Indianapolis Brickyard 400 - Day 2 - July 31

DAY 2 THURSDAY, JULY 31, 1997 - Page 1 Pole Day Second Brickyard 400 Practice Notes (all speeds unofficial): Track Record: Fastest practice lap turned yesterday by ...

DAY 2 THURSDAY, JULY 31, 1997 - Page 1 Pole Day

Second Brickyard 400 Practice Notes (all speeds unofficial):

Track Record: Fastest practice lap turned yesterday by #88 Jarrett of 178.980 miles an hour. The track record prior to yesterday was set by Jeff Gordon of 176.419 on August 1, 1996.

9:30 a.m. -- Green flag for practice session. David Green, #96, was the first car out, and #16 Musgrave completed the first lap of practice. 9:35 a.m. -- #4 Marlin has posted a lap at 175.871 miles an our, fastest of session. 9:36 a.m. -- #75 Mast turned a lap at 175.929, fastest of session. 9:39 a.m. -- #10 Rudd turned a lap at 176.284, fastest of session. 9:43 a.m. -- #43 Hamilton turned a lap at 176.229, second fastest of session. 9:44 a.m. -- #40 Robby Gordon turned a lap at 176.776, fastest of session. 9:45 a.m. -- #46 Dallenbach turned a lap at 176.301, second fastest of session. By 9:50 a.m., 37 cars have participated in the practice session. 9:53 a.m. -- #28 Irvan turned a lap of 177.704, fastest of session. 9:56 a.m. -- #33 Schrader turned a lap of 176.644, third fastest of session. 9:59 a.m. -- #42 Nemechek turned a lap of 177.326, second fastest of session. Before 10 a.m. 31 Skinner is practicing in a backup car, running a lap of 173.910 before returning to the pits. 10:05 a.m. -- YELLOW, debris. 10:07 a.m. -- GREEN again. 10:09 a.m. -- #88 Jarrett, fastest in practice yesterday at 178.980, is on track for practice, becoming the 51st car to participate in the session. 10:10 a.m. -- #88 Jarrett turned a lap of 178.285, fastest of the session. 10:15 a.m. -- #10 Rudd improves to 176.866, fourth fastest of session. 10:18 a.m. -- #99 Jeff Burton turned a lap of 176.581, seventh fastest. At 10:20 Robert Yates entries #88 Jarrett and #28 Irvan are fastest in session, while Sabco cars #42 Nemechek, #40 R Gordon, and #46 Dallenbach are 3rd, 5th, and 10th quick, respectively. 10:29 a.m. -- YELLOW, debris in south short chute. Green flag at 10:32. 10:35 a.m. -- #6 Martin turned a lap at 176.429, ninth fastest of session. 10:44 a.m. -- #26 Bickle turned a lap at 177.452, third fastest. 10:46 a.m. -- #92 Barfield turned a lap at 176.685 for eighth fastest. Jeff Burton, #99, is now fifth fastest at 177.043. 11:18 a.m. -- #24 Jeff Gordon turned a lap 176.942 for sixth fastest of session. 11:27 a.m. -- #43 Hamilton turned a lap at 177.781 for second quick. Barfield in the #92 brushed the wall in turn 4 but continued, no yellow. 11:41 a.m. -- #33 Schrader turned a lap at 176.967 for seventh fastest of the session. Dallenbach #46 has improved to 176.929, ninth quick. 11:47 a.m. -- #28 Irvan turned a lap at 178.508, fastest of the session. Seventeen drivers unofficially broke the track stock-car record during the session.

