Darlington Friday notes




CALE YARBOROUGH (Team owner, #98 RCA DSS Ford) -- (Yarborough, winner of five Mountain Dew Southern 500 races at Darlington, is being honored with a commemorative ticket for Busch Pole Day on Friday, Sept. 1, during Mountain Dew Southern 500 weekend. Yarborough becomes the second honoree in "The Legends of Darlington" series. David Pearson was the first honoree.)

"It's a real honor to have my racing at Darlington commemorated like this. Thank you very much."


CALE YARBOROUGH (Team Owner, #98 RCA DSS Ford) -- We're very excited about our future and the future of Cale Yarborough Motorsports with Jeremy Mayfield. We've just got to get him some time in the car because I feel he has a very bright future. We're happy to have the RCA DSS sponsorship. It means a lot to our program.


RICK MAST (#1 Skoal Racing Ford) -- (Hit the wall between turns three and four in afternoon practice.) I don't know... We had been running just a half a lap every time we went out. It felt like it had a flat tire. Finally, we tried a whole lap, and it turned right around in turn three.


NOTE: Twenty NASCAR Winston Cup drivers and other NASCAR personalities helped make the inaugural Darlington Spelling Bee that was held Friday night at Darlington Country Club a rousing success. The affair, which was coordinated by Darlington Raceway and the Darlington County Chamber of Commerce, raised more than $11,000 to benefit Darlington Junior Achievement and other Darlington educational programs. Twenty "teams," comprised of local businesses that purchased tables, plus one NASCAR personality per team, participated in the event. NASCAR Winston Cup drivers on hand included seven-time champion Dale Earnhardt, Geoff Bodine, Ricky Rudd, Derrike Cope, Dick Trickle, Ted Musgrave, Darrell Waltrip, Jimmy Spencer, Jeff Gordon, Ken Schrader, Dale Jarrett, Steve Grissom, Robert Pressley and Todd Bodine; Busch Series competitors included defending champion David Green and Shawna Robinson; and NASCAR personalities included Ned Jarrett, David Pearson and Dr. Jerry Punch; and True Value Dodge IROC driver Tommy Kendall. The event was emceed by former Winston Cup driver and TV commentator Benny Parsons, assisted by local radio personality Tom Kinard, who is also Darlington Raceway's track announcer. A live auction and silent auction of driver paraphernalia was also held.


The final appeal hearing for NASCAR Winston Cup car owner Junior Johnson relating to a fine originally levied during Speedweeks '95 at Daytona was held recently in Florida with Semon E. Knudsen, National Commissioner of the National Association for Stock Car Auto Racing, choosing to raise Johnson's fine $5,000.

NASCAR originally fined Johnson $45,000. Crew chief Mike Beam was fined $100 and placed on idefinite probation for infractions found regarding the insert portion of the team's intake manifold before first-round qualifying for the Daytona 500 on Feb. 11.

Johnson appealed that decision to the National Stock Car Racing Commission, which reduced the penalty to $35,000. Beam's fine was left at $100 and his indefinite probation was reduced to the next four races which, at the time of the hearing, would take him through the Food City 500 next week in Bristol, Tenn. Johnson was also placed on a four-race probation.

Johnson appealed that decision to Knudsen, the final appeal in the process. The penalty was raised $5,000 from the Commission's decision, to $40,000. The probations were left intact and will end next week after the Bristol event.


JEFF GORDON (#24 DuPont Automotive Finishes Chevrolet) -- The lap was just a little faster than what we ran in practice. I had hoped, actually, to pick up a little more than that. I was pretty nervous, waiting. I thought there were some guys who would run quicker. Sterling (Marlin) ran faster than we did in practice and there were rumors of others running fast. You never know what Mark Martin might pull off, or the #28 (Dale Jarrett) or some others. I really didn't know what was going to happen as far as the pole. I didn't think going out as early as we did that it would hold up. It worked out.

(IS WINNING THE POLE, IN RECORD TIME, SATISFYING?) -- I guess the ego around the garage area is that you're not a real race car driver until you've won at Darlington. That's something I would love to add to my resume. I believe it as much as anybody else. You might get the car pretty good, but the driver still has to take care because it's an egg-shaped track. The shape hasn't changed, but the surface has. You're not going to get a car that's perfect in one corner and perfect in the other. You might get one that's pretty decent in turns one and two and good in three and four or vice versa. You're never going to get a car that's perfect all the way around this race track. I guess we came as close as anybody today. The car still wasn't just right. We were a little bit tight in (turns) one and two, but we were really good in three and four.

(THE TOP THREE QUALIFIERS ARE YOUR HENDRICK RACING TEAMMATES) -- (Team owner) Rick (Hendrick) is having a great year, we're having a good year and Rick is having a pretty awesome year. This is probably the best ever combination he's had. We've got Kenny Schrader with a lot of experience and a lot of talent. We've got Terry Labonte who is consistent and smooth as ever and never misses. I just like to drive it in too deep all the time. It's a great combination. He's got all the resources to have a great race team -- whether it's one car or three cars. The team can put great race cars on track and they're proving it right now. The difference in my car and Terry's car and Schrader's car are just little things. The cars are all very, very close so the drivers get to show what they can do with the car. That's just the way it is. Great cars and three great drivers. We build our own engines and our own chassis and it's paying off for us right now with this new Chevrolet Monte Carlo.

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About this article
Series NASCAR Cup
Drivers Dale Earnhardt , Derrike Cope , Jeff Gordon , Dale Jarrett , Terry Labonte , Jeremy Mayfield , Dick Trickle , Todd Bodine , Ken Schrader , Jimmy Spencer , Shawna Robinson , Robert Pressley , Ted Musgrave , David Green , Ned Jarrett , Benny Parsons , Cale Yarborough , Mark Martin , David Pearson , Tommy Kendall