MBNA Platinum 200 Friday notebook By Dave Rodman DOVER, Del. (June 4, 1999) Notes and quotes Friday following Bud Pole Qualifying for Saturday's NASCAR Busch Series Grand National Division MBNA Platinum 200 at Dover Downs International ...
MBNA Platinum 200 Friday notebook By Dave Rodman
DOVER, Del. (June 4, 1999) Notes and quotes Friday following Bud Pole Qualifying for Saturday's NASCAR Busch Series Grand National Division MBNA Platinum 200 at Dover Downs International Speedway:
The MBNA Platinum 200 lineup shuffled following the conclusion of final practice when Casey Atwood, who had qualified 19th in Bud Pole Qualifying, had his qualifying speed disallowed when a fuel sample taken from his Castrol GTX Chevrolet earlier in the day did not meet specifications. The move bumped provisional starter Adam Petty's Spree Chevrolet into the field based on his 37th-best lap of 151.688 mph. Everyone behind Atwood moved up one spot and, since he was eligible for a provisional, the 43 qualifiers did not change.
Matt Kenseth's DeWalt Tools Chevrolet team was thrashing on an approved engine change as Happy Hour practice ended, after his primary car's engine broke. Robbie Reiser's crew pulled the engine from Kenseth's back-up car but the Cambridge, Wis., driver -- who qualified 14th -- missed a bunch of valuable practice as he seeks on Saturday to win his 2nd straight series event at Dover.
Kevin Grubb's Timber Wolf Chevrolet was consistent all day Friday, as he was quickest in the long morning practice and also in Happy Hour. He was third in the short afternoon session and ran second to Dick Trickle in qualifying. "I'd say Dick's qualified here a couple of more times than we have," Grubb said. "The car's been running good here since we unloaded. I thought we had a legitimate shot at the pole. We just got beat by a couple of hundredths. That's not much. The track changed a little bit from practice to qualifying -- it's a little slicker. We tried to prepare for it, but maybe we could've done something a little different."
Chuck Bown, driver of the No. 63 Exxon Superflo Chevrolet, crashed his primary car during morning practice. The Turn 4 wreck damaged the left side of his Monte Carlo beyond repair and Bown, who was 14th-best in that practice despite the crash, went to his back-up car and will have to start 39th using a provisional. "I had just put on a new set of tires and gone out for a qualifying run," Bown said. "I run the first lap, and it stuck good and felt good. I just got a little greedy on the second lap and drove into Turn 3 a little hard. I touched the left tires on the apron a little bit. That sent me out of control, and I lost it and wrecked."
Michael Rompf has been hired as the team manager for AllCar Motorsports' No. 22 Air Jamaica Vacations Chevrolet currently driven by Steve Grissom. This is Rompf's last weekend working for the Irvan-Simo Motorsports team, which is fielding the No. 14 Federated Auto Parts Pontiac this weekend for driver Ernie Irvan. Rompf will begin his duties with the No. 22 Monte Carlo next weekend at South Boston, Va., for the Textilease Medique 300 presented by Advance Auto Parts. Grissom will not be with the team at South Boston, as he will be with the NASCAR Winston Cup Series in Michigan. No driver has been named for the No. 22 entry at South Boston.
Fresh off his graduation last Wednesday from Trinity (N.C.) High School, 18 year-old Justin Labonte is spending this weekend with the rest of his graduated peers at the beach. However, he's not getting far away from racing. The day before he graduated, he and his father, two-time NASCAR Winston Cup Series champion Terry Labonte, tested at South Boston in preparation for Justin's tenure as the driver of the No. 44 Slim Jim Chevrolet that is scheduled to begin with the Textilease Medique 300.
The Labontes will continue Justin's short-track refresher program with the test this Tuesday at Orange County Speedway in Rougemont, N.C., a track where he has experience in Late Model Stock Cars. Next week, the Slim Jim team has a two-day test set at Watkins Glen International, where Terry Labonte is a multiple winner of the Lysol 200.
Trickle's qualifying effort in the Schneider Chevrolet impressed Michael Waltrip, who slots the No. 21 Band-Aid Chevrolet into 6th based on a 153.872 mph lap. "I've just got to shake my head when I think about how fast Dick Trickle went, cause I give it all I had and came up a couple of tenths short," Waltrip said, shaking his head. "It was a good lap. The car really felt great. The car's handled good since we got here. I'm happy with what we run. That's as fast as we've been."
