Wednesday news 97-7-30

NASCARFans E-mail List Washington-Irving Racing has decided on the people with which it will fill several key positions for its debut season in 1998. Jimmy Martin, who has managed the business side of the Petty Enterprises racing operation, has...

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Washington-Irving Racing has decided on the people with which it will fill several key positions for its debut season in 1998. Jimmy Martin, who has managed the business side of the Petty Enterprises racing operation, has been named general manager for the team owned by former NBA star Julius Irving(DrJ) and ex-NFL star Joe Washington. Details on Martin's role will be announced this week. Jimmy Foster will drive the team's BGN Fords, and team spokeswoman Kathy Thompson said a decision about a Winston Cup driver is close. Two drivers who now have Winston Cup rides will be made offers, she said. The new team won't select a crew chief until it picks a driver (charlotte observer/Jayski)

Bill Elliott had the fastest one lap speed during testing at Indy at 179.219 mph, 2.8mph faster than Jeff Gordon's one-lap event qualifying record(SpeedNet/Jayski)

Michael Waltrip(with a Roush engine) beat Kenny Schrader to win the Winston West race in Pikes Peak Raceway in Colorado on Sunday (Jayski)

Ricky Craven said on CBS 7-27 that his ride in the BGN #2 Raybestos Chevy will be open for 1998. He wants to be an owner on Saturdays and a driver on Sundays. He said Raybestos will still be primary sponsor on the car and that he's looking for a driver for the #2 (Jayski)

The Charlotte Observer Online states that Tony Stewart and Joe Gibbs have an announcement of a four-year sponsorship deal is scheduled. Shell Oil is believed to be that sponsor (Jayski)

Rick Mast holds a unique spot in the history of the Indianapolis Motor Speedway. He started from the pole in NASCAR's inaugural Brickyard 400 three years ago and was the first Winston Cup driver to lead a lap on the world's most famous race track. ``There was a lot of hoopla and prestige, a lot of questions regarding the Brickyard 400 before the race in '94,'' Mast recalled. ``Every driver's dream was to win the Brickyard, to become a part of its rich history. When it was over, all expectations had been met and surpassed.'' A bad engine left Mast in 22nd place in the first Brickyard race, and he was eighth and ninth the past two years. (WRAL)

Mark Martin, on his Brickyard testing: ``We spent the entire second day just working on the setup of the car. We're running a different front snout than we had last year and we have a better understanding of the chassis. The car was tight all during last year's race, and none of our adjustments loosened it up. Now we know how to make the car respond, whether we are tight or loose.'' (WRAL)

Mark Martin was so tired, it was hard for him to muster a smile. It was the combination of the aftereffects of an adrenalin rush and the smothering heat and humidity that kept the NASCAR Winston Cup star from showing how much he really cared about clinching a record third championship in the True Value Firebird International Race of Champions Series. ``I've wanted this so much, it's what I've been focusing on since the last (IROC) race (last month at Fontana, Calif.),'' Martin said, his face a serious mask. ``Maybe you can't tell from looking at me, but I consider this the greatest accomplishment of my career. It will only be topped, in my mind, by a Winston Cup championship.'' (WRAL)

Scattered underneath the burned-out passenger's seat, not far from the smoked shoe and the melted tool box, laid auto racing cards and glossy pictures. Some, like a Dale Earnhardt trading card, were torn. Others, like a stack of Busch Series autographed pictures, were burned. All are Mike Biddle's prized possessions, which explained why Lisa Beahr collected them from the truck's remnants before a storm hit last week. ''Mike will probably want them,'' she said. Two weeks ago, the crew team of Robert Luck, Jason Beahr and Biddle were preparing rookie Busch driver Eddie Beahr for a race at Myrtle Beach Speedway. Today, those associated with Beahr Racing in Mechanicsville are trying to cope with the disaster that happened July 13 on the ride back. The truck carrying Luck, Biddle, Jason Beahr and a trailer with their Ford Thunderbird inside caught fire on Interstate 95 near Smithfield, N.C. ''It just felt like a fireball,'' said Jason Beahr, ''and we were stuck in it.'' Biddle, 42, suffered third-degree burns to his right arm and second-degree burns to both legs. Beahr, 20, received second-degree burns to his right arm, right leg and a portion of his left leg. Luck, 26, had the worst injuries, getting burned on every part of his body except where he was wearing his shirt and shorts.

A fund has been established to help Robert Luck pay for his medical bills. Those interested in contributing can send checks to: New Bridge Baptist Church, c/o Robert Luck Medical Fund, P.O. Box 250, Highland Springs, Va. 23075. (GVA)

"We need a win," Bill Elliott said. "The biggest thing I see is that we have been running so well everywhere we've been. We've just had a lot of little things happen, but we've been very competitive. We've run with the majority of the good cars every week. If we can just keep going where we're going, I know we'll be in good shape. Right now, we're kinda knocking on the door. We just can't get it open." Elliott says a win at the Brickyard would be nice, but not because it's one of the biggest races on the circuit. A win at Martinsville would mean just as much because of his winless skid. He's not sentimental or caught up in Indy's steep tradition. It's great to say I went up there, but to me, it's kinda just another race track," Elliott said. "I'm not saying that negatively toward them. As far as the facility itself, it is fantastic. ... But on the history side, I'm not into all the history stuff. I never did well at it in school. History ain't my thing." (iRace)

Much of Kyle Petty's adult life was molded during a childhood spent following the career of his father. Stock car legend Richard Petty started bestowing gifts such as motorcycles on his son at the age of 5. Their relationship has, in many ways, been the hub of Kyle Petty's existence. But in the summer of 1994, the third-generation NASCAR veteran took father-son bonding in a direction his dad never steered. A family tradition was started when Kyle treated himself and son Austin, then 12, to their first ear piercings. They have continued the practice each summer and this year plan to add a fourth. And Kyle Petty isn't particularly concerned about the reaction of his father. "Hey," he said. "I don't say anything about him wearing cowboy hats and boots." Dad's actions might have influenced many decisions, but Kyle Petty is incorporating his own ideas as a parent, businessman and, he hopes, as a rejuvenated, successful driver. Although he has embraced much of his father's lifestyle, he continues to forge his own path, whether by sporting three loop earrings and a pony tail or by forming his own racing team. Feeding off his father's knowledge, Kyle Petty has created his own identity. He has splashed the results across his car, sponsored by professional wrestling's New World Order, and a self-described "gaudy" blue Harley, which he rides between many stops on the NASCAR circuit. Yet through relationships that have ranged from father-son to boss-employer to business partners, Richard Petty continues to impact his son's life. "I think he always will," Kyle said. "I go to him a lot. As far as racing, there's not much he doesn't know, so if I want the best answers I go to the best. But our relationship is multi-layered. He's really good about not letting business stuff mix with family stuff. If I spend too much money, I can still go over at Christmas and he gives me a present." (Nando Net)

The one word to describe Ken Schrader this week as he heads to Indianapolis Motor Speedway. for the Brickyard 400 is optimistic. "I am looking forward to going to the Brickyard. There is such a great feeling of history and prestige there," Schrader said. "We are utilizing a new car which we tested and it ran awesome." (NASCAR Online)

Joe Ruttman won the Craftsman Truck Series Lund Look 275 from the pole as Jay Sauter ran out of gas on the final lap. Jack Sprague finished the race second, Ron Hornaday was third ending his three race win streak, Dorsey Schroeder fourth and Mike Skinner fifth. The points leader Rich Bickle finished 23rd.

The 1998 Ford Taurus, Ford Motor Company's next generation of Winston Cup race cars, will be unveiled tonight at a bash in Indianapolis, where most of the motorsports community is gathered for this weekend's Brickyard 400. The Taurus will replace the Thunderbird, which has been the standard bearer for Ford in NASCAR since 1978. The Thunderbird is being withdrawn from production after this year. Jack Roush, who owns three Ford Winston Cup teams, built the first racing Taurus. Penske South, which fields cars for 1989 Winston Cup champion Rusty Wallace, was also involved in the development of the car. (TheState)

It's natural to assume that somewhere in every Winston Cup racer's background was a little bit of street racing that lit the spark. Not so with rookie Mike Skinner. It was two other guys. "I had a very nice street car, a '71 Plymouth Road Runner," Skinner said. "A couple of guys were drag racing, and I went around a corner and they were coming right at me. I ran off the road and totaled the car." Some buddies talked him into rebuilding the car as a race car, and he won a half-dozen races with it in his first season. But not before he broke it in. "I flipped the car three times my first race," he said. (TheState)

Columbia, Tenn., native Sterling Marlin, son of long-time NASCAR veteran Coo-Coo Marlin, remembers hearing about Indianapolis when he was young, but it just didn't register. "When you're a kid who's the son of a stock car racer, you think of Daytona and Darlington and Charlotte," Marlin said. "Indianapolis is another place and another thing. You know it's important, but how can it compare. "I mean, when I was a kid, you just couldn't do any better than win at Nashville. Sure, maybe somebody won the Indianapolis 500, but that wasn't any big deal. Let him come out to Nashville and beat Daddy and those guys out there. Then I would believe he was something special." (TheState)

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

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About this article
Series Monster Energy NASCAR Cup
Drivers Dale Earnhardt , Bill Elliott , Jeff Gordon , Tony Stewart , Rusty Wallace , Michael Waltrip , Mike Skinner , Kyle Petty , Ken Schrader , Jay Sauter , Sterling Marlin , Ron Hornaday Jr. , Ricky Craven , Jack Sprague , Joe Ruttman , Rick Mast , Richard Petty , Dorsey Schroeder , Jack Roush , Mark Martin