Michigan Saturday Notes

Miller Lite 400 Saturday Notebook Shawn A. Akers BROOKLYN, Mich. (June 13, 1998) Some notes and quotes Saturday surrounding Sunday's NASCAR Winston Cup Series Miller Lite 400 at Michigan Speedway: "Happy Hour" practice, the final practice...

Miller Lite 400 Saturday Notebook Shawn A. Akers

BROOKLYN, Mich. (June 13, 1998) Some notes and quotes Saturday surrounding Sunday's NASCAR Winston Cup Series Miller Lite 400 at Michigan Speedway:

"Happy Hour" practice, the final practice for NASCAR Winston Cup Series cars prior to Sunday's Miller Lite 400, saw Rusty Wallace and Dale Earnhardt make contact about midway through, resulting in both spinning out and Earnhardt hitting the wall between Turns 1 and 2.

Earnhardt's No. 3 GM Goodwrench Chevrolet was heavily damaged, and he was forced to go to a backup car for the remainder of practice and for Sunday's race. Earnhardt qualified 25th, but will start from the back of the field for going to the backup car.

Wallace's No. 2 Miller Lite Ford suffered only cosmetic damage near the right front tire. Wallace starts third on the grid Sunday.

Older but faster? Not in this case. Jeff Burton topped his older brother Ward in "Happy Hour" practice Saturday afternoon, turning in the fastest lap, at an average speed of 180.068 mph.

Ward Burton was second-fastest in the final practice with a lap of 179.600 mph, followed by Jeff Gordon (179.403 mph), Dale Jarrett (179.283 mph), and Mark Martin (179.247 mph).

According to Bob Latford of the Inside Line Newsletter, Morgan Shepherd became only the 11th driver in the last 30 NASCAR Winston Cup Series seasons to post the fastest time of all qualifiers in Bud Second-Round Qualifying.

The last time it occurred was June 22, 1997, at California Speedway, where Greg Sacks accomplished the feat. Shepherd's second-round qualifying time was 182.927 mph, while Ward Burton's Bud Pole-winning speed was 181.561 mph.

Rookie Jerry Nadeau was plenty impressive himself in Bud Second-Round Qualifying Saturday. The driver of the No. 13 FirstPlus Financial Ford turned a lap of 182.089 mph.

"We were actually thinking last night about sticking on our time (from the first round) depending on what today was gonna do, but today the track was much, much better," said Nadeau, who will start 27th Sunday. "We actually got our car a lot better, too, although it didn't show the last practice session. We were 14th in practice and I just sucked it in a little bit."

Sunday's race will mark the ninth race that Dave Marcis has not qualified for this season. At one time this year, he missed five events in a row.

Marcis is the all-time leader in career NASCAR Winston Cup Series starts at Michigan Speedway with 55, laps completed with 8,776, and miles completed with 17,552. It's the second consecutive race at Michigan, however, that he has failed to qualify for.

Todd Bodine, driver of the No. 35 Tabasco Pontiac, has also had a rough go of it this season. He failed to qualify for Sunday's race as well, marking the sixth time this season that he and his team will go home without racing.

The No. 75 Butch Mock Motorsports team is hoping to "sneak up" on the competition this weekend in Michigan. The Remington Arms Ford is sporting a different look for the Miller Lite 400 -- the camo car is back.

Instead of its typical green, yellow and orange paint scheme, the No. 75 Ford Taurus will be covered in the Mossy Oak Break Up camouflage pattern for this weekend's race. This will mark the third season Mossy Oak Brand Camo has been an associate sponsor on the Remington Arms Ford.

Driver Rick Mast will start 28th on the grid for Sunday's race.

Mark Martin has won at more of the 20 currently active NASCAR Winston Cup Series race tracks than any other driver on the circuit. Martin's victories in 1998 at Las Vegas, Texas and California gave him wins at 16 active facilities.

Dale Earnhardt and Jeff Gordon trail Martin, each with victories at 15 different tracks. Martin and Earnhardt both have Michigan victories while Gordon has not won there.

Source: NASCAR Online

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Series NASCAR Cup
Drivers Dale Earnhardt , Jeff Burton , Ward Burton , Jeff Gordon , Dale Jarrett , Rusty Wallace , Todd Bodine , Jerry Nadeau , Dave Marcis , Rick Mast , Morgan Shepherd , Greg Sacks , Mark Martin