Daytona winner, stats

John Andretti's maiden breaker this afternoon puts him in some elite company....he's now tied for 92nd on the all-time win list with his uncle Mario <G>. It was certainly a deserved win, for the ...

John Andretti's maiden breaker this afternoon puts him in some elite company....he's now tied for 92nd on the all-time win list with his uncle Mario <G>. It was certainly a deserved win, for the #98 RCA Ford was by far the dominant car all day. John becomes the second first-time winner this season....the last time that happened was in '95 when Bobby Labonte won Charlotte in the Spring & Ward Burton won the fall Rockingham race.

Daytona's actually been a pretty good place to notch initial victories. In recent memory, Jimmy Spencer & Sterling Marlin in '94, Derrike Cope in '90, and Greg Sacks in '85 snared their first wins here. And besides, John may have the longest lasting distinction....he may have won the last Pepsi 400 in the sunshine.

From the History Department....sometimes we've gotta revisit the past to appreciate the present. I hope all those fans who are constantly complaining about TV coverage were watching NASCAR2Day on the Deuce this morning. That 1978 clip of the Firecracker finish was a classic. Sure, it was nice to see a slingshot again, but it certainly makes you grateful for what we've got when you hear Jackie Stewart calling a NASCAR race....and besides, we had to wait a week to see pieces of the race tape-delayed <G>.

This was also the first win for Cale Yarborough Motorsports. Cale hadn't visited Victory Lane since 1985 at Charlotte for the 500. Betcha he still knows his way around, tho....

Anybody else notice that Jeff Gordon hit the wall at almost the exact same spot as DE did in February?

Rusty Wallace in 6th!!!! On a plate track!!!! Stop the presses!!!!

From the un-asked for advice center....Geoff Bodine needs to chill out. He's not exactly gonna have to beat potential suitors away from the door if he continues to go on National TV and berate his present sponsor. If QVC didn't give him enough money....who's fault was that? C'mon Geoff, you're not endearing yourself to your present connections, and future sponsors have gotta be thinking "That could be me he's talking about!"

That last lap crash was certainly not unexpected....when you have 30 competitive drivers on the lead lap...give 'em one lap...you just know they're gonna try to put 4 cars in a space where 2 is the max. You didn't think anybody was gonna play give & take on that last lap, did you?

As for the money part of todays race, the Unocal Challenge prize will roll over to $45,600 at NHIS, the Winston Leader Bonus will be worth $20K if the points leader can also win next week's race, and that last lap crash allowed Jeff Gordon to hold onto his points lead, so he received $50K from Gatorade for being the WC leader at the halfway mark.

Andretti's win could be worth a lot of money in 1998, tho. There have now been 8 different winners this season, and the Top-10 victors make next year's Winners Circle Plan (worth about $300K for the season). With Cale's team currently 25th in Owner Points after this race, it certainly wouldn't hurt to move up a little more....that's the criteria used for breaking ties in wins if there are more than 10 winners in a season (ask Geoff Bodine).

Sterling Marlin got only his second Top-5 of the year....his other one was here in February. Dale Earnhardt got his second Top-5 of the season....his other one was at Talladega (that other "plate" track) in May.

Streakin....Dale Jarrett has 4 Top-10's in a row. Bobby Labonte has 3 Top-10's in a row.

This weeks elevator....UP: The operator of the week is Terry Labonte (+32), Kyle Petty (+31), Sterling Marlin (+27), and Darrell Waltrip (+20) & Dave Marcis (+20). DOWN: The big dropper (and a new season record) goes to Mike Skinner (-40), Billy Standridge (-33), Michael Waltrip (-27), Jimmy Spencer (-26), and Ricky Rudd (-21).

That last lap melee caused a shake-up in the season point standings as well. John Andretti moves from 27th to 24th and Rusty Wallace from 15th to 12th. Moving down was Jimmy Spencer from 18th to 21st and Michael Waltrip fell from the Top-10 (9th to 11th). Mark Martin looked to be the points leader for a short time (thats why we don't award points during the race.....how many times must we hear "If points were awarded now"....they're not gonna, so who cares <G>), but that final altercation cost him 2nd place....he's now in 3rd, trailing Gordon by 110 points. Terry Labonte (runner-up 2 races in a row) is now trailing Jeff by only 54 points and has leap-frogged ahead of Martin into 2nd.

Next week its on to Loudon for the first of 2 events there this year. It's a 300-lapper and Ernie Irvan is the defending champion. With the points race tightening up, I wouldn't close the book on this season just yet.

                                        Henry@nascarfans.com
  

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About this article
Series NASCAR Cup
Drivers Dale Earnhardt , John Andretti , Ward Burton , Derrike Cope , Jeff Gordon , Ernie Irvan , Dale Jarrett , Darrell Waltrip , Bobby Labonte , Terry Labonte , Rusty Wallace , Michael Waltrip , Mike Skinner , Kyle Petty , Jimmy Spencer , Sterling Marlin , Jackie Stewart , Dave Marcis , Greg Sacks , Cale Yarborough , Mark Martin