little will remain as driver. Although Pollex will maintain an investment in the team as well as a front-office title, he confirmed yesterday that Rypien has decided to sell his share. "Mark's still working hard in his football career, and he's never made any bones about that," Pollex said about an hour before yesterday's DeVilbiss 400 at Michigan International Speedway. "That's what he's always said, that football comes first. He's always been up-front about that." Rypien also didn't have the financial resources and other connections that Roush brings to the table. As such, the team has struggled. This season is the team's first as a full-time Winston Cup entry, but it's ranked 39th in the Winston Cup standings. That's one reason Pollex didn't mind giving up co-ownership. "This is definitely the best thing for Chad," Pollex said. "I don't think we could do much better than hooking up with an owner like Jack Roush. Whether or not the sponsor (John Deere) or the car manufacturer (Pontiac) will return hasn't been decided. Roush also owns the rides of Winston Cup drivers Jeff Burton, Mark Martin and Ted Musgrave. Rypien, 34, was most valuable player of Super Bowl XXVI when he led the Redskins to a rout of the Buffalo Bills in Minneapolis. He's now with the St. Louis Rams. (GVA) ========== Responding to criticism of how one of his drivers, Jeff Burton, gave another one of his drivers, winner Mark Martin, a free pass to regain a lap, Roush Racing chief Jack Roush turned to literature.

"[Ernest] Hemingway said that there are three sports. There's mountain-climbing, bull-fighting and automobile racing and all the rest are games. These guys put their lives in one another's hands. . . .Depending on how well they think the guy they are [racing with] is able to keep them out of harm's way, then they will extend the consideration, or they won't. That's the way it is." (GVA) ========== Dale Earnhardt, now winless in 48 straight events, was grousing both during the race and after the race. As far as crew chief Larry McReynolds is concerned, that's fabulous. That, and also the fact that Earnhardt started 28th but finished ninth for his 10th top-10 showing of the season. "Dale sounded like the Earnhardt today that I've monitored over the years," McReynolds said. "He was raising Cain about everything and everybody. That was a good sign." Afterward, the driver for the No. 3 Chevrolet took a few shots that other make of car. "Those Fords have more horsepower and more downforce [and] it's time for it to stop," Earnhardt said. "I'm tired of it. It's so damn unfair. I'm driving my butt off, hung out loose, sideways, and I still can't keep up with them Fords." (GVA)

Mike Irwin (mike@nascarfans.com) NASCAR Fans _______________________________________ NASCAR Fans Website http://www.nascarfans.com

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Series Monster Energy NASCAR Cup
Drivers Dale Earnhardt , John Andretti , Rich Bickle , Brett Bodine , Jeff Burton , Ward Burton , Derrike Cope , Wally Dallenbach , 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 , Mike Skinner , Kyle Petty , Ken Schrader , Jimmy Spencer , Joe Nemechek , Kenny Wallace , Jeff Green , Jay Sauter , Elton Sawyer , Sterling Marlin , Robby Gordon , Jerry Nadeau , Buckshot Jones , Mike Wallace , Hut Stricklin , Robert Pressley , Johnny Benson , Ron Hornaday Jr. , Ted Musgrave , Mike McLaughlin , Ricky Craven , Jack Sprague , Larry Gunselman , Chad Little , Jeff Purvis , David Green , Lance Hooper , Joe Ruttman , Dave Marcis , Rick Mast , Ed Berrier , Jimmy Hensley , Rick Carelli , Dorsey Schroeder , Steve Grissom , Mike Bliss , Gary Bradberry , Morgan Shepherd , Phil Parsons , Ron Barfield , Jack Roush , Greg Sacks , Elliott Sadler , Butch Miller , Mark Martin