Michigan notes (personal)

NASCAR Fans E-mail List Well, Ernie Irvan came full circle today. At the track that nearly snuffed him out almost 3 years ago, his candle burned the brightest today. Maybe MIS owed him one. He never saw the lead till lap 163, but after the final...

NASCAR Fans E-mail List

Well, Ernie Irvan came full circle today. At the track that nearly snuffed him out almost 3 years ago, his candle burned the brightest today. Maybe MIS owed him one. He never saw the lead till lap 163, but after the final round of green flag stops, he assumed the lead for good on lap 180.....and school was out.

This was career victory #15 for Irvan, moving him into 36th on the all- time WC win list.

Instead of finger-pointing, Mike Skinner should be thanking the quick action of the safety crew. That crash team got to him and had the fire out before the rest of the field had taken the caution. We sometimes forget how dangerous a job that can be, especially when you decide to roll while the cars are still at racing speed.

Hey, anybody else notice that CBS doesn't know Kenny Wallace from Mike Wallace? In the final rundown before they left the air, they put Mike's picture with Kenny's name as finishing 43rd.

Derrike Cope got his first Top-10 of the season today...and you could see it coming. That team has gotta be pumped up with the way they've run the last few races. They've finished Top-15 in 4 of the last 5 events.

Cope is the 32nd driver to record a Top-10 finish this season....there have been 21 different drivers to score a Top-5.

Lake Speed celebrated his return with an 11th place finish....his best since Darlington last fall.

Rick Wilson had his best finish since he was 20th at Phoenix in October of '93....course this was only his second WC start since that race.

Remember last week when I said that maybe Geoff Bodine had stopped the bleeding....WRONG! That 7 car has now finished in the 40's in 5 of the last 6 events.

Terry Labonte is usually the driver that comes to mind when you think consistency, and with good reason. His 39th place finish today is the first time he's been in the 30's since Rockingham in February of 1996... that's 43 races ago. It's his worst finish since he was 41st at the Pepsi 400 in 1991.

STREAKIN....Mark Martin has 8 Top-5's in a row. Jeff Gordon has 7 Top-5's in the last 8 races.

This weeks elevator....UP: The aforementioned Derrike Cope is the operator of the week (+34), Lake Speed (+25), Bill Elliott (+24), Michael Waltrip (+22), and Ricky Rudd (+21). DOWN: The big dropper is Joe Nemechek (-39), Geoff Bodine (-27), Mike Skinner (-26), and Terry Labonte (-21).

Jeff Gordon holds a 46 point lead over Mark Martin in season points, with Terry Labonte falling to third 109 in arrears. Rusty Wallace fell the most positions (12th to 15th), while Cope's good run moved him into the Top-25 (25th from 29th).

Next week it's on to the new Penske Palace in Fontana....and from the looks of the place, it's gonna be impressive. Roger Penske's point man for this operation (Les Richter) knows the sport inside & out....and he's an old linebacker, besides.....so don't give him any trouble (G).

Henry NASCAR Fans _______________________________________ NASCAR Fans Website http://www.nascarfans.com

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About this article
Series NASCAR Cup
Drivers Derrike Cope , Bill Elliott , Jeff Gordon , Ernie Irvan , Terry Labonte , Rusty Wallace , Mike Skinner , Kenny Wallace , Roger Penske , Mark Martin