NAPA AutoCare 500 Saturday Notebook By Shawn A. Akers MARTINSVILLE, Va. (Sept. 26, 1998) Some notes and quotes Saturday leading up to Sunday's NASCAR Winston Cup Series NAPA AutoCare 500 at Martinsville Speedway: Rich Bickle and the No....
NAPA AutoCare 500 Saturday Notebook By Shawn A. Akers
MARTINSVILLE, Va. (Sept. 26, 1998) Some notes and quotes Saturday leading up to Sunday's NASCAR Winston Cup Series NAPA AutoCare 500 at Martinsville Speedway:
Rich Bickle and the No. 98 Thorn Apple Valley Ford team haven't had a whole lot to cheer about this season. But when they come to Martinsville, there's always reason to be optimistic, considering the way Bickle performs there.
Bickle, who won last year's NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series race at Martinsville, qualified 11th in the spring Goody's 500 at the .526-mile oval. He'll start Sunday's race from the fourth position, his second-best Bud Pole Qualifying effort of the year.
"In everything I've been in here, we've run strong," said Bickle, who said Friday it's not certain that he'll be back with Cale Yarborough Motorsports next season. "We sat on the pole here with my All-Pro car, and I relate this place back to a race track back home in Lake Geneva, Wis...I just learned how to race on a tight race track like that. I think finesse has a lot to do with it. If I would have had a little bit more finesse (Friday), I think we could have had the pole because I got into three too hard and locked up the rear brakes and slid all the way through the corner."
Bickle's best finish in 16 starts this season in the No. 98 Thorn Apple Valley Taurus is 18th in the Goody's 500 at Bristol Motor Speedway.
Dennis Setzer is pulling double duty at Martinsville this weekend. After racing the No. 29 Mopar Dodge in the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series NAPA 250 on Saturday, Setzer will once again pilot the No. 13 Elliott-Marino FIRSTPLUS Financial Ford on Sunday.
Setzer will start from the outside of row seven on Sunday, alongside Mark Martin after a solid Bud Pole Qualifying run Friday.
The FirstPlus Financial team has announced that Ted Musgrave will assume the driving duties for the No. 13 Taurus at Charlotte, Talladega and Daytona in the upcoming weeks. A driver for the three remaining races -- at Phoenix, Rockingham and Atlanta -- will be determined at a later date.
While Robert Pressley continues to heal from his wounds suffered at Richmond earlier this month, Musgrave hopes to give the No. 77 Jasper Engines Ford team a solid finish this weekend.
Pressley qualified the No. 77 Taurus in the ninth spot Friday and will start from the inside of row five, alongside Dale Jarrett. It's the Jasper team's third top-10 start of the season, and the Jasper team marks the fifth team Musgrave has driven for this season (he's also driven the No. 96 Caterpillar Chevrolet, the No. 13 FIRSTPLUS Ford, the No. 15 Rescue Engine Formula Ford, and the No. 23 Team Winston Ford after starting the season in the No. 16 PRIMESTAR Ford.
"We're having a little fun," Musgrave said. "We're just going along and helping out some people who are hurt or with certain situations and I guess you could say it's a little bit of fun. Every time I go to a new team to help them out for a weekend, I'll go over all my notes and some of their notes. I'll show them what I've learned and they show me what they've learned."
Martinsville has been a good track in the past for the Skoal Bandit Racing team. In their last three visits to Martinsville with Ken Schrader at the wheel, the team has three top-10 finishes in as many starts.
The Skoal Bandit Racing team went to Victory Lane with Harry Gant at Martinsville in 1991 after he got wrecked. He came back to register his fourth-consecutive victory that day.
Schrader will start Sunday's race from the 18th position. Kenny Irwin continues to lead the Raybestos Rookie of the Year standings with seven races left, and the margin gets more comfortable with each passing race.
The driver of the No. 28 Texaco-Havoline Ford is 26 points ahead of both Jerry Nadeau and Kevin Lepage heading into Sunday's race at Martinsville. Steve Park is 93 points down, but has not been mathematically eliminated as of yet.
The manufacturers' championship standings remain close heading down the stretch. Chevrolet, which has won 13 times this season (10 by Jeff Gordon) continues to lead with 191 points, followed by Ford (with 11 wins) with 183 points and Pontiac (two wins) with 120 points.
Source: CART Online