Charlotte Friday Winston Notes

The Winston Friday notes Shawn A. Akers CONCORD, N.C. (May 14, 1998) Notes Friday leading up to Saturday's NASCAR Winston Cup Series The Winston at Charlotte Motor Speedway: The R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Company, sponsor of the NASCAR Winston...

The Winston Friday notes Shawn A. Akers

CONCORD, N.C. (May 14, 1998) Notes Friday leading up to Saturday's NASCAR Winston Cup Series The Winston at Charlotte Motor Speedway:

The R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Company, sponsor of the NASCAR Winston Cup Series since 1972, has initiated the T. Wayne Robertson Memorial Fund that will support non-profit organizations in and out of racing. The fund is named for the 13-year head of RJR's Sports Marketing Enterprises, who was killed four months ago in a Louisiana boating accident.

The NASCAR Winston Cup Preview, held every January prior to the start of the NASCAR Winston Cup season in Winston-Salem, N.C., will be one of the sources of contributions to the fund.

Cliff Pennell, president of Sports Marketing Enterprises, also announced Friday that the Preview has been renamed the T. Wayne Robertson NASCAR Winston Cup Preview.

"The loss we suffered following Wayne's death in January will continue to be felt for many years," Pennell said. "He poured an enormous amount of energy into every facet of life."

Darrell Waltrip, Dale Earnhardt and Ricky Rudd lead all active drivers in starts for The Winston All-Star race at Charlotte Motor Speedway. All three have started every one of the 13 previous events held at the 1.5-mile superspeedway. Earnhardt is the all-time leader in The Winston in wins and prize money. He has won the event three times (1987, 1990 and 1993), and has amassed $1,186,000 in the process. Earnhardt's average finish in his 13 starts is 6.8.

Both Terry Labonte and Bill Elliott have competed in 12 of the 13 previous outings of The Winston. Labonte missed the 1991 event, when he finished ninth in The Winston Open.

Elliott, who won the 1986 The Winston, was absent from the race in 1996 due to injuries he sustained at Talladega that year.

Jeff Gordon has won The Winston twice in only four starts. Gordon and Earnhardt are the only active drivers who have won the event more than once.

Three drivers will be making their first start in The Winston on Saturday night. John Andretti, driver of the No. 43 STP Pontiac, was invited by virtue of his victory in last year's Pepsi 400, when he was driving Cale Yarborough's No. 98 Ford.

Rich Bickle, subbing for the injured Greg Sacks in Yarborough's No. 98 Thorn Apple Valley Ford, also gets his initial start in The Winston. Sacks' invitation came as a result of Yarborough's win as an owner last summer.

Kenny Irwin, driver of the No. 28 Texaco-Havoline Ford, gained entry the same way as Bickle. Irwin made his way into the field by virtue of Ernie Irvan's victory in Robert Yates' car in the Miller 400 at Michigan last June.

Michael Waltrip has never won a NASCAR Winston Cup Series points race, but he is eligible for Saturday night's The Winston as a past winner of the event (1996). Waltrip is the only driver in the history of the event to have come from The Winston Open to win The Winston.

Waltrip finished in the final transfer spot in The Winston Open that year, and therefore started from the rear, 20th. Five drivers advanced from The Winston Open in 1996.

Geoff Bodine will also participate in Saturday night's race as a past winner (1994). Sterling Marlin, who hasn't won a race to qualify for automatic eligibility, is eligible due to the field not being completely filled with eligible drivers. Marlin is the last of the rest to post a victory, having won the 1996 Winston 500 at Talladega.

There have been nine different winners of The Winston Open. Buddy Baker was the first in 1987, when he drove his Crisco Oldsmobile to victory by 0.36 seconds over Lake Speed.

Friday's beginning order for the two "No Bull 25" races, to set the field for The Winston Open, were determined by times in the final Winston Open practice session Friday afternoon. Jeremy Mayfield started from the pole for the first "No Bull 25," while Joe Nemechek, second-fastest in practice Friday afternoon, started from the pole in the second race.

Mike Skinner, driving the No. 31 Lowe's Chevrolet for the first time since he was injured in an accident in the Texas 500 at Texas Motor Speedway on April 5, will run a specially-designed Chevrolet Monte Carlo during The Winston weekend to help kick off the campaign to publicize the

1999 Special Olympics World Summer Games. Lowe's Home Improvement Warehouse, the primary sponsor of Skinner's Chevrolet, is a gold sponsor of the Special Olympics World Games, which will be held June 26-July 4, 1999, in the Raleigh-Durham-Chapel Hill, N.C., area.

The blue and white car Skinner will drive will feature the debut of the World Games logo.

Source: NASCAR Online

From jackd@metrics.com Fri May 15 22:35:57 1998 Received: from localhost (jackd@localhost) by omega.metrics.com (8.8.8/8.8.8) with SMTP id WAA20317 for <press@motorsport.com>; Fri, 15 May 1998 22:35:56 -0400 (EDT) Date: Fri, 15 May 1998 22:35:56 -0400 (EDT) From: Jack Durbin <jackd@metrics.com> To: press <press@motorsport.com> Subject: NASCAR: Nazareth Eanrhardt, Jr. - a veteran? Message-ID: <Pine.BSI.3.95.980515223427.19959B-100000@omega.metrics.com> MIME-Version: 1.0 Content-Type: TEXT/PLAIN; charset=US-ASCII Status: RO X-Status:

Earnhardt Jr. runs like a veteran

NAZARETH, Pa. (May 15, 1998) Dale Earnhardt Jr. hasn't shown much of his inexperience this season in the NASCAR Busch Series Grand National Division, but on Sunday he'll have his eighth opportunity to overcome a new race track when he runs the First Union 200 at Nazareth Speedway.

Earnhardt is third in the NASCAR Busch Series point standings, despite seeing seven of the first 10 race tracks he's been on this season for the first time as a competitor. Earnhardt and his ACDelco Chevrolet team tried to ease that burden with a test session at Nazareth's tricky one-mile layout earlier this month, but they were rained out after only 10 laps on the track.

"I am looking forward to getting back to Nazareth," Earnhardt said. "I'm ready to get on the track and get some practice in so I can get used to the track with some more cars on it."

In his seven previous superspeedway starts this season, Earnhardt's record has been impressive, with starts of third, sixth, eighth, a provisional 37th at Darlington Raceway, 16th at Texas Motor Speedway, fourth and 16th again at New Hampshire International Speedway last weekend. He has finished in the top-10 four times in those races, including his victory at Texas in the Coca-Cola 300 and a second-place showing at Las Vegas Motor Speedway in the Sam's Town Las Vegas 300.

Earnhardt's team, led by veteran crew chief Tony Eury, has managed to minimize its problems and rebound effectively when they crop up. At New Hampshire, the team had to change a faulty carburetor during the race and lost only one lap and still finished 10th. That, more than anything, has enabled to trail point leader Mike McLaughlin by only 30 points heading into round 11 of the 31-race season.

The team knows it has a good package for Nazareth, a strangely-shaped oval with five corners and several elevation and camber changes.

"Last year this ACDelco team was leading the race and they blew up," Earnhardt said, referring to 1997 driver and Raybestos Rookie of the Year Steve Park. "I think that they have the setup. I just need to get some seat time and go and win this race for this team.

"This track is pretty weird. It's a real timing facility -- you just have to get your timing right and hit the turns in the right spot to get around this track. It is a real driver's track."

And so far this season, Earnhardt has proven he is a real driver. Source: NASCAR Online

Be part of something big

Write a comment
Show comments
About this article
Series NASCAR Cup
Drivers Dale Earnhardt , Dale Earnhardt Jr. , John Andretti , Rich Bickle , Bill Elliott , Jeff Gordon , Ernie Irvan , Darrell Waltrip , Terry Labonte , Jeremy Mayfield , Michael Waltrip , Steve Park , Mike Skinner , Joe Nemechek , Sterling Marlin , Mike McLaughlin , Robert Yates , Greg Sacks , Buddy Baker , Cale Yarborough