Moore's Snacks 250 Saturday notebook By Shawn A. Akers BRISTOL, Tenn. (April 10, 1999) Notes and quotes from Saturday's Moore's Snacks 250 at Bristol Motor Speedway. This early in the season, Elton Sawyer isn't going to get giddy about having...
Moore's Snacks 250 Saturday notebook By Shawn A. Akers
BRISTOL, Tenn. (April 10, 1999) Notes and quotes from Saturday's Moore's Snacks 250 at Bristol Motor Speedway.
This early in the season, Elton Sawyer isn't going to get giddy about having the points lead in the NASCAR Busch Series Grand National Division. But for a driver who has struggled to find his way in NASCAR over the past decade or so, first place sure is a nice place to be.
The driver of the No. 98 Lysol Chevrolet, who finished third in Saturday's Moore's Snacks 250, leads Dale Earnhardt Jr. by a single point after eight races in 1998. Saturday's finish was his fifth top-10 of the season and fourth in his last five races.
"It's still early in the season," Sawyer said. "Obviously, leading, we're very proud of that, but we know we're gonna need to lead some laps and win some races to be able to beat Junior (Earnhardt Jr.). The 32 (Jeff Green) is running good as well as the 57, so if we're talking about points come Homestead (the last race of the year), then we've done our job all year."
Mike McLaughlin's stay atop the standings was a short one. The driver of the No. 34 Goulds Pumps Chevrolet, who took the lead last week at Nashville, was involved in a five-car accident on lap 214 of Saturday's 250-lap race at Bristol and wound up finishing 27th. McLaughlin fell to 4th in the points and is now 78 points behind Sawyer.
Progressive Motorsports is beginning to make its presence known in the NASCAR Busch Series. After Green gave the second-year team its first-ever victory in last week's BellSouth Mobility 320 at Nashville, Jason Keller made it two in a row Saturday. Keller also won the Bud Pole on Friday, the multi-car team's first this season. Keller is third in the standings, 47 points behind Sawyer and 46 points behind Earnhardt Jr.
Green is 6th in the standings, 121 points behind Sawyer.
Rookie Tony Roper turned in a solid performance Saturday. The driver of the No. 61 IWX Motor Freight Pontiac scored his first top-10 in the NASCAR Busch Series with a 10th-place run. "I'm satisfied, but, of course, I would have preferred better," Roper said. "We got up to about seventh or so near the end, but the tires got too hot on that last run because I was running it so hard. It's my first top-10 and the team's first top-10 of the year, so we're happy about it. We dodged a lot of bullets out there today, I know that."
Todd Bodine is hanging tough in the standings, after a solid 5th-place run Saturday in his No. 66 Phillips 66 Chevrolet. Bodine is 7th in the standing, 198 points behind Sawyer. "We dodged a few of 'em (wrecks) today," Bodine said. "We had the car to win this race, but I over-adjusted (air pressure) on it on the last pit stop. We stayed out of trouble and that's the key here at Bristol.
"We moved up in the points. If you can't win the race, then, you worry about getting as many points as you can at Bristol."
Sterling Marlin continued to hold the banner of the University of Tennessee high Saturday. Marlin, a native of Columbia, Tenn., has sported the orange and white colors of UT for the past two races, held in his home state (at Nashville and Bristol). Marlin finished 8th Saturday. Last week at Nashville, he led for several laps before encountering trouble and finishing 34th.
Marlin will run the same paint scheme for his No. 14 Chevrolet in the August race at Bristol as well.
Cautions, cautions, cautions. There were plenty of them on Saturday 11 for a total of 76 laps during the 250-lap event. Of the 43 cars that started the race, 28 were still running at the end. Of the 15 cars not on the track at the end, 14 were out due to an accident. Only Jeff Purvis had engine failure.
Source: NASCAR Online