David Green was about .01-second behind Trickle in the practice right before qualifying, but he ended up 5th in his No. 46 AFG Industries Chevrolet -- which was renumbered to No. 41 after number-owner Joey McCarthy failed to qualify -- in the Bud Pole session to Trickle. "We matched Dick (Trickle) there in practice," Green said. "I just tried too hard on my second lap. My first lap was right on the money, but the second lap, I drove her down in there and was shooting for the pole. I got down in there a little too hard and lost a little speed. The driver tried too hard. The car's been good all day, though. This car's been good every race that we've ran. We haven't showed it a lot of times, but I wanna run good in the race really bad."
As a former winner at Dover, and a multi-non-qualifier this season, Joe Bessey was particularly tickled to put his No. 6 Power Team Chevrolet into the 7th spot on the grid. "To say that I'm pleased would be an understatement, especially the way qualifying has gone for us," Bessey said. "It's good to be able to make races solidly. This is a big track for us since my first win came here. We missed Daytona, Talladega and New Hampshire, so I was getting pretty thick-skinned by the time we got to Nazareth (his most recent race). The Busch team has kind of played the redheaded stepchild to the Winston Cup operation. This is too competitive of a game not to put the effort into it like we needed to. Our next race is gonna be at St. Louis, and then towards the end of the season, we're gonna try to get back in the groove of making all the shows."
Brett Favre, the Green Bay Packers quarterback who is part owner of the No. 11 Rayovac Ford that was qualified 4th by Kenny Irwin, plans to be at Dover on Saturday, reportedly along with the National Football League team's president.
Although Phil Parsons' qualifying woes in the ALLTEL Chevrolet continued Friday when he logged the 26th spot, he is enthused about his previous record at Dover. The Detroit driver, who expects to make his 236th career start on Saturday, has eight top-10 finishes in 15 career starts at Dover. "Dover is considered one of the most-difficult race tracks on the Busch Series circuit," Parsons said. "It seems like you spend most of the day in the turns, and that takes a toll on your body, especially your neck. But for some reason, it's a track where we've enjoyed a lot of success. I think a lot of that comes from being patient and carefully picking when to make a move.
"Dover isn't always about who's the fastest. It's about who survives."
Ward Burton returns to the NASCAR Busch Series -- barely -- for the first time in three seasons this weekend after he qualified the No. 02 Siemens Pontiac 32nd. Burton was scheduled to debut the Bill Davis-owned entry at California last month, but rain cancelled Bud Pole Qualifying and he was not eligible for a provisional. Burton last started a NASCAR Busch Series car 79 races ago, ironically at Dover, when he started 5th and finished 14th on Sept. 14, 1996. The race, won by Randy LaJoie, was one of eight starts for Burton in 1996 in the MBNA-sponsored No. 22 Pontiac owned by Fred Turner.
Andy Santerre returned to the driver's seat of the No. 47 Monro Muffler Brake & Service Chevrolet at Dover, but was bitterly disappointed when his Bud Pole Qualifying lap was only 40th-best of 51 cars that time trialed. His team was not eligible for a provisional. Santerre, who tested earlier in the week at Greenville-Pickens Speedway in South Carolina and pronounced himself ready to return, was 28th-quickest in the morning practice, but slipped to only 43rd-best in the pre-qualifying session and never recovered. Santerre, the 1998 Raybestos Rookie of the Year, has missed 2,649 laps so far this season.
Jerry Glanville, the former NFL coach and TV commentator, was also a victim of Mother Nature at California, and made his first series qualifying attempt Friday. His UniFirst Uniforms Chevrolet was only 42nd-fastest, so he went home to Georgia early.
Since missing six of the first 10 races of the season, Hermie Sadler's No. 72 MGM Brakes Chevrolet had qualified for four straight races before Friday. Sadler was out again, though, after he time trialed only 46th-fastest.
Elton Sawyer, currently ranked 4th in the series standings, has an average finish this season of 15th. His average starting spot, however, is 24th. The Lysol Ford driver was consistent Friday, timing in 33rd spot.
Source: NASCAR Online