Darlington pre-race notes

TRANSOUTH FINANCIAL 400 PRE-RACE NOTES Darlington Raceway -- March 21 JOHN ERICKSON (Vice President/Racing Operations Team Sabco) -- (On decision to put Phil Parsons in No. 42 BellSouth Chevrolet) Phil has done some testing for us in the...

TRANSOUTH FINANCIAL 400 PRE-RACE NOTES Darlington Raceway -- March 21

JOHN ERICKSON (Vice President/Racing Operations Team Sabco) -- (On decision to put Phil Parsons in No. 42 BellSouth Chevrolet) Phil has done some testing for us in the past. Basically we just called him up because he was going to be down here with his Busch car anyway. There really wasn't a whole lot to it. (In an associated announcement from Jackson Memorial Hospital in Miami, John Nemechek, the brother of regular Team Sabco driver Joe Nemechek, "passed away this morning at 11:30 a.m. today (Friday, March 21) as a result of uncontrollable brain swelling secondary to severe brain injuries sustained Sunday" (March 16 in the Florida Dodge Dealers 400k NASCAR Crafstman Truck Series race at Homestead, Fla.). Phil will run the race as Joe flew down to Miami early this morning to be with the family.

PHIL PARSONS (No. 42 BellSouth Chevrolet) -- (On running Sunday's TranSouth Financial 400.) It's with a heavy heart... Anything I can do to help out. I can't express how sorry we are for John (Nemechek) and his family. I know Joe (Nemechek) wanted to be with his family and I would have too. Unfortunately, with sponsors and such, they have to run the race. I'm glad to step in and if Joe comes back Saturday that's great -- I'll be tickled to see him. If not I'll continue to run it as long as they need me to. The car's not running too bad, but it's been a couple years since I've been in a Cup car (on less than a big superspeedway) so it was a bit of an adjustment. I tested at Talladega for them when Tony (Glover) called me. I actually tested one of Joe's cars but Talladega is an entirely different animal. (Crew chief) Mike Hillman and the guys really helped me through the day and we were able to get up to a decent time. We'll think about Sunday now. I just wanted to get it in the show for them.

RUSTY WALLACE (No. 2 Miller Lite Ford) -- (On being fogged-out of landing at Florence Regional Airport this morning.)I had a little bit of trouble getting here this morning. I misjudged on the weather. I woke up this morning, went to the airplane hanger and THEN I called the weather. The weather was down (Fog). We sat for about an hour in Concord and then took off figuring it would burn off. I had six hours of fuel on board so I figured I had no problems. I flew over here and it wouldn't clear up! I kept holding and holding and finally it got to 10 o'clock. I was afraid I was going to miss practice. I had to divert over to Fayetteville, N.C. -- that was the closest place that was clear! I knew Fayetteville had I-95 straight to. They had me a new car waiting, me, (brother) Mike and his daughter Chrissie hauled butt and made it here at 11:30. We missed about 25 minutes of practice and that won't hurt me at all. I think I set an all-time record from Fayetteville to Darlington, I'll tell you that!

WINSTON BONUS UPDATE: Through the wonders of mathematics, the top nine drivers in the NASCAR Winston Cup point standings could be eligible for the NASCAR Winston Cup Leader Bonus of $10,000 that would available to the NASCAR Winston Cup Series point leader if he wins the TranSouth Financial 400. Ninth place Bobby Hamilton is 143 points behind point leader Dale Jarrett. With a maximum 185 points available to the winner and a minimum of 34 available in the 43-car starting field, given the right circumstances Jarrett, Terry Labonte (-29), Mark Martin (-70), Jeff Gordon (-72), Bobby Labonte (-101), Ricky Rudd (-113), Ricky Craven (-135), Jeff Burton (-142) and Hamilton could take the point lead.

TNN TV NEWS -- TNN Motorsports had record ratings with its March 16 telecasts of NASCAR races from Las Vegas, Nev., and Homestead, Fla. TNN's live coverage of the NASCAR Busch Series Las Vegas 300 was the highest-rated cable NASCAR Busch Series race of the 1990s, according to TNN's Nancy Neil, who quoted Nielsen Fastrak. It delivered a 2.8 rating with more than 1.9 million households tuning-in the telecast. TNN's live coverage of the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series Florida Dodge Dealers 400k was the highest-rated cable truck race telecast ever, Neil said, generating a rating of 2.3 with more than 1.5 million households tuning-in.

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Series NASCAR Cup
Drivers Jeff Burton , Jeff Gordon , Bobby Hamilton , Terry Labonte , Joe Nemechek , Ricky Craven , Phil Parsons , Mark Martin