Ford Team and Car Notes; The report cards are in!

2 RUSTY WALLACE Rusty will look to make it two straight on short tracks this season after winning at Bristol two weeks ago for his 50th career triumph...Rusty will go to work on breaking that eighth-place tie with Ned Jarrett and...


Rusty will look to make it two straight on short tracks this season after winning at Bristol two weeks ago for his 50th career triumph...Rusty will go to work on breaking that eighth-place tie with Ned Jarrett and Junior Johnson on the all-time win list with a car that has raced only two times in its history...PC-20 debuted late last year at Homestead, qualifying 14th and finishing 12th...has performed once this season with that coming at Las Vegas, where Rusty started 19th and finished tested this car at Martinsville March 21-22 and were very pleased with its handling.


There have been 7 different winners in the first 7 races of 2000 and Martin would like to make it 8 this weekend ...comes into the race 2nd in points, but is the only one in the top five without a win in 2000...hopes to change that with JR-56, a car that has not seen the race track since a 35th-place finish at Richmond last fall... something broke in the engine and Martin was forced to limp around the final one-third of the event...JR-56 had two other good outings last year, finishing 2nd in the first Richmond race of '99 and 6th in the first Loudon event.


Compton is returning to the site of his very first NWC race...made his debut on April 21, 1996 driving the No. 46 Independent Home Cable Chevrolet... qualified 9th and finished 33rd after dropping out with brake problems after 353 laps...tested here at Martinsville last week with this car, which is the same one he ran at Las Vegas...started 32nd and finished in that same spot, one lap down to winner Jeff Burton.


Had his second-best finish of the season in this race a year ago when he was 14th (12th at Bristol night race was only outing that was better)...after missing two of the first three races, Bodine and his team have turned it around...qualified first round in three of the last four events (16th in Atlanta, 24th in Bristol, 25th in Texas)...has a new car, but with a bad body according to crew chief Greg Ely...he said, "This was the first new 2000 body we made and it was so bad that we just put it in a corner and let it sit. Then we decided to bring it here with the feeling that we'd let it get banged up a little bit and then fix it."


Has strung together back-to-back top-10 finishes after finishing 6th last week at Texas and a season-best 4th at Bristol...led once for 18 laps last week and held the top spot 4 times for 124 laps (only Jeff Gordon led more with 225) at has three top-10s (7th in Atlanta) in 2000 ...will be driving the same car he had here at Martinsville last fall when he qualified 17th and finished 15th...


For the second time this season Gordon did not qualify for a race due in part to rain washing out second-round qualifying...has suffered that fate at Atlanta and Texas...ran one race at Martinsville in '97 with Felix Sabates...started 40th and finished 41st after being involved in an accident on lap has a new crew chief after Fred Graves left the team on Monday...Jerry Baxter has assumed those duties on a full-time basis and knows these cars and crew very well...he has been with the Irvan-Simo team for the last four years and served as Graves' assistant the first 7 races... this car is the oldest in the fleet and has 4 races to its credit...ran as the 14 car last year with Randy LaJoie at Loudon (finished 37th) and with Boris Said at Homestead (finished 34th).


With the exception of Bristol (started 38th/finished 30th), Lepage and his team have been extremely strong the last month...qualified in top 5 at Atlanta (5th) and Darlington (2nd) and is coming off his best overall weekend of the season at Texas where he qualified 2nd and finished 5th...led 2 times for 18 laps in that event marking the 3rd race he has led in 2000...has led a total of 4 times for 27 laps this year, which is more than he led in his previous year-and-a-half as a NWC driver...entering 2000 Lepage had led in two races a total of 4 times for 20 laps...Lepage will be running a brand new car this weekend, one that was constructed at the team's shop in Liberty, hopes to move into its new shop in Concord, NC, around the Easter holiday.


One of only 2 Ford drivers (Jarrett) and 7 overall who has qualified first round in every race this season...has 4 top-15 finishes in 7 races this year, including two of the last three at Darlington (6th) and Bristol (12th) ...would have likely been 3-for-3 if it hadn't been for an accident at Texas last week which relegated him to 31st...Kenseth has a new car this weekend, but it does have some track time after testing here at Martinsville last week.


Has had strong cars but bad luck, especially the last two weeks...was running 14th when Sterling Marlin hit him on a restart and cut the left-rear tire, which shredded and came through the bottom of the car and hit Sadler on the left shoulder four times...a deep laceration and bruising was the result and forced Sadler out of the car in favor of relief driver Kyle spun on the second lap at Bristol two weeks ago and finished 41st...That has offset some solid qualifying which has seen Sadler start in the top 10 twice in the last three races...there are no plans for a relief driver this weekend as co-owner Eddie Wood said Sadler sat in the car Thursday and experienced little pain when strapped in...this car has never been in a race, although it tested here last week and also ran some laps last fall at Greenville-Pickens.


Spencer and his Big Kmart team are showing signs of coming around after last week's season-best 15th-place finish at Texas...that marked the team's third top-20 effort in the last four races...Spencer has driven this car twice in 2000 (Vegas and Darlington) ...crew chief Donnie Wingo said, "After Darlington we decided to turn it into a short track car."...Spencer finished 23rd at Darlington and 30th at Las Vegas.


