ARA RaceFacts Bulletin 98-09-06

AUTO RACING ANALYSIS RACEFACTS BULLETIN SEPTEMBER 6, 1998 Jeff Gordon's victory (DuPont Hendrick Chevrolet Monte Carlo) in the Darlington Pepsi Southern 500 NASCAR Winston Cup race was his tenth victory of 1998 and came in race ...



Jeff Gordon's victory (DuPont Hendrick Chevrolet Monte Carlo) in the Darlington Pepsi Southern 500 NASCAR Winston Cup race was his tenth victory of 1998 and came in race #24, ahead of the pace Jeff set in 1997 when he took his tenth win in race #25, September 14 at New Hampshire. When Jeff won ten races in 1996, he scored his tenth victory in race #27 (September 29 at North Wilkesboro). Jeff's pace is still behind the "modern era" season victory recordholding pace of Richard Petty in 1975; King Richard took his tenth win in race #22, eleventh win in race #23, twelfth win in race #25, and thirteenth win in race #28.

Gordon won in a Chevrolet Monte Carlo in NASCAR on Saturday night as well; Tracy Gordon, that is, in the CertainTeed Chevrolet Monte Carlo in Thunder Road's Jiffy Lube 150 NASCAR Busch Grand National North event. The victory was Tracy Gordon's first in the series. Tracy Gordon was the 1997 BGN North Raybestos Rookie of the Year and ranked fourteenth in points. Tracy won the 1991 Oxford Plains NASCAR Winston Racing Series Late Model title after taking runnerup honors in 1989. In 1994 he contested the American-Canadian Tour (ACT), winning at Beech Ridge and Oxford Plains en route to the runnerup spot in the championship. In 1996 Tracy won NEPSA Pro Stock series events at Unity and Oxford.

Dario Franchitti (Team Kool Green Reynard 98I-Honda-Firestone) took his second consecutive CART Fed Ex series 1998 win with his victory at Vancouver Sunday. Dario became the second driver in CART (1979-1998) history to "open" his victory account with two consecutive victories; Greg Moore was the first to achieve the feat when he did so in 1997. The feat of "opening" one's victory list with two consecutive victories was accomplished several times in pre-WWII national championship racing; in post-WWII national championship racing, the feat haD been achieved four times prior to Moore's accomplishment. Bill Holland's first two victories came in consecutive races, June 8, 1947 at Milwaukee and June 22 at Langhorne. Rodger Ward's first two wins were consecutive, June 7, 1953 at Milwaukee and June 21 at the Illinois Fairgrounds (Springfield). In 1971, Mark Donohue's first two wins were consecutive, coming in the July 3, 1971 Pocono 500 and the July 18 Michigan (MIS) 200. In 1973, Wally Dallenbach established the all-time national championship racing mark Dario will be aiming to tie in the next CART event, at Laguna Seca: "opening" a career victory account with three consecutive wins. Wally won the August 12, 1973 Milwaukee 200; he then won the next event, his 100-mile qualifier (for the Ontario 500) at Ontario on August 26, 1973 (the field was split for the qualifying races). Wally then won the September 2, 1973 Ontario 500.

Dick Trickle (Schneider Transport Shoemaker Chevrolet Monte Carlo) won Saturday's Darlington Dura Lube 200 NASCAR Busch Grand National event, maintaining his record of being the oldest driver to win a BGN event. Dick was born October 27, 1941 and his Saturday win came less than two months short of his 57th birthday. His first BGN win came on March 29, 1997 at Hickory. While Dick has won uncounted "track features" the Saturday win was his 130th in a major "touring series." Trickle's first win in a major "touring series" came May 24, 1970 at New Bremen, Ohio in a USAC Stock Car series event. Dick has won in the defunct USAC, IMCA, MASCAR, ALL-PRO, NASCAR Grand American, and NASCAR All-American series as well as in ASA, ARTGO, ARCA, and on the NASCAR Southwest Tour. Trickle's Saturday victory was his third on a "superspeedway" of greater than one mile; he won the 1990 "Winston Open" at Charlotte and the 1991 ARCA race at Atlanta.

Two CART titles were clinched on Sunday as Alessandro Zanardi won the 1998 Fed Ex Championship with a fourth-place Vancouver finish and Cristiano DaMatta (Medley/LCI Tasman) clinched the 1998 Dayton Indy Lights title with a win at Vancouver. DaMatta's victory was his second consecutive and fourth of 1998; he won at Long Beach and Nazareth consecutively early in the year and has now won consecutively at Trois Rivieres and Vancouver. DaMatta was the 1993 Brazilian FF1600 Champion and 1994 Brazilian Formula 3 champion. In 1995 he contested the British Formula 3 series with the West Surrey team in their Mugen Honda-powered Dallara F395; he won at Oulton Park and finished eighth in points. Cristiano drove for the Pacific team in 1996's Formula 3000 series and placed eighth in points, achieving a best finish of fourth on the famous Pau street circuit; he also posted fifths at Enna and Magny-Cours and achieved six Top Ten finishes. In 1997 Cristiano competed in the Indy Lights series, winning three races (Nazareth, Vancouver, and Laguna Seca) en route to third in points.

The most competitive race of the 1998 ISRS (International Sports Racing Series) season was held at the Nurburgring on Sunday. The race was won by only 8.92 seconds by the JB Giesse Ferrari 333SP of Emmanuel Collard and Vincenzo Sospiri over the BMW Team Rafanelli BMW-powered R & S Mk 3 of Steve Soper and Hans Stuck. The second Rafanelli BMW entry of Didier DeRadigues and Bill Auberlen finished third, a lap down. A Ford-powered R & S Mk 3 finished fourth and a Chevrolet-powered R & S Mk 3 finished fifth, the top five finishers (equivalent to USRRC Can-Am or PSCR WSC entries) within three laps of each other. The victory was the fifth consecutive for Collard and Sospiri, now the series' point leaders over Didier Theys and Fredy Lienhard, winners of the series' first 1998 event but retirees at Nurburgring after Theys led early in the race. Vincenzo Sospiri was 1997's only first-time front-row sitter for the Indianapolis 500 and led the Dallara and Goodyear runners. In six 1997 IRL starts he finished second at New Hampshire by less than a second to Robbie Buhl (after leading a lap and setting Fast Lap), sixth at Pikes Peak Raceway and ninth at Texas Motor Speedway. Sospiri will replace P.J. Jones in Dan Gurney's AAR Toyota CART team for the Laguna Seca and California Speedway events. Vincenzo, the 1995 Formula 3000 champion, ranked fourth in 1994 and seventh in 1993 F3000 points. Sospiri was the winner of the 1988 Brands Hatch Formula Ford Festival and runnerup in 1990 European Formula GM Lotus points.


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Series General
Drivers Wally Dallenbach , Jeff Gordon , Dick Trickle , Didier Theys , Robbie Buhl , Dario Franchitti , Emmanuel Collard , Fredy Lienhard , Bill Auberlen , Dan Gurney , Richard Petty , P.J. Jones , Rodger Ward , Steve Soper , Vincenzo Sospiri , Greg Moore , Mark Donohue