FT. WORTH, Texas (April 6, 1998) It was a long weekend with little practice for the NASCAR Winston Cup Series teams at Texas Motor Speedway. The Valvoline/Cummins Taurus was good in practice Thursday and had a shot at the Bud Pole on...
FT. WORTH, Texas (April 6, 1998)
It was a long weekend with little practice for the NASCAR Winston Cup Series teams at Texas Motor Speedway. The Valvoline/Cummins Taurus was good in practice Thursday and had a shot at the Bud Pole on Friday for Sunday's Texas 500.
After nine cars ran (two of which hit the wall in Turn 1), the remainder of Bud Pole Qualifying was postponed until Saturday morning so the track would dry. It had not rained, but water was seeping up through the track. Saturday was much cooler and speeds were faster. Martin qualified seventh with a speed of 184.193mph.
"I don't think the race track was in condition to qualify Friday," Martin said. "I'm glad we were able to go Saturday. The weather and the track were much better. I was a little nervous before qualifying since so many other people had wrecked. I just tried to get a good lap without taking any chances."
Martin made his first big gain of the race on lap 31 when he took right side tires and fuel in 9.61 seconds, putting him out second -- a gain of four positions. His Roush teammate, Chad Little, beat him out of the pits to take the lead, but Martin got by Little to lead laps 35-36.
He fell back to fifth as the car tightened up, but the crew made air pressure and wedge adjustments on lap 193 that made the handling much better. Martin took the lead again on lap 249, passing Dale Jarrett. The No. 6 led the next four laps before Jarrett beat Martin out of the pits, despite an 18.48-second stop from the Valvoline/Cummins crew.
The final and most crucial pit stop of the day came on lap 304 when crew chief Jimmy Fennig decided to change only right side tires and add fuel. Martin beat everyone out of the pits and never surrendered the lead. The Texas 500 was Martin's second win of the season, moving him up to fourth in points. Martin is now only 57 points out of first place.
"What an awesome win," Martin said. "I owe this win to Jimmy Fennig and the crew. They won this race in the pits. Jimmy made the right call with two tires and the guys got me out of there. I got nervous during the race because there was a vibration in the transmission and I was just hoping it would hang on. It was a great day for us and now we have a week off to enjoy it."
The next NASCAR Winston Cup Series race is Sunday, April 19, at Martinsville Speedway.
Source: NASCAR Online