Loudon Fri. Afternoon news/notes

NASCARFans E-Mail List On Qualifying at NHIS (Loudon) "(Qualifying) is important everywhere," Ricky Craven said. "It's not the end of the world if you start in the middle of the pack or toward the rear. It's very important. It establishes a...

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On Qualifying at NHIS (Loudon)

"(Qualifying) is important everywhere," Ricky Craven said. "It's not the end of the world if you start in the middle of the pack or toward the rear. It's very important. It establishes a game plan for you, your pit position. You're not playing catch-up all day."

"(Qualifying is) not really (important). Not if your car works," Mark Martin pointed out. "You do what you do. Would I rather start 30th or first? There's no question."

Ken Schrader is the only Winston Cup driver to have four top-10 qualifying efforts at Loudon (fourth-1993, fifth-1994, 10th-1995, eighth-1996). Bobby Labonte has three top-five time-trial laps at NHIS (fourth-1994, fifth-1995, third-1996).

"It's very important to qualify up front," Winston Cup driver Jimmy Spencer said. "(Loudon) is a tough track to pass on. All the Cup races are competitive. I started in the back a couple of times and it was tough."

No Winston Cup driver has been victorious from the Loudon pole. Dale Jarrett, Jeff Gordon, and Martin are the only drivers to win from the pole in 1997. Jarrett has a Winston Cup-high three poles. Martin and Mike Skinner follow with two. (Foster's Daily Democrat)

An Update on the Two Marrow Donors Story

Angie wrote back to me yesterday, and she did some additional checking on the two Mayfield team members who were supposed to be a match for Rick Hendrick. Apparently they were not matched to Rick, but to two other people. As far as she knew, there had been no match for Rick as yet. Thanks, Angie, for the update.

Despite the last-lap wreck last weekend (he was running sixth but then finished 27th) that helped drop him from second to third in the Winston Cup points race, Mark Martin is ready to get back to the positive mindset that he and his team have had all season. Asked yesterday about the crash that took out six cars and hobbled three others, Mark quickly shook his head as his friendly grin faded. ''I've put that one behind us,'' Martin said. ''This is a new one.'' (GVA)

John Andretti: ''My uncle finally got through to me on the phone after the race and we talked for a long time, and reminisced about the '67 Daytona 500. It was a great conversation for me. After it, I felt even better about my victory.'' (JournalNow)

ThermaCell Technologies Inc. announced on July 10 that Ridling Motor Sports Inc. and Key Motorsports have endorsed ThermaCool(TM) Racing Products for use in their NASCAR Busch Series Grand National Division teams. Ridling also stated that they intend to continue their association with ThermaCool through the remainder of the 1997 NASCAR racing season. (NASCAR Online)

Additional Info on Kenny Irwin Jr./Robert Yates Racing

Kenny Irwin Jr. is expected to replace Ernie Irvan as the 1998 driver for NASCAR's Robert Yates Racing team. Several sources indicated Thursday an announcement would be made in about two weeks, possibly during Brickyard 400 week in Indianapolis. Irwin, an Indianapolis native, said Thursday he has made no decision. "Nothing's been done," the 1988 Lawrence North graduate said when questioned about a Tuesday ESPN report about his move to Yates Racing. "Five or six (NASCAR) teams are talking to me," he said. "I personally haven't decided who I'm going with." However, a source said the contract with Yates had been sent to Irwin by Federal Express for his signature. One person close to the situation said, "He's worked hard for this." (SpeedNet)

Per a Hormel interoffice memo, SPAM is off the #91 as of 7/21/97. It was supposed to be announced 7/4/97. Apparently SPAM had spent all marketing dollars for 1997 on their racing program and was not happy with their return on investment (Jayski).

I hear from a very good source that Ron Barfield will be attempting to qualify the New Holland #92 Thunderbird at the Brickyard 400 (Jayski).

"Pontiac is stronger than it has been in a long time," said Petty, driver of the Hot Wheels Grand Prix. "Bobby Hamilton (No. 43 STP Pontiac) can win races at any time. Ward Burton (No. 22 MBNA Pontiac) has won a race before. Bobby Labonte has come in, and his team has won races and is hot right now. Derrike Cope (No. 36 Skittles Pontiac) has won a Daytona 500, and I've won some races. All of a sudden we've got five Winston Cup race winners in our camp. We've gone for years at Pontiac with only having one or two winning drivers in the program. I don't think Pontiac has ever had a stronger lineup of drivers." (NASCAR Online)

The NASCAR Craftsman Truck series rolls into Louisville, Kentucky today with qualifying set for the Link-Belt Construction Equipment 225 at Louisville Motor Speedway. Points leader Rich Bickle will look to equal Jack Sprague's four pole starts and increase his 49-point lead over Sprague when the trucks take to the .487-mile oval for twilight qualifying. The top four in the Truck series standings are separated by only 186 points, with Ford pilots Joe Ruttman and Chuck Bown looking to further tighten the race with their Chevy driving competitors. Last year, defending series champion Ron Hornaday rolled to a narrow .661-second victory over Mike Skinner in the Louisville race. Hornaday, currently seventh in the points standings, seemed to get back on track in Milwaukee last week collecting his third win of the season in the Sears DieHard 200. (CBS SportsLine).

This sounds like an old story but the Charlotte Observer has a story about Ford and the Taurus that includes: "But a 'stretched' version of the Mustang also is under review, a Ford source said. That scenario makes sense only because Ford executives likely have become bored with the Roush Racing and Gloy Racing Mustang Cobras whipping-up on privateer Chevrolet Camaros in the Sports Car Club of America's Trans-Am Series." (Jayski)

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 John Andretti , Rich Bickle , Ward Burton , Derrike Cope , Jeff Gordon , Bobby Hamilton , Ernie Irvan , Bobby Labonte , Mike Skinner , Ken Schrader , Ron Hornaday Jr. , Ricky Craven , Jack Sprague , Joe Ruttman , Ron Barfield , Robert Yates , Mark Martin
Teams Yates Racing