Friday news 97-08-01

NASCARFans E-Mail List It's August already????? Update on Mrs. Irvan: She has improved a little but they are keeping her heavily sedated and is still on a ventilator. (Jayski) Also I read a report where they had cut the oxygen down in the...

NASCARFans E-Mail List

It's August already?????

Update on Mrs. Irvan: She has improved a little but they are keeping her heavily sedated and is still on a ventilator. (Jayski)

Also I read a report where they had cut the oxygen down in the venilator from 65% to 45%, which is an improvement. Please keep the Irvan family and Mrs. Irvan in your thoughts and prayers.

NASCAR BRICKYARD 400 FIRST-ROUND QUALIFYING

1. Ernie Irvan (28), Ford Thunderbird, 177.736 mph 2. Joe Nemechek (42), Chevrolet Monte Carlo, 177.550 mph 3. Dale Jarrett (88), Ford Thunderbird, 177.494 mph 4. Darrell Waltrip (17), Chevrolet Monte Carlo, 176.866 mph 5. Dale Earnhardt (3), Chevrolet Monte Carlo, 176.536 mph 6. r-Mike Skinner (31), Chevrolet Monte Carlo, 176.536 mph 7. Ricky Rudd (10), Ford Thunderbird, 176.184 mph 8. Ken Schrader (33), Chevrolet Monte Carlo, 176.170 mph 9. r-David Green (96), Chevrolet Monte Carlo, 176.149 mph 10. Rich Bickle (26), Chevrolet Monte Carlo, 176.087 mph 11. r-Robby Gordon (40), Chevrolet Monte Carlo, 176.074 mph 12. Bobby Hamilton (43), Pontiac Grand Prix, 176.053 mph 13. Sterling Marlin (4), Chevrolet Monte Carlo, 175.977 mph 14. Wally Dallenbach Jr. (46), Chevrolet Monte Carlo, 175.884 mph 15. Bill Elliott (94), Ford Thunderbird, 175.833 mph 16. Jeremy Mayfield (37), Ford Thunderbird, 175.812 mph 17. Rick Mast (75), Ford Thunderbird, 175.709 mph 18. Michael Waltrip (21), Ford Thunderbird, 175.671 mph 19. Steve Grissom (41), Chevrolet Monte Carlo, 175.415 mph 20. Johnny Benson (30), Pontiac Grand Prix, 175.223 mph 21. Chad Little (97), Pontiac Grand Prix, 175.145 mph 22. Ted Musgrave (16), Ford Thunderbird, 175.128 mph 23. Ron Barfield (92), Ford Thunderbird, 175.087 mph 24. Jeff Gordon (24), Chevrolet Monte Carlo, 175.056 mph 25. Bobby Labonte (18), Pontiac Grand Prix, 175.043 mph

Preview --------------------------------------------------------------

BRICKYARD 400

Aug. 2, 1997 Indianapolis Motor Speedway Indianapolis Race 19 of 32 on Winston Cup Circuit

TV: ABC, 1 p.m.

Laps: 160 Track length: 2.5 miles Race length: 400 miles Banking: 9 degrees Purse: $4.49 million

Qualifying record: Jeff Gordon, 176.419 mph, 1996

Race record: Dale Earnhardt, 155.206 mph, 1995

1996 Top 10 Finishers

1. Dale Jarrett (88), Ford Thunderbird 2. Ernie Irvan (28), Ford Thunderbird 3. Terry Labonte (5), Chevrolet Monte Carlo 4. Mark Martin (6), Ford Thunderbird 5. Morgan Shepherd (75), Ford Thunderbird 6. Ricky Rudd (10), Ford Thunderbird 7. Rusty Wallace (2), Ford Thunderbird 8. Johnny Benson (30), Pontiac Grand Prix 9. Rick Mast (1), Pontiac Grand Prix 10. Bill Elliott (94), Ford Thunderbird

