BUSCH: Busch Clash 96 starting grid notes

BUSCH CLASH OF '96 (Sunday, February 11) STARTING DRAW NOTES RICK MAST (No. 1 Hooters Pontiac) -- (Starts on pole) I just noticed in the (NASCAR) press release where I have the highest average starting position (of any of the drivers ...


RICK MAST (No. 1 Hooters Pontiac) -- (Starts on pole) I just noticed in the (NASCAR) press release where I have the highest average starting position (of any of the drivers participating in the Busch Clash of '96, 4.67 in three previous Busch Clash events). In the next paragraph I have the worst finishing average. I'd like to thank NASCAR for pointing that out to everybody. I'm happy. I've got a new sponsor, Hooters, and I've got a new car, Pontiac. Make that Pony-ac, not Pontiac! We're looking forward to it.

BOBBY LABONTE (No. 18 Interstate Batteries Chevrolet) -- (Starts 2nd) It's exciting to be back in the Busch Clash. This is my second time here. Drawing second starting position must be dumb luck. I don't know what I did right to get this. If I don't work my way backwards in the first half, like I might do, I'll see how it goes. I'm very excited and I know all the guys at Joe Gibbs Racing are excited because this is their first time in the Busch Clash. Starting second isn't a bad place to start. Maybe we'll end up there.

DARRELL WALTRIP (No. 17 Parts America Chevrolet) -- (Starts 3rd) Starting third is not bad. The last time I won this race I started third (actually, Waltrip started from the pole when he won the Busch Clash of '81). I've got some bad news for these guys. I got a 90-day note that's due Monday, so I'm going to have to go pretty hard on Sunday. It's really exciting to be back in this race. When you're not in these kind of things for awhile, it really makes you realize how important they are -- to your team, to your sponsor, and to the driver as well. It's exciting to be back in it and I look forward to it. (This is Waltrip's 12th Busch Clash appearance, but his first since 1993.)

STERLING MARLIN (No. 4 Kodak Film Chevrolet) -- (Starts 4th) (Asked if he was superstitious after he drew his car number as his starting position.) I got the rental car today and it had four miles on it, and we stopped at a convenience store and the total came to $4.44. We're looking forward to the Busch Clash, and I would like to thank Busch for doing it. There are a lot of guys in it, and it's going to be tough to win.

TED MUSGRAVE (#16 Family Channel Ford) -- (Starts 5th) It's a pretty good starting spot, third row inside. Actually any start in the Busch Clash is a good one. Just to be in the Clash is an honor whether you start in the front or in the back.

RICKY RUDD (No. 10 Tide Ford) -- (starts sixth) Starting sixth is not too bad. It's a lot better than those guys on the end (Earnhardt and Gordon), but at least they drew all the high numbers for us guys. That's a little bit better than middle-ways. We'll take that and see what happens.

KEN SCHRADER (No. 25 Budweiser Chevrolet) -- (Starts 7th) (Schrader covered up the top of the No. 7 he drew and called it No. 1.) A lot of times at a Saturday night race that deal will work. Last year was our first year driving the Budweiser car and that was really special after living and growing up in St. Louis. But, it was really hard to have to watch the Clash -- really bad. This year we're in it and it's awful exciting racing. This year there's so many of us it will be about like a (Gatorade 125) qualifying race so you'll really know how you stack up come the end on Sunday.

DAVID GREEN (No. 96 Busch Beer Chevrolet) -- (Starts 8th) I just want to say thanks to Anheuser-Busch. To be representing the Busch Series for the second straight year is quite an honor, as it is to be with this class of guys right here. I've learned a whole lot down there (at end of table) talking to (Darrell) Waltrip and (Dave) Marcis. Listening to those guys, I don't know if I have more gray hair than when I came in -- that's a lot of stories.

BUZ McCALL (team owner No. 96 Busch Beer Chevrolet) -- (Clarifying statement made by Green.) We'll be running a Winston Cup speedway car that we bought from Diamond Ridge (Racing). We got the motor from Richard Childress and we hired Kirk Shelmerdine (former Childress Racing crew chief) to be a project manager for us. He's going to be the crew chief and the rest of the (American Equipment Racing/Caterpillar) Busch team will be pitting the car. We're 'arm wrestling' with Kirk. We'd love to have him with us but he's still got some rocks to turn over in his own career. He's still actively pursuing a driving career but we're going to try to talk him into staying with us the rest of the week for sure.

DAVE MARCIS (No. 71 Prodigy Chevrolet) -- (Starts 9th) It's an honor for me to be in the Busch Clash. I'm looking forward to it. I hope everyone knows that Dale Earnhardt drew my name as the "Wild Card" entry. It kind of puts some pressure on me because I want him to feel proud when the race is over that he drew my name. I'm looking forward to it. I hope we can get a good finish.

(On new sponsorship) Monday of this week we signed Prodigy as official sponsor of our car for the 1996 season. It'll be an interesting paint scheme -- purple and iridescent lime green.

MARK MARTIN (No. 6 Valvoline Ford) -- (Starts 10th) Well, tradition lives on. Actually, either third or fifth from the back is about the best I've ever started in the Busch Clash. I had visions of drawing number one or number two for this one and then getting humiliated after seeing the field line up and draft by me. I guess that's not going to happen in Sunday's Busch Clash. We'll be back there with a bunch of good guys. We'll just have to wait and see how things shake out.

TERRY LABONTE (No. 5 Kellogg's Chevrolet) -- (Starts 11th) I guess I'm ready. We don't ever count on being in this race since we're such great qualifiers. (Note: This is Labonte's 10th Busch Clash start, but his first since '92.) We're excited about being in it. In testing our Kellogg's Chevrolet really ran good in testing. The only thing is we had two cars. We had the fastest time and the slowest time. Guess which car is in the Busch Clash? We do think we've got things fixed.

DALE JARRETT (No. 88 Quality Care/Ford Credit Ford) -- (Starts 12th) I hope I'm ready to be in the Busch Clash. I'm really just happy to have a starting position. I've watched it and it looks like an exciting race -- I just hope it looks that way from out of my windshield on Sunday. It's a great event, we appreciate Busch Beer's involvement and we look forward to getting back in it for '97. We think we've got a good race car but we'll just have to see what happens. There's a lot of good talent here -- both cars and drivers -- with the experience that they have, but I think we'll have a good shot.

BILL ELLIOTT (No. 94 McDonald's Ford) -- (Starts 13th) I knew I'd draw that for some reason! I'm used to that -- I've been there before (in 1989)! I don't need to go to Vegas, do I? We've kind of struggled through the winter but we've worked through a lot of things and hopefully we'll have a good week this weekend. The Busch Clash gives you an opportunity to at least try a lot of things and see where you stack up among everyone else. We kind of enjoy it. This is a great thing that Busch puts for all the competitors and we're just happy to be back here again and try it again (this is Elliott's record 14th start in the Busch Clash).

HUT STRICKLIN (No. 8 Circuit City Ford) -- (Starts 14th) I think this is my best starting position in the Busch Clash. Of course, it's also my first Clash. We're really fortunate to have won a pole and to get in this race. It's a great race to be in. With all the elite drivers that are in it, it's an honor just to be standing here talking to everyone.

JOHN ANDRETTI (No. 37 Kmart/Little Caesars Ford) -- (starts 15th) I'm just glad I didn't have to take a provisional! I thought the Fords were in bad shape, but this (starting 15th) is really pathetic. I'm just glad to be here, to be part of this race I've watched the last couple years. It's a short sprint race, I've got a sprint car driver behind me (Jeff Gordon) and I hope we can get to the front.

DALE EARNHARDT (No. 3 GM Goodwrench Chevrolet) -- ( Starts 16th) This is my kind of race. It's exciting and I'm glad to be back. I know Bill Elliott and I are excited about having Darrell (Waltrip) and Dave (Marcis) in the race, some older guys to help us out against the younger guys. It's a good race and we're looking forward to it. We can practice coming from the rear (in the first half) and see what we can do. If we can't quite make it we'll know to not make it and maybe we'll do OK in the second half.

JEFF GORDON (No. 24 DuPont Refinishes Chevrolet) -- (starts 17th) I hope this is not a sign of the way things are going to start for us here at Daytona -- in the back! There's only one way to go, and that's to the front, and we're going to try and do that. I went from the back to the front in last year's Busch Clash, but there wasn't 17 cars in it, either. I'll probably be bullheaded and stand on the gas and I'll get half-way there by the second half of the race, and I'll be stuck in the middle all day..

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Drivers Dale Earnhardt , Kirk Shelmerdine
Teams Joe Gibbs Racing