Henry's Talladega rumblings 97-10-12

RUMBLINGS -- TALLADEGA We saw the latest dance move today, the Labonte Shuffle, and there wasn't a thing Ken Schrader could do about it. Terry got pushed to the front by Bobby, then the two brothers duked it out on the final...


We saw the latest dance move today, the Labonte Shuffle, and there wasn't a thing Ken Schrader could do about it. Terry got pushed to the front by Bobby, then the two brothers duked it out on the final lap. This was the first win for Terry in 31 races (since Charlotte last October), and career win #19. He's now tied for 26th all-time, and moves to 7th on the Active Win List. This victory also clinches the #5 team a spot on next years Winners Circle plan.

It took 239 laps, but the _real_ Talladega Superspeedway re-appeared today. We went 188 green laps in May, and the first 51 looked to be a repeat of that event, but you had a feeling we were on borrowed time. It was building and you could feel it coming, but the one melee that took out half the field was one for the books. There just are no one-car incidents in plate racing.

I found Mark Martin's remarks on pit road right after the accident very insightful. He felt they were better off running 3 & 4 wide than in double file. And, at least from the way it looked on TV, he's probably right.

Kudos for CBS. The long awaited change in the booth was for the better. Ken Squier has always been good on scripted pieces, and Mike Joy stacks up on play-by-play with anybody in the business. Using Squier as host & doing the wrap-arounds (race summaries, etc) was right on the mark....and something the network needed to give racefans the level of coverage they've gotten used to from ESPN. Squier has been in this business a long time, and was a pioneer in bringing racing to TV. This may be the perfect spot for him at this time.

Kinda hard to believe that Dale Jarrett hadn't led a lap all year in a plate race. The 13 laps he led today were his first at Daytona or 'Dega since July of '96. If Bob Latford (the guru of all stat-men) passes that stat to the guys in the booth, you can take it to the bank.

John Andretti's gotta be campaigning for an all-plate series. He's got 3 Top-5's this year....all on the plate tracks.

Ken Schrader (4th) had his best finish for Andy Petree today. This was his best run since Darlington in September of last year.

Rick Mast (9th) had his best finish since North Wilkesboro last September.

David Green (16th) equaled his best ever finish.

Kevin Lepage (17th) tied the best finishing position the #91 has gotten all season.

STREAKIN...Ernie Irvan has 4 Top-10's in the last 5 races.

On the money front, the Unocal Bonus will roll over to $30,400, and the Winston Leader Bonus will be worth $40K at NCMS in 2 weeks. And, speaking of $$$$'s, anybody got a calculator that goes high enough to figure how much money that 20-car pileup cost?

Here are your first qualifiers for the Winston No Bull 5 (worth $1M next February at Daytona): Terry Labonte, Bobby Labonte, John Andretti, Ken Schrader, and Ernie Irvan. All they've gotta do is win the Daytona 500! For the record, only 1 of the aforementioned group has accomplished that feat, Ernie Irvan in 1991. If you forget any of these names, don't worry....I'm sure the media will be reminding us a couple times before next year (G).

16 different leaders today...that's the most this season. We had 13 different leaders in the Spring here, and had 15 at Pocono in June for the previous high of the year.

This weeks elevator...UP: The operator of the week is Kyle Petty (+35), Ted Musgrave (+28), David Green (+21), Kevin Lepage (+21), and Kenny Wallace (+20). DOWN: A short list this week, the Big Dropper is Jeff Gordon (-27), and Jimmy Spencer (-21).

Even with the carnage that involved all the points leaders, Jeff Gordon's magic number grows to 6. His magic number vs Dale Jarrett is still at 10.

That big wreck certainly jumbled the points standings....lots of multiple position moves this week. Rusty Wallace (13th to 10th), Ken Schrader (14th to 11th), Ricky Craven (21st to 18th), and John Andretti (24th to 21st) all gained 3 spots in the standings. Ward Burton, who missed the race, dropped 4 spots (20th to 24th), while Jeremy Mayfield (10th to 13th) and Ricky Rudd (12th to 15th) both fell 3 spots.

Next up is The Rock. But first, a rare occurence....AN OFF WEEK. We haven't had one of those since July. It's been 11 straight weeks of racing for the Cup teams, but it'll be amusing to see how many drivers will jet cross-country to race at Fontana next weekend.

Henry Dubret (henry@nascarfans.com) NASCAR Fans _______________________________________ NASCAR Fans Website http://www.nascarfans.com

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Series NASCAR Cup
Drivers John Andretti , Ward Burton , Jeff Gordon , Ernie Irvan , Dale Jarrett , Bobby Labonte , Terry Labonte , Jeremy Mayfield , Rusty Wallace , Kyle Petty , Ken Schrader , Jimmy Spencer , Kenny Wallace , Kevin Lepage , Ted Musgrave , Ricky Craven , David Green , Rick Mast , Andy Petree , Mark Martin