Past Champions

1996  Dale Jarrett, Ford, 139.508 mph
1995  Dale Earnhardt, Chevy, 155.206 mph
1994  Jeff Gordon, Chevy, 131.977 mph

Bradd Parrott, the chassis specialist on the #88, and his wife Mary are the proud parents of a baby boy, Miles Blake, got the green flag yesterday at 8lbs, congratultions to Bradd. Mary and of course proud grandpa, Buddy (Jayski)

STP announced that a second "Paint the King's Car" contest will be held for U.S. high school students in grades 9-12. Last year's contest was open to anyone and generated more than 6,000 entries from all 50 states and nine foreign countries. The winning entry came from Lars Ericksson, a Swedish NASCAR fan, and his color scheme is being carried this season on the No. 43 STP Petty Enterprises Pontiac driven by Bobby Hamilton. Entry forms and contest information will be available next month and will be sent to instructors of more than 24,000 high school art classes. The contest will run until October 31 and, as with last year's contest, the winning entry will be the paint scheme on the No. 43 car for all of next season (Jayski)

Ron Hornaday, taking advantage of a late caution, outraced Jimmy Hensley over the last two laps Thursday night to win the Cummins 200 Craftsman Truck Series race at Indianapolis Raceway Park.

Hensley, who started from the pole, led every lap around the .686-mile oval until a three-truck accident brought out the caution flag on lap 193.

That provided the opening Hornaday needed when racing resumed for a two-lap shootout. Hensley, whose truck was slowing with a flat right-rear tire, attempted to block the inside lane but Hornaday aimed his Chevrolet into the high groove. He made the winning pass as the pack drove through turn 2 and beat Jack Sprague's Chevy to the finish by 0.947 seconds. (WRAL)

Ernie Irvan and Robert Yates are trying to make the best of a difficult situation.

Irvan, recently informed by Yates that his contract will not be renewed after this season, put a positive spin on his lame duck status Thursday by winning the pole for the Brickyard 400 with a record-breaking lap of 177.736 mph.

``This just shows this team hasn't given up and it shows I haven't given up,'' Irvan said. ``The pole means a lot. We haven't had one all year.

``It gives me bargaining power, anyway,'' he added. (WRAL)

Darrell Waltrip, who for so long has worn the look of a punch-drunk fighter about to hit the canvas for the last time, delivered an unexpected left hook.

A crowd of 100,000 cheered the way it had when he wore the crown. A magnificent driver tainted in recent years by noncombativeness enjoyed a rare shining moment in the autumn of his career.

His Chevrolet was faster than that of Jeff Gordon, a handful of the super Fords and any number of young drivers who long ago moved past Waltrip on the track with no hope of ever approaching him in the record book.

``I haven't been this happy in a long, long time,'' Waltrip said Thursday.

He had good reason, posting the fourth-fastest speed for the Brickyard 400. His run of 176.866 broke Gordon's year-old qualifying record of 176.419 mph.

The new standard lasted about five minutes, while a stock-car crowd that booed him for years was ecstatic.

Below them, he hugged his wife, and danced for the audience with considerably more aplomb than after the greatest victory of his career - the 1989 Daytona 500.

''Starting up front is very important because it means you've got a chance to win,'' said Waltrip, whose last tour win came in 1992. ''Ain't too shabby. I'm tickled to death. I haven't been this happy in a long time. This is big. This is going to be the start of something big. I get more excited about this race than I do about Daytona.''

``I think I've got a couple more in me. If things fall into place, we can give them a run for their money............I don't know if we can beat that 88 and that 28,'' he said referring to defending Brickyard champion Dale Jarrett and polesitter Ernie Irvan. (WRAL/Mike Mulhern, JournalNow)

Jimmy Johnson, who manages Hendrick Motorsports for ailing Rick Hendrick, says that the NASCAR operation, the largest on the stock-car tour, will not be dismantled and will, in fact, be expanding in the coming months. Johnson, rebutting a report in the Winston-Salem Journal citing a General Motors source -- said that Hendrick Motorsports will build a wind tunnel near Charlotte Motor Speedway and might start another Winston Cup team. (Mike Mulhern, JournalNow)

Robert Yates might pull a big surprise next season and expand his two-car team to a three-car operation, according to men close to Yates. That would give Yates a fall-back plan if rookie Kenny Irwin has trouble making the transition to the Cup tour. (Mike Mulhern, JournalNow)

Ernie Irvan said that he's still fishing for a new ride, and that he expects Robert Yates to make it official today that he is hiring rookie Kenny Irwin to run his cars next season. ''But that's too much car for a rookie,'' Irvan said. Irvan's time frame? ''I'm looking to have everything in place the next couple of weeks,'' he said. ''But I'm trying to weigh out all the options.'' (Mike Mulhern, JournalNow)

Talking about Ernie winning the pole for the Brickyard, ''It is awkward,'' said Robert Yates, who is expected to announce today rookie Kenny Irwin as Irvan's replacement. ''A lot of things could be said. But after Ernie's accident we started taking more things a day at a time. And we're taking this year a day at a time, and we want to close this thing out with something all the guys will remember as a good time, a great opportunity.

''I would really like to see Ernie and his family take things the same way about Robert Yates. It probably won't be easy. It won't be easy for me. But I made the decision, and it's behind me.

''But days like this certainly give you cause for second thoughts. Anyone with any smarts would say 'Boy, that was a stupid move.'

''But the one thing we can both smile about is Ernie Irvan is here to stay. He's a good qualifier now. He's proven it for several weeks. And he can win races. And the 28 car has the same list.

''I'm sure Ernie will have a good opportunity next year. And I'd always rather race against somebody I know how he's thinking. I know Ernie is one of those guys who likes to drive it in deep and drive it in hard.

''A lot of things in my life led to my decision. I can't back up. I won't back up. But I can stay focused on this deal.

''If this had been just a three-year deal with Ernie and last year had been the last year, I don't think I could have walked off easily. The more poles, the wins we get this year, the easier it is. But I can't really explain it to you why we're splitting, so I won't even try.

''Tomorrow might be the last day we all do anything. So let's enjoy it. We're going to try to kick butt and prove something.

''I worked for Junior Johnson and worked my butt off. But when I left he didn't speak to me for 15 years. I worked with Larry McReynolds and thought we had the greatest relationship, but he left last year and he still hasn't spoken to me. And Ernie may not.

''But hopefully deep down in the long years out Ernie can say 'I enjoyed that 28 ride.' ''

''I owe a lot to Robert and Texaco,'' Irvan said. ''There aren't many car owners in the garage who would have stuck by somebody who got hurt like Robert did. I feel like we've had a great relationship, and in the years to come we'll be able to get along and talk about old times.

''It would be real easy for me to be mad at me, or for Robert to be mad at me, and for us just to go our own ways. But I think we're both grownups.

''Right now there are a lot of options out there for Ernie Irvan, and we're just trying to weigh out all the options and make an educated guess on which one would be the best.'' (Mike Mulhern, JournalNow)

Mike Irwin (mike@nascarfans.com) NASCAR Fans _______________________________________ NASCAR Fans Website http://www.nascarfans.com

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About this article
Series NASCAR Cup
Drivers Dale Earnhardt , Rich Bickle , Wally Dallenbach , Bill Elliott , Jeff Gordon , Bobby Hamilton , Ernie Irvan , Dale Jarrett , Darrell Waltrip , Bobby Labonte , Terry Labonte , Jeremy Mayfield , Rusty Wallace , Michael Waltrip , Mike Skinner , Ken Schrader , Joe Nemechek , Sterling Marlin , Robby Gordon , Johnny Benson , Ron Hornaday Jr. , Ted Musgrave , Jack Sprague , Chad Little , David Green , Rick Mast , Jimmy Hensley , Steve Grissom , Morgan Shepherd , Ron Barfield , Junior Johnson , Robert Yates , Mark Martin
Teams Hendrick Motorsports