Two NASCAR Winston Cup gasmen turned into Indy Racing League fuelers for last Saturday s inaugural VisionAire 500, the first race for Indy-style cars at Charlotte Motor Speedway. Mike Belden, gasman for #24 Jeff Gordon, fueled for IRL rookie Greg Ray at Charlotte. "It was neat," he said. "It s basically the same (as fueling in NASCAR) , but IRL has bigger towers. (would you do it again?) "Yes. They want me back next year." Danny "Chocolate" Myers, the gasman for #3 Dale Earnhardt, fueled for IRL rookie Affonso Giaffone, who finished fourth for Chitwood Motorsports. He also welcomed the IRL contingent at the Race Day chapel service. DANNY MYERS: "As far as fueling the car, I m not going to say it s any harder or any easier," Myers said. "Steve Sharp (the regular Chitwood fueler) stepped down. That s his job, he s done it for 20 years and he let me fuel that car. Then A.J. (Foyt) needed a fuel guy so he fueled for A.J. and that s something he wanted to do all his life. It was sort of a dream come true for two people. Five years ago, I came to Indy second-round qualifying. Some of these guys slammed the door, wouldn t let you in the garage. Then I go to the IRL race at Charlotte and everybody was just as nice, took us on their truck, showed us their motors. Not just that team (Chitwood) but ALL the teams. I probably had no less than 12- 15 guys who had done it offer their help. IRL officials who had done it offered their help. Before we did it,, we heard, "That s dangerous. The most dangerous part about it was not getting hit by bicycles or golf carts. It was really laid back on Race Day. I can t say enough about the people. I got a plan. They said, "Would you like to do this again? I d like to be the first crew guy to do the Indianapolis 500 and World 600. That s something I'd really like to do."

How many vehicles does it take to run the Brickyard 400? A lot even if you don't count the NASCAR Winston Cup race cars. The sanctioning body, Indianapolis Motor Speedway, race teams, car rental agencies and supporting industrial firms all contribute to the need for more than 400 vehicles necessary to hold the race, excluding fans, media and concessionaires. NASCAR alone requires a dozen cars and trucks for its registration, inspection, scoring and fire trucks with the latter doubling for transportation used by inspectors and other officials. Competitors utilize the greatest number of vehicles needed. Each of the 51 race teams need an 18-wheel transporter to get from their shops to the famed "Brickyard". Once on site, they must pick up cars and vans from area rental agencies or loaners from dealerships. Each of the 51 teams entered uses five such cars or vans: One each for the driver, owner and crew chief; one for crewmen who arrive on opening day and another for the race day crew, which flies in race morning. It takes 12 semi trailers and another four cube vans to transport the 2,200 racing tires and special mounting machines Goodyear requires to provide rubber to the teams. The tire mounting staff also must have "rides" from their area motels to the track. Add 15 cars to the mix. To fuel the race cars, UNOCAL brought in two huge tanker trucks and has three cars to move its staff about the area. Four parts trucks carry the special equipment and supplies from track to track. There are also six semis on site who carry the racing wheels and huge pit wagons - "war wagons"- to each track and back to their home areas in the Carolinas. Add to that the vehicles which carry items like spark plugs, ignition system, safety clothing and equipment and you get 366 vehicles before we get to the safety and emergency equipment supplied by the Speedway. Included in this number are 32 track clean-up trucks to correct debris, oil spills and other unsafe conditions on the 2.5 mile oval and are augmented by a broom sweeper truck and six jet track drying trucks that can also blow rubber bits and lesser debris from the racing surface. (or help dry the track in the event of a sudden midwestern rain shower). Strategically stationed around the track are 14 of the facility s fire and safety trucks, each staffed by firemen and paramedics. A stable of 11 retrieval trucks, resplendid in their yellow and white livery, are on hand throughout the weekend, set to move in case of mishaps. The fleet included five wreckers and six "roll back" trucks. The roll backs can pick up and return a car to the garage area which is too severely damaged to be towed by the wreckers. To start the race and pace the field during caution periods, the track supplies two Chevrolet Monte Carlo pace cars specially equipped with flashing strobe lights. Both are used prior to the start to let the race drivers check their tachometer reading while running at the pit road speed limit which will be enforced during the race. The second pace car will drop off prior to the starter s green flag but will stand by as a backup during the race. A final set of vehicles is a fleet of six staffed ambulances How many vehicles does it take? 438, not counting the 40-plus race cars.

