BUSCH: Rockingham Notebook 98-02-21

GM Goodwrench Service 200 Saturday notes Shawn A. Akers - NASCAR Online ROCKINGHAM, N.C. (Feb. 21, 1998) Notes Saturday from the NASCAR Busch Series Grand National Division's GM Goodwrench service Plus 200 at North Carolina Speedway:...

GM Goodwrench Service 200 Saturday notes

Shawn A. Akers - NASCAR Online

ROCKINGHAM, N.C. (Feb. 21, 1998)

Notes Saturday from the NASCAR Busch Series Grand National Division's GM Goodwrench service Plus 200 at North Carolina Speedway:

Well, you can't win 'em all. That even applies to Mark Martin at North Carolina Speedway. Martin, who had won the previous four NASCAR Busch Series Grand National Division races held at "The Rock," gave it another gallant effort in Saturday's GM Goodwrench Service Plus 200, but came up just a bit short, finishing third behind Matt Kenseth and Tony Stewart.

In a rare occurrence, Martin didn't even lead a lap in his No. 60 Winn-Dixie Ford at the 1.017- mile oval.

"It was a good run for us," Martin said. "We didn't have what we needed to win, but we were close. How about Matt Kenseth? He's awesome. We'll just have to go back and do some more homework. Our Winn-Dixie Ford just wasn't as good as it needed to be."

Martin has won a total of eight career NASCAR Busch Series races at North Carolina Speedway.

It was another banner day for the Roush Racing organization. Not only did Martin finish third, but teammate Jeff Burton brought his No. 9 Track Gear Ford home to another top-five finish, driving him in fourth- place.

"The Track Gear Ford handled perfect all day," said Burton, who actually led the most laps, 136 of the 197. "It did everything I wanted it to. Just at the end, after we put on that last set of tires, I don't know if a rubber fell out of the spring or what happened, it just pushed really bad from then on. We just weren't as good at the end as we were supposed to be. But we still ended up with a good finish."

Kenseth, under contract to Robbie Reiser but part of Jack Roush's "Future Driver Development" program, earned his first career NASCAR Busch Series win on Saturday, bringing a huge smile to Roush's face following the race.

It wasn't a spectacular run, but Randy LaJoie will certainly take it. The two-time defending NASCAR Busch Series champion came home in seventh in Saturday's GM Goodwrench Service 200.

LaJoie's performance kept him in close contact in the overall point standings. The driver of the No. 74 Fina Chevrolet has 301 points after two events, 29 behind both Martin and Kenseth.

Give an "A" for effort to Casey Atwood and the LAR Motorsports team on Saturday. Atwood, the youngest driver ever to qualify for and now finish a NASCAR Busch Series race at age 17, finished 21st in his No. 28 Brooks & Dunn/Red Oil Line Chevrolet.

The race was Atwood's first in the NASCAR Busch Series.

Apparently, the relationship between former NASCAR Winston Cup Series champion crew chief Gary DeHart and Team Amick didn't last very long. DeHart, who signed on as the crew chief of the No. 35 SCANA/Myrtle Beach/South Carolina Pontiac team late last year, has resigned his position.

According to team sources, DeHart was supposed to meet team officials at North Carolina Speedway in Rockingham on Thursday, but he never showed up. Instead, he faxed his resignation in.

The team and driver Lyndon Amick failed to make the season-opening NAPA Auto Parts 300 at Daytona International Speedway last Saturday. Had it stood on its qualifying time in first round Bud Pole Qualifying, it would have made the show there.

Amick qualified 26th for Saturday's GM Goodwrench 200 at "The Rock," and wound up finishing 26th in the race, two laps down.

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Series NASCAR XFINITY
Drivers Jeff Burton , Matt Kenseth , Tony Stewart , Casey Atwood , Lyndon Amick , Jack Roush , Mark Martin