ARA Racefacts 98-10-04

AUTO RACING ANALYSIS RACEFACTS BULLETIN OCTOBER 4, 1998 Mark Martin (Valvoline Roush Ford Taurus) scored his career-leading seventh NASCAR Winston Cup win of 1998 with his victory in Sunday's Charlotte 500. The victory was...


OCTOBER 4, 1998

Mark Martin (Valvoline Roush Ford Taurus) scored his career-leading seventh NASCAR Winston Cup win of 1998 with his victory in Sunday's Charlotte 500.

The victory was the fourth consecutive Winston Cup win for Ford, tying Chevrolet for the Winston Cup win streak of 1998; Ford also tied Chevrolet in victories at 13 apiece with Pontiac having two!

Prior to 1998, the "stretch run" of the "modern era" Winston Cup championship (1972-1998) did not include any "restrictor plate" races at Daytona or Talladega! With the second Talladega race moved to October, the original schedule for 1998 had one such event, and with the postponement of the Daytona 400, the "stretch run" now has two such races coming up consecutively within a week!

Jeff Gordon has won three Winston Cup point-paying "restrictor plate" events: the 1995 Daytona 400, the 1996 Talladega DieHard 500, and the 1997 Daytona 500. Mark Martin hasn't won at Daytona but has two Talladega wins, in the 1995 and 1997 Winston 500s.

In 1998's first two "plate" races, Dale Earnhardt won the Daytona 500 and Bobby Labonte won at Talladega.

Brian Simo (Valvoline Racewerx Ford Mustang Cobra) won Saturday's Houston final round of the 1998 SCCA NTB Trans-Am Series. This second consecutive victory (joining last week's win at Pikes Peak Raceway) came in Brian's sixty-first start in the series!

Simo also set Fast Lap, ending a twelve-race streak for Chevrolet drivers (Paul Gentilozzi set the first nine of 1998 in his Rocketsports Corvette, Stu Hayner set the next three in his White Lightning Westward Ho! Camaro)!

Simo's win gave him second place in 1998 points, with Bill Saunders' runnerup finish (Autolink Rocketsports Chevrolet Corvette) clinching third in points for Bill!

As in 1997 with Mike Borkowski taking his first two Trans-Am victories in the season's last two races, Simo took his first two wins in the last two races of 1998!

SEVENTEEN competitors competed in EVERY RACE of the 1998 Trans-Am season!

This total compares very favorably with the number of full-schedule competitors in recent years!

In 1994, only twelve drivers competed in all thirteen events. In 1995, fifteen drivers competed in all eleven events of that short season. In 1996, ten drivers competed in each of the fourteen races of the season. In 1997, only nine drivers competed in every race of the 13-race season!

Seventy-six (76) drivers competed in the 1998 Trans-Am, four more than the 72 drivers competing in the 14-race 1996 season and the 72 drivers competing in the 13-race 1997 season. In 1995, only 55 drivers competed in the eleven-race season and in 1994 only 63 drivers competed in the 13-race season.

Sixty-one drivers scored points in the 1998 Trans-Am season.

Chris Neville's (ARCO Derhaag Chevrolet Camaro) eighth-place, lead-lap finish at Houston clinched fourth position in 1998 points for Neville, the 1998 Rookie of the Year!

ELEVEN drivers "ascended the podium" signifying a Top Three finish in 1998's Trans-Am events!

With ELEVEN "podium finishers" in 1998 Trans-Am racing, the 1998 season's "podium diversity" EXCEEDED the totals of every Trans-Am season beginning with 1993!

In 1993's thirteen-race season with 39 possible "podium" positions available, only TEN (10) drivers mounted the podium. In 1994's thirteen-race season with 39 possible "podium" positions, only EIGHT drivers achieved Top Three finishes! In 1995's eleven-race season with 33 possible "podium" positions, only TEN drivers finished "on the podium." In 1996's fourteen-race season with 42 "podium" spots available, only TEN drivers placed in the Top Three. In 1997's thirteen-race season with 39 "podium" positions available, only NINE drivers achieved a Top Three finish!

The most recent Trans-Am season with MORE THAN ELEVEN "podium" finishers? 1992, when the eleven-race season with 33 "podium" spots available saw TWELVE drivers ascend the podium, aided by single appearances by four drivers not regularly competing in the series!

While Champion Paul Gentilozzi not surprisingly led in most 1998 Trans-Am statistical categories, he DID NOT LEAD in all of them!

Gentilozzi led in race wins (7) over Bill Saunders and Brian Simo (two apiece) and Lou Gigliotti and Stuart Hayner with one apiece.

Paul led in Top Three "Podium" Finishes with EIGHT over Brian Simo with six!

Brian Simo led in Top Five Finishes with NINE over Gentilozzi and Neville with eight apiece.

Neville led in Top Ten Finishes with TWELVE; Gentilozzi, Miller IV, and Simo each took eleven.

Gentilozzi led in poles won with NINE over Simo with two and Michael Lewis with one.

Gentilozzi took NINE Fast Lap honors, Stuart Hayner three, Brian Simo 1!

Rookie Neville posted the best average finishing position at 5.62 over Gentilozzi at 6.46.

Gentilozzi posted the best average starting position, 1.69, with Simo's 2.62 ranking second.

Neville achieved the best Lap-Completion Percentage, 99.55%, with Miller second at 98.96% and Gentilozzi and Ross Thompson tied for third at 98.52%!

Neville led in in Lead-Lap Finishes with ELEVEN over TEN apiece for Miller and Simo.

Gentilozzi led in Laps Led (438) and Laps Led Percentage (64.99%) over Brian Simo (173, 25.67%).

Chris Neville led the Rookies in Races with Leading Rookie Finish (SIX) over Bruce Qvale's four and Ross Thompson's three.

Qvale and Thompson posted the best overall finishes by rookies (Qvale second twice, Thompson second once). Qvale also posted a third-place finish while Neville achieved three third-place finishes, Thompson one.

Dario Franchitti (KOOL Team Green Reynard 98I-Honda-Firestone) took his third 1998 CART Fed Ex Champ Car win with victory in the inaugural Houston Grand Prix!

Only champion Alessandro Zanardi, with six wins, has more 1998 victories in the series!

Zanardi won the first four 1998 "street or temporary circuit" events before Franchitti won at Vancover and Houston; the Surfers Paradise event is the seventh and final "street or temporary circuit" event of 1998, on October 18.

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Series General
Drivers Dale Earnhardt , Jeff Gordon , Bobby Labonte , Dario Franchitti , Brian Simo , Paul Gentilozzi , Stuart Hayner , Lou Gigliotti , Michael Lewis , Mike Borkowski , Stu Hayner , Ross Thompson , Mark Martin