Kenny Irwin Jr. came from the next-to-last starting position to win Thursday night s USAC Silver Crown Series DuPont 100, the first of three races at Indianapolis Raceway Park run in conjunction with the Brickyard 400. Irwin, starting 28th after a pinched fuel line kept him from qualifying, worked his way methodically to the front for the victory. Action at IRP continues tonight with the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series Cummins 200 at 8:30 p.m. On Friday, the Busch Grand National Series cars take the track for the Kroger NASCAR 200, which starts at 8 p.m. Irwin will vie for a triple-win weekend by competing in all three events.

When John Andretti won the Pepsi 400 at Daytona it made him the ninth driver to win both a NASCAR Winston Cup and National Championship (or their successors) race in their career. The select group he joins includes A.J.Foyt, Parnelli Jones, John s uncle Mario Andretti, Johnny Rutherford, Dan Gurney, Jim Hurtubise, Mark Donohue and Johnny Mantz. Young Andretti was the 150th driver to win in NASCAR s major league since its inaugural event in Charlotte, N.C., in June 1949. The first Champ car event dates to 1911.

Coming in to the track this morning, IMS public-address announcer Jim Phillippe was stopped in traffic at the Brickyard Crossing Golf Resort and Inn gate. A young man knocked on his window and asked for a ride, and Phillippe obliged. Phillippe asked where he was going and he said, "NASCAR garage." The young man asked, "What do you do here?" Phillippe replied that he was a public-address announcer. "I m Ward Burton," the young man replied. "He was a nice young man," said Phillippe, laughing. "I went back in the garage and talked to him later."

The crew of #92 Ron Barfield Jr., reported after practice that damage to the car from a brush with the fourth-turn wall was cosmetic and the car would be ready for Busch Pole qualifying.

On Thursday night, Ford announced that Taurus will replace Thunderbird in NASCAR Winston Cup competition in 1998. Ford conducted a press conference this morning in the Trackside Conference Room. BRUCE CAMBERN (director, Ford SVO): "It s about 98% complete right now. There s still some work on the nose and tail. We had an idea late last year that the Thunderbird would be discontinued, but the information we had at the time was that it would happen at the end of the 1998. So, we initiated a program...in fact it started during the NASCAR banquet. In March, we found out it (Thunderbird) was going to be discontinued at the end of this year, which put the program in high gear and put a lot of pressure on everybody involved in it."

Post-Qualifying Notes:

--This is Ernie Irvan s 18th career NASCAR Winston Cup pole and first of the season. His last pole came April 26, 1996 at Talladega. --Irvan follows Rick Mast (1994) and Jeff Gordon (1995 and 1996) in earning Brickyard 400 pole honors. --Irvan s margin over second-fastest Joe Nemechek was 53/1,000ths of a second. That s the closest battle for the pole in Brickyard 400 history. Closest previous was in 1995, when Jeff Gordon beat Bobby Hamilton for the pole by .095 of a second. --Irvan is the 13th different driver to win a pole in the first 19 races of 1997. --Less than 72/100ths of a second separated Irvan s lap with that of 25th-fastest Bobby Labonte. --47 of the 51 cars which took time exceeded Rick Mast s pole-winning effort of 172.414 for the inaugural Brickyard 400 in 1994. --Five drivers broke the previous track record of 176.419 set last year by Jeff Gordon. The drivers, in the order they qualified, were Darrell Waltrip, Dale Jarrett, Ernie Irvan, Dale Earnhardt and Joe Nemechek. --Ford (Irvan) and Chevrolet (Nemechek) share the front row. The fastest Pontiac was driven by Bobby Hamilton to 12th. --Nemechek, nicknamed "Front Row Joe", has now qualified for the top two starting positions on five occasions in 1997. His previous front-row starts in '97 are second at Martinsville and Michigan, then on the pole at California and two weeks ago at Pocono. It s his third front-row start in the last five races. --Irvan s best previous start in the Brickyard 400 was 15th a year ago. --Nemechek s best previous start in the Brickyard 400 was sixth in both 1995 and 1996. --Dale Jarrett s third-place starting position is his best in the Brickyard 400, beating his 14th-place start in 1994. --Darrell Waltrip s fourth-place starting position is his best in the Brickyard 400, beating his 20th-place start in 1995. --Mike Skinner, the highest-qualifying rookie in sixth position, made the third row an all-Richard Childress Racing row. Starting inside of Skinner is Dale Earnhardt, who started outside the front row in the inaugural Brickyard 400. --The highest qualifier from a single-car stable is seventh-place Ricky Rudd. Irvan and Yates teammate Jarrett are starting first and third, while Nemechek (highest of the three Sabco cars with Robby Gordon 11th and Wally Dallenbach Jr. 14th) starts second and fourth-place qualifier Darrell Waltrip is also owner of the #26 of Rich Bickle, which qualified 10th. --Ron Barfield qualified 23rd in the second Bill Elliott-owned machine to make his first-ever Winston Cup field. Mike Skinner is making his first Brickyard 400 start although he drove relief for Dale Earnhardt a year ago. David Green is also a first-time Brickyard 400 starter, as are Robby Gordon and Chad Little. --Robby Gordon becomes the second driver to compete in the Indianapolis 500 and the Brickyard 400 in the same season. John Andretti did it in 1994. --Robby Gordon becomes the fifth Indianapolis 500 veteran to make a Brickyard 400 field. The previous four are John Andretti, A.J. Foyt, Danny Sullivan and Geoff brabham. --Seven drivers have now made all four Brickyard 400s through first-round qualifying. They are Dale Earnhardt, Bill Elliott, Jeff Gordon, Dale Jarrett, Bobby Labonte, Sterling Marlin and Rick Mast. --This is Jeff Gordon s worst starting position in the Brickyard 400 after a third-place start in 1994 and poles in 1995 and 1996. He s starting 24th, the same position Dale Jarrett won from in 1996. --Two-time Winston Cup champion (1984-96) Terry Labonte s 31st fastest time and 1989 Winston Cup champion Rusty Wallace s 36th fastest time enhanced the possibility of a 43-car starting field. Per NASCAR rules, one champions provisional is set aside for the most recent Winston Cup champion to miss the show through qualifying. Both have regular provisionals available. Positions 26-38 will be decided at 1 p.m. Friday. Only the fastest 13 will nail down spots through time trials, whether they stand on today s time or re-attempt. Four regular provisionals, based on current car owner points, will get positions 39-42. --Goodyear tire engineers reported track temperatures of 105 degrees at 9:30 a.m., 118 degrees at 11 a.m., 130 degrees at 2 p.m. and 128 degrees at 3 p.m. (Time trials started at 1:34 p.m. and concluded at 3:13 p.m.)

The top five drivers in Thursday s final practice session did not qualify in the top 25 today. The fastest in the afternoon practice were #9 Lake Speed (175.726), #77 Morgan Shepherd (175.514), #29 Jeff Green (175.278, #78 Bobby Hillin Jr. (174.027 and #36 Derrike Cope (173.994). Thirty-eight cars participated in the session. There was one yellow for three minutes for moisture on the track between Turns 1 and 2.

END THURSDAY NOTES

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Series NASCAR Cup
Drivers Dale Earnhardt , John Andretti , Rich Bickle , Jeff Burton , Ward Burton , Derrike Cope , Bill Elliott , Jeff Gordon , Bobby Hamilton , Ernie Irvan , Dale Jarrett , Darrell Waltrip , Bobby Labonte , Terry Labonte , Rusty Wallace , Mike Skinner , Joe Nemechek , Jeff Green , Sterling Marlin , Robby Gordon , Greg Ray , Chad Little , David Green , Dan Gurney , Mario Andretti , Rick Mast , Parnelli Jones , Morgan Shepherd , Ron Barfield , Robert Yates , A.J. Foyt , Mark Donohue , Johnny Rutherford
Teams Richard Childress Racing