News #1 97-09-12

NASCARFans E-Mail List It was announced yesterday that Johnny Benson, currently ranked 12th in Winston Cup standings, has signed a contract with Roush Racing for the 1998 season to drive the new ...

NASCARFans E-Mail List

It was announced yesterday that Johnny Benson, currently ranked 12th in Winston Cup standings, has signed a contract with Roush Racing for the 1998 season to drive the new #26 car. Benson will drive a Ford Taurus with sponsor to be determined. Current Benson car owner Chuck Rider will have a Pennzoil-related sponsor for next season, as the Pennzoil sponsorship is moving to the Earnhardt-owned team with driver Steve Park. No replacement for Benson at Bahari' Racing has been announced as yet.

The entire 5 car Roush team will be Ford's including the #97 John Deere car driven by Chad Little (NASCAR Online). Jayski hears General Mills will be the sponsor on the new Roush/Benson Ford team in 1998. I hear it will be Cheerios, Wheaties and Pop Secret(popcorn) in some sort of revolving product deal.

"Johnny is a driver with great potential, only some of which has been realized thus far in his career," said Roush Racing owner Jack Roush of the 1996 NASCAR Winston Cup Rookie of the Year. "He is a smart, fearless driver that shows a great deal of finesse with both his equipment and with his sponsors. He will make a good addition to our team."

"I am delighted to be selected by Jack Roush to compete in the Winston Cup Series for him," said Benson, who is currently driving the No. 30 Pennzoil Pontiac for Bahari' Racing. "I am looking forward to working with Mark Martin, Jeff Burton, Ted Musgrave and Chad Little to help Roush Racing win many Winston Cup championships in the future. I hope some of those are mine." (both quotes from NASCAR Online) ========== With quiet intensity, but with minimal fanfare, BACE Motorsports is moving toward an unprecedented accomplishment -- a third straight Grand National championship.

Bill Baumgardner's outfit won the 1995 title with driver Johnny Benson, who moved up to the Winston Cup ranks and won rookie of the year honors with Bahari Racing in 1996.

Randy LaJoie drove for Baumgardner last year and edged 1994 champ David Green in a points battle that wasn't decided until the season's final race at Homestead, Fla.

With five races left, LaJoie leads second-place Todd Bodine by 179 points. The next two tracks on the schedule -- Dover, Del., and Charlotte -- are two of LaJoie's favorites.

A LaJoie victory Sept. 20 at Dover would be a powerful omen. Benson won the fall race there as a Grand National rookie in 1994, and LaJoie won both Dover races en route to the championship last season.

``We want this championship maybe more than we've ever done before,'' Baumgardner said. ``Particularly in the last few weeks, it's really come home for us. Everyone is quiet and very business-like about it, but we really want this. (Charlotte.COM) ========== From those altruistic folks at SportsCar comes word that the proposed American StockCar Championship for stock-body tube-frame road racers has been cancelled. There was alleged talk at one time of some of the NASCAR owners/drivers defecting to this series. (Autoweek, 9/15)

Mark Martin drove the second half of the Richmond race sans power steering. "I'm OK, it was kinda hard to steer," Martin said after his 25th place finish. Mark trails Jeff Gordon by 97 points in the championship hunt.

Kevin Schwantz, a former world champion motorcycle road racer, plans to drive the last four races of the 1997 Busch Series in a third Ridling Motorsports entry. (Winston Cup Scene 9/11)

Congratulations to Larry and Linda McReynolds on the birth of their third child, Mary Kendall, who was born Sept. 6 at University Hospital in Charlotte. (WCS 9/11)

Condolences to the family of Gladys Rezendes, who passed away Sept. 1 after a long battle with cancer. She was the mother of Craftsman Truck Series driver Dave Rezendes. (WCS 9/11)

ESPN's coverage of the Mountain Dew Southern 500, in which Jeff Gordon won the Winston Million, recorded a 4.5 cable rating (3,243,000 households) according to Nielson Media Research. That marked an 18% increase from last year's race. (WCS 9/11)

Billy Standridge is in the process of building a Ford for the 10/12 DieHard 500 at Talladega Superspeedway, his first event since being released from Triad Motorsports earlier this season (WCS 9/11)

Remember, the world premier of "Steel Chariots", a made-for-TV movie centered around NASCAR Winston Cup racing, will air at 8:00 PM EDT, September 23 as "The FOX Tuesday Night Movie". Cameo appearances by Jeff Gordon, Mark Martin, Rusty Wallace, Ned Jarrett, and Benny Parsons. Randy Travis is part of the cast. Also helping out with the movie were Melling Racing and driver Lake Speed as well as the now-defunct Ranier/Walsh Racing team and driver Greg Sacks. (WCS 9/11)

Tempe, AZ-based Action Performance Cos. Inc. purchased the collectibles business division of Simpson Race Products, announced Aug. 19. (WCS 9/11)

On Sept. 13, 1987, Ernie Irvan made his Winston Cup debut in a Chevrolet owned by Marc Reno and sponsored by Dale Earnhardt Chevrolet. Irvan finished 29th out of 30 competitors. (WCS 9/11)

Mike Irwin (mike@nascarfans.com) NASCAR Fans _______________________________________ NASCAR Fans Website http://www.nascarfans.com

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Series NASCAR Cup
Drivers Dale Earnhardt , Jeff Burton , Jeff Gordon , Ernie Irvan , Rusty Wallace , Todd Bodine , Kevin Schwantz , Johnny Benson , Ted Musgrave , Chad Little , Ned Jarrett , Benny Parsons , Jack Roush , Greg Sacks , Mark Martin