TRUE VALUE FIREBIRD IROC ROUND TWO TALLADEGA SUPERSPEEDWAY -- SATURDAY, APRIL 27, 1996 RACE NOTES -- AT FIRST RED FLAG MARK MARTIN (No. 8 Bright Blue, NASCAR Winston Cup Series) -- Well, we just had an accident. Somebody got into somebody...
TRUE VALUE FIREBIRD IROC ROUND TWO TALLADEGA SUPERSPEEDWAY -- SATURDAY, APRIL 27, 1996
RACE NOTES -- AT FIRST RED FLAG
MARK MARTIN (No. 8 Bright Blue, NASCAR Winston Cup Series) -- Well, we just had an accident. Somebody got into somebody and the cars spun out. We were all running pretty tight and we all came together. I'd be racing -- my car's not hurt except the rear end housing's bent so bad that they can't put a tire back on it.
DALE EARNHARDT (No. 1 Evans Orange, NASCAR Winston Cup Series) -- I got turned around so quick, I knew it was gonna be a helluva wreck! I hit pretty hard, but not THAT hard. I don't really know what happened. They said Marlin hit me from the back. I don't know -- I just know they turned me around pretty quick. Well, we haven't got radios and we haven't got spotters so you don't know where anybody is at on the inside or coming up. I was out in front and came down to go under and Marlin said I cut him off -- but I didn't cut him off -- he ran into the back end of me. There is another day and there will be another IROC race.
JEFF GORDON (No. 7 Black, NASCAR Winston Cup Series) -- Earnhardt was leading and I just saw Sterling had a really good run down the backstretch to the inside. He got underneath Earnhardt and the two of them came together going into three. It turned Earnhardt sideways and he come right straight back up the track. I was at the top of the wall and there was two cars underneath me. He hit one of them and that shot me right into the wall. That got the right front pretty good. (GORDON RE-STARTED BUT PITTED IMMEDIATELY.)
RUSTY WALLACE (No. 12 Rose, NASCAR Winston Cup Series) -- I started on the pole and just got drove all over -- drove past. It was just a typical deal where starting on the front row some time can turn out real vile for you! I decided the bottom of the race track was not the place to be so I got to the top. As soon as I did I came down the back straightaway and saw a real fast draft coming and I went to the bottom. It looked like Earnhardt tried to go to the bottom and they all crashed.
JOHNNY BENSON (No. 9 Orange, NASCAR Busch Series) -- It just got a little exciting, a little tight and the leader lost it and everybody piled into him. They had a run on him (Earnhardt) and he come down because he wanted to be in the front of that run -- but it was the wrong time to do it. He (Marlin) was a good five miles an hour quicker. There was no stopping him, I'll tell you that. I thought we were in good shape. We'd led a couple laps and it was early but there's nothing to do now but work on the Pennzoil Pontiac. JEFF GORDON (No. 7 Black, NASCAR Winston Cup Series) -- I was just making a lap to get as many points as I could. I was the last car to come into the pits so I wasn't sure if that meant they were going to put me last so I just made a lap. The car wasn't capable of going up to speed so I just pulled out. The way the cars were falling out I never knew what was going to happen. I just stayed out there for a little while.
TOM KENDALL (No. 3 Yellow, Road Racing) -- I got in the back of the pack and I saw someone spinning down low. When he went down to the apron I knew where he was going -- he was heading back up eventually so I got on the brakes and just braced myself. (AFTER RE-START.) The car was damaged so much from the wreck we just wanted to run a few laps for the points. With them not counting the laps under yellow, I didn't know whether I was ever going to be able to get a green lap in to move ahead of those guys in points, so we just waited until we got in a green lap.
ROBBY GORDON (No. 2 Red, PPG Indy Car World Series) -- I was right there, to be honest with you. Dale and me stuck together from the back and went to the front and he was giving me a helluva tow. I mean, he was weaving through traffic and I was starting to question some of it. As soon as he gets in front he was running fine. I was up high and Sterling was running down low. I think I was in third place at the time and Sterling clipped Dale and just sent him spinning and then he hit Sterling and Sterling hit me and up the chain it went.
TERRRY LABONTE (No. 4 Gold, NASCAR Winston Cup Series) -- Dale was beside me and we were going down the backstretch and he kinda turned left and Sterling Marlin was there and they hit and spun out.
SCOTT PRUETT (No. 10 Powder Blue, PPG Indy Car World Series) -- I was right in the middle of it and caught the tail end of it. All I saw was smoke. I aimed for it and when I got there there was a car going sideways. I just missed it and came through unscathed.
