News #2 97-09-10

NASCARFans E-Mail List Kinda slow news-wise, so here's some stories I dug up for you..... Last time Ken Schrader visited New Hampshire International Speedway he drove to the Busch Pole Award, his first of 1997. "We earned our first pole of...

NASCARFans E-Mail List

Kinda slow news-wise, so here's some stories I dug up for you.....

Last time Ken Schrader visited New Hampshire International Speedway he drove to the Busch Pole Award, his first of 1997. "We earned our first pole of the season here in July," Schrader said. "That pole was a big boost to the team. It really added momentum. I hope we can capture the pole again. "When we were here in July, we had a great car and captured the pole. During the race we had a problem with blistering tires. The Skoal Bandit Racing team feels they have corrected that problem and should have a much better race set-up." Schrader heads to NHIS for the CMT 300 for the sixth time in his career to a place where he has qualified in the top 10 for every event, including one pole and two top-five finishes. Schrader and the Skoal Bandit Racing team earned their first pole of the season in July's Jiffy Lube 300. The pole was Schrader's 19th of his career, but his first with Andy Petree Racing. This weekend the Skoal Bandit Racing team will be utilizing the same car that captured the pole at New Hampshire in July. It is named "Bat Masterson" after the fastest and most respected gunslinger of the 1800s. The Skoal Bandit Racing team deemed it an appropriate name since they had the fastest car in July and hope to have the fastest car this weekend. Schrader will be signing autographs at the Laconia Race Festival in Laconia, N.H., on Wednesday, September 10, 1997 from 5-7 pm. He will then travel to Boston, Mass., to spend the day with some old friends. (NASCAR Online) ========== INDIANAPOLIS -- Indianapolis Motor Speedway announced Monday it will build a new Master Race Control Tower to replace the current tower at the historic track which opened in 1957.

The new tower will be designed similar to the present one and the original Pagodas control tower which stood above the Speedway from 1913 to 1956.

The height of the new tower will stand at 160 feet, which is 90 feet higher than the current one. Construction will commence after next year's Brickyard 400, which is scheduