Valvoline Racing News 2000-05-15

NASCAR: The element of surprise has been a big factor throughout the 15-year history of The Winston, NASCAR's all-star event. That certainly was the case in 1998, when Jeff Gordon ran out of fuel on the last lap, giving Mark Martin the ...

NASCAR:

The element of surprise has been a big factor throughout the 15-year history of The Winston, NASCAR's all-star event. That certainly was the case in 1998, when Jeff Gordon ran out of fuel on the last lap, giving Mark Martin the win.

"When you don't know you're going to win, that's the most fun of all," says Martin, who will carry Valvoline's MaxLife colors on his Ford Taurus in Saturday night's (May 20) race at Charlotte's Lowe's Motor Speedway.

"It's been fun and it's been miserable. We wrecked right away last year with a great car. (Dale) Earnhardt beat us when we thought we had it won years ago (1993). That was a miserable feeling. And, then, it's brought me one of the high points of my career. I was just in the process of completing my pass for second place when Gordon dropped down to the inside. I thought for a second, 'He thinks the race is over.' It was a big surprise.

"It's a pretty volatile race and the fans feel and see that. I approach it as a condensed race. These guys who say they're going for it in The Winston, that means they're not going for it the rest of the time. I'm going for it in every race."

The first week of the Valvoline Online Racing Auction on eBay.com raised approximately $40,000 for Big Brothers Big Sisters of America. The top item was a NASCAR race weekend as a Mark Martin honorary pit crew member, which attracted a bid of $12,000.

The auction continues through May 23. There are autographed items from Dale Earnhardt, Richard Petty, Dale Jarrett, Paul Newman, A.J. Foyt, Mario Andretti, Kenny Bernstein, Joe Amato, Arie Luyendyk and Alex Zanardi among many, many others. Plus, several travel packages and one-of-a-kind motorsports "experiences."

BIG BROTHERS BIG SISTERS OF AMERICA UPDATE: Mark Martin's on-track performance in the Valvoline Ford, combined with contributions from Valvoline and NASCAR fans, has brought the current total raised for Big Brothers Big Sisters since 1999 to $324,410. Valvoline is donating $5,000 for every Winston Cup race Martin wins, $2,500 for each pole, $1,000 for a top-five finish, and $20 per lap Martin leads in this "Caring Hands" program. The next trackside fundraiser, where fans can put their handprints on a canvas wall, receive a commemorative button, and make donations, will be May 27 at the Lowe's Motor Speedway in Charlotte.

NHRA: Racers Getting 3d Degree

Joe Amato, Matt Hines, Ron Krisher and the rest of the NHRA Winston Drag Racing Series competitors begin a difficult three-events-in-three-weeks stretch May 19-21 with the Matco Tools Spring SuperNationals at Englishtown, N.J. Amato, currently fifth in Top Fuel points, is the defending winner in the DynoMax/Valvoline/Keystone Automotive dragster. The tour then goes to Dallas, May 26-28, and Chicago, June 2-4. Three-time defending Pro Stock Motorcycle champion Hines is fourth in points on the Eagle One Suzuki, while Krisher is sixth in the Pro Stock class in his Eagle One Pontiac Firebird.

Informed Sources: Camera Highlights Auction

The Valvoline Online Racing Auction on eBay logo will be highlighted for the TNN camera mounted on Mark Martin's MaxLife Ford for Saturday night's The Winston . . . Martin is third in the Winston Cup standings -- just 33 points behind leader Bobby Labonte -- going into the next point-paying event, the May 28 Coca-Cola 600 at Charlotte.

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Series NASCAR-CUP , NHRA

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