POST RACE NOTES
AL UNSER JR. (No. 6 White, PPG Indy Car World Series) -- It was a tough one, I'll say that. (ON BIG ACCIDENT>) It was pretty crowded down there. I gave Sterling a pretty good push down the backstretch. Earnhardt saw him and tried to come down but Sterling was already in there too far and Dale spun him around. With the rest of the field right there that was all there was to it. Being right behind Sterling was a key for me. As Dale was spinning I stood on the gas to get by him before he came back up the track. I was just real lucky that I was second or third car through the mess. All it really did was pop my tire. Everyone is so equal -- those Firebirds are equal, there's a lot of downforce and the draft's real big. Basically you've got to stay in front of the guy behind you. He's gonna dictate where you're gonna go. Dale wanted to get in front of Sterling and he was already up next to him. I needed a partner because they shuffled me right to the back. Coming off two (on lap of the wreck) they went five wide and that's the biggest vaccum I've ever felt in these cars. We were going right to the front and we were almost there. It's a shame (accident) but it's gonna happen when we get 'em this close and this competitive. I think we had 'em (Winston Cup drivers) outnumbered there at the end and that tends to be an advantage out here. We caught on to the draft pretty quick and Scott and Robby and I worked together pretty good.
SCOTT PRUETT (No. 10 Powder Blue, PPG Indy Car World Series) -- Any one of the five of us could've won that race. It was so close and everybody was right on top of each other. Everybody did a great job -- everybody was tail-to-tail and nose-to-nose. Everybody got to rubbin' on each other a little bit but it was good racin'. Well, the race was just wild, needless to say -- I mean real wild. It's 1-2-3 for Indy Car guys and that's unusual.
STEVE KINSER (No. 11 Purple, World of Outlaws Sprint Cars) -- It (multi-car accident) just knocked all the crush panels -- the inner body on the right rear -- out of it and it just wouldn't go after that. It pretty well halted me and I just rode it out after that. (ON MAJOR ACCIDENT.) Everybody was in a big wad there and it was hard to see with everybody going three-wide. Everybody sorta checked up and I hit Jeff and it was just a big mess.
STERLING MARLIN (No. 5 Lime, NASCAR Winston Cup Series) -- Any of us coulda won. It was a deal where if a couple of 'em layed back and got lined up on ya you were a sittin' duck. There wasn't nothin' you could do about it. It was a deal where if someone got up front it took you a couple or three laps to get wound up. I thought I could block 'em the last couple, three laps but they got by me and we just needed a couple more laps. Terry got shuffled way back and if he would've got back up there we could've pushed back up to the front. Yeah, the Indy car guys ganged up on us a bit -- they had us outnumbered! (ON FIRST ACCIDENT.) I don't guess Dale saw me. He cut across... We was four deep and I was on the bottom goin' in. He was on the outside and he just cut across -- I don't think he ever saw me up under him. Whoever the white car was (Al Unser Jr.) hit me twice going down the back straightaway and he really got us flyin'! We had to be running 10 miles an hour faster when we got to 'em.
ROBBY GORDON (No. 2 Red, PPG Indy Car World Series) -- We had a pretty good race car. When I was running up front I was getting a little loose. Then guys started running in the back of me upsetting the car a little bit. I guess we lead in points now, that's one thing good. Overall, we just had a pretty good car -- we were just unfortunate we didn't pull off the victory.
RESULTS OF ROUND TWO OF TRUE VALUE FIREBIRD IROC XX SATURDAY, APRIL 27, 1996 -- TALLADEGA SUPERSPEEDWAY
Fin. St. Car. Color Driver Status Laps 1 8 6 White Al Unser, Jr. Running 38 2 11 2 Red Robby Gordon Running 38 3 3 10 Pwdr Blue Scott Pruett Running 38 4 9 5 Lime Sterling Marlin Running 38 5 6 4 Gold Terry Labonte Running 38 6 2 11 Purple Steve Kinser Running 38 7 7 7 Black Jeff Gordon Handling 6 8 10 3 Yellow Tom Kendall Handling 6 9 12 1 Orange Dale Earnhardt Accident 5 10 4 9 Orange Johnny Benson Accident 5 11 5 8 Blue Mark Martin Accident 5 12 1 12 Rose Rusty Wallace Accident 5
Avg. Speed: 186.513 mph Margin of Victory: .093 seconds Time of Race: 32 mins. 31 secs. Lead changes: 7 among 7 drivers DRIVER LED LAPS R. Gordon 1 19 S. Marlin 1 8 T. Labonte 1 4 Unser 1 3 J. Gordon 1 2 Kinser 1 1 Benson 1 1