Started the first 3 races on the front row, but his best starting spot since then has been 20th at Texas...has been solid all year, however, in race trim with 6 top-15 finishes, including last week's 10th-place effort...comes into this race 7th in points, whereas a year ago he was mired in 35th place...Rudd is familiar with this car since it's one he drove last year when it was painted orange and had the number 10 on its side...this car got a workout in the latter stages of '99 as it raced at Martinsville, Loudon, Richmond, Darlington, Phoenix and Homestead...finished 5th with the car at addition to being car 28 now, the chassis number also happens to be 28.


Pruett has made 4 of the 7 races this season, but qualifying has been a case of feast or famine...he has either qualified in first round (including the outside pole in Atlanta and 3rd spot at Texas) or not made the field at all...led for the first time in his NWC career last week at Texas when he moved to the front on lap 4 and held it until lap 17...spun shortly after that and hit the wall, but managed to complete 318 laps and finish 27th...Pruett had never seen Martinsville until the team tested here and he's got a new car to try and make the field with this weekend.


Waltrip has shown true determination the last two weeks as he has made the field on speed after using his four early-season provisionals in the first five races...qualified 13th at Bristol and 30th at Texas...had his best finish of the season last week (24th)...DW has the same car he ran both Martinsville races with last year...had his best finish of the season in this race a year ago when he ran 12th...followed that up with a 23rd-place showing in the fall event.


Dallenbach and his new team have struggled recently, missing two of the last three races...Walter Giles has served as interim crew chief the last two weeks while a search continues for a full-time replacement for Wayne Orme...RotoZip is back on the car this week after debuting as a primary sponsor at Bristol last month...this car ran earlier this year at Atlanta, but was loose all day and eventually got involved in an accident on lap 209 and finished 39th.


Pressley comes into the weekend 27th in points and is only 48 behind John Andretti for 25th...not bad considering this team struggled much of last year and spent all but four weeks in 35th place or lower...struggled last week but got the final provisional to start 43rd...suffered an engine problem in the final 15 laps and finished 26th...Pressley has run this car at Las Vegas and Bristol, where he finished 21st and 17th, respectively.


Jarrett made his NWC debut at this track almost 16 years ago on April 29, 1984...started 24th and finished 33rd that day...23 wins and one NWC championship later, he is back to try again for his first career win at Martinsville...has suffered some bad luck the last two weeks finishing 21st at Bristol (slow tire leak late) and 33rd at Texas (accident)...the last time Jarrett had consecutive finishes outside the top 20 was in the fall of '98 when he was 42nd at Martinsville and 24th at Charlotte...Jarrett will have the same short track car he has had here the last four races...finished 8th in this race last year and was 10th in the fall.


Berrier got back on track last week by qualifying for the Texas race after missing the previous four events... started 18th and was consistent most of the day until a blown motor on lap 275 ended his day in 35th place...his other two finishes include a 37th-place at Daytona and a 36th at Rockingham ...this will be the first time this car runs with the 2000 Taurus actually finished working on the car Thursday...attempted to qualify at Martinsville and Homestead last fall.


After a hot start Elliott has cooled a little bit the last couple of weeks...had three top 10s in the first four races, but suffered transmission problems at Bristol two weeks ago and finished 36th and then ended up 30th last week at Texas after getting caught up in an accident that saw him land on top of Jeff Gordon's hood on lap 112...has gone from 7th to 14th in points the last two races...Cha-ching will be making its 3rd appearance in 2000 after debuting at Las Vegas (39th) and then Darlington (8th) manager Eddie D'Hondt said, "This car belongs on a short track, but we didn't know it until we started racing. Las Vegas is the biggest track it should be on."


Little finds himself in the same spot from a year ago at this time, which is 13th in points...trails #12 Jeff Gordon by only 4 and is 43 points out of the top 10...has posted three top-15 finishes in the last four races, which includes last week's 13th-place effort at Texas...had a season-best 6th at Atlanta and was 15th at Darlington... this car was built last year and ran at Phoenix, where Little finished 16th and Homestead, which ended up in a 39th-place finish after having engine problems 22 laps from the finish.


Burton's 5th-place finish at Texas last week gave him 5 top-10s in the first 7 races of 2000, but an engine problem at Rockingham (32nd) and cut tire at Atlanta (43rd) have put him 6th in the point standings...gained the third victory of his NWC career here at Martinsville when he won the fall race in '97...this car reached victory lane last year at Loudon in which Burton started from 38th position...that marked the 2nd-greatest comeback in NWC history, matching Bill Elliott's win from 38th-place in the 1988 Firecracker also ran here at Martinsville in the spring and appeared headed to victory until John Andretti came out of nowhere to pass Burton in the final laps.

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Series NASCAR Cup
Drivers John Andretti , Jeff Burton , Bill Elliott , Jeff Gordon , Kyle Petty , Boris Said , Sterling Marlin , Ned Jarrett