ARA RaceFacts 98-10-18

AUTO RACING ANALYSIS RACEFACTS BULLETIN OCTOBER 18, 1998 Jeff Gordon (Dupont Hendrick Chevrolet Monte Carlo) scored an "October Surprise" victory in Saturday evening's Pepsi 400 NASCAR Winston Cup race at Daytona. The victory was...


Jeff Gordon (Dupont Hendrick Chevrolet Monte Carlo) scored an "October Surprise" victory in Saturday evening's Pepsi 400 NASCAR Winston Cup race at Daytona. The victory was Jeff's first Winston Cup win in the month of October; his previous "latest in season" win came on September 29, 1996 at North Wilkesboro. Jeff's win was his eleventh Winston Cup victory of the season; it came in the season's thirtieth race. Jeff's 1998 Winston Cup season marks the seventh time eleven or more wins have been achieved by a driver in a Winston Cup "modern era" (1972-1998) season. Jeff is the sixth driver to achieve the feat, but accomplished it at the latest point in the season of any of the seven eleven-win seasons. David Pearson (Wood Brothers Mercury) was the first to achieve the feat during the "modern era" as he won eleven races in 1973, scoring the eleventh win in race 27 of 28. Richard Petty (Petty Dodge) was the next to score eleven wins in a season, achieving his eleventh 1975 victory in race 23 and his "modern era" season-record 13th victory in race 28 of the 30-race 1975 season. Darrell Waltrip (Junior Johnson Buick) was the next to achieve eleven wins in a season, scoring his eleventh 1981 victory in race 28 and his twelfth 1981 win in race 29 of the 31-race 1981 season. DW won twelve races again in 1982 driving Johnson's Buicks, scoring win eleven in race 27 and his twelfth win in race 28 of the 30-race 1982 season. Bill Elliott (Elliott/Melling Ford Thunderbird) won eleven races in 1985, scoring his eleventh win in race 27 of the 28-race 1985 season. Dale Earnhardt (RCR Chevrolet) was the most recent driver to score eleven wins in a season, achieving the feat in 1987. Dale raced to his eleventh win earliest of any of the seven eleven-win or better seasons, scoring victory eleven in race 22 of the 29-race 1987 season but failing to win thereafter in 1987. Jeff Gordon now has 40 career Winston Cup wins, tied for thirteenth-ranking all-time with Bill Elliott and Tim Flock. Rusty Wallace was the most recent driver prior to Gordon to reach the 40-win level, achieving the feat April 23, 1995 at Martinsville. He has since won seven more Winston Cup races but is winless in 1998 (except for the nonpoint Daytona Busch Clash in February). Bill Elliott reached 40 wins with his most recent victory, the September 4, 1994 Darlington Southern 500. Gordon's Daytona win ended Ford's five-race Winston Cup win streak and tied 1998's victory battle at 14 each for Chevrolet and Ford with Pontiac having two. Chevrolet won two 1998 "plate" events (Daytona 500, Dale Earnhardt & Gordon, Daytona 400) while Pontiac (Bobby Labonte, Talladega DieHard 500), and Ford (Jarrett, Talladega Winston 500) took one apiece.

Dennis Setzer (MOPAR Keselowski Dodge Ram) won Sunday's NASCAR Craftsman Truck event at Mesa Marin; the win was Dennis' first in the series. Dennis became the 14th winner of the 1998 season; the series has had eleven consecutive different winners in the last eleven races. Setzer won two NASCAR Busch Grand National races in 1994 (July 16 at South Boston, July 31 at Hickory) and placed ninth in 1994 BGN points but his car owner folded his team in 1995. Since that time Setzer has competed in Craftsman Truck, Grand National, and Winston Cup racing on a "ride-hopping" basis. Dennis ranked sixth in Hickory Speedway Limited Sportsman points in 1981. In 1983 he won the Hickory Late Model championship. Dennis ranked second in 1993 NASCAR Winston Racing Series Mid-Atlantic Region points.

Dale Earnhardt, Jr. (AC-Delco Earnhardt Chevrolet Monte Carlo) won Saturday's Gateway NASCAR Busch Grand National event. His seventh win of 1998 put him in heady company, as only Mark Martin (1993) has also taken seven wins in a 1990s (1990-1998) BGN season.

Klaus Ludwig and Ricardo Zonta (AMG Mercedes CLK LM) won Sunday's Homestead round of the 1998 FIA GT Championship. Ludwig is now the co-leader of the 1998 title chase with next Sunday's Laguna Seca race remaining. Klaus is the leader of ARA's Consistent Winners list, having won a major series race every year beginning with 1974.

J.J. Yeley (East Beast Gaerte Chevrolet) won Saturday's USAC Silver Crown event on the Gateway pavement, his second consecutive Silver Crown win as he became the series' second two-time winner (joining Tony Stewart) in its 13-race 1998 schedule. Jason Leffler (Action Beast Ed Pink Chevrolet) won the 1998 USAC Silver Crown title.


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Series General
Drivers Dale Earnhardt , Bill Elliott , Jeff Gordon , Darrell Waltrip , Bobby Labonte , Tony Stewart , Rusty Wallace , Jason Leffler , Ricardo Zonta , Dennis Setzer , Klaus Ludwig , Richard Petty , J.J. Yeley , Junior Johnson , Tim Flock , Mark Martin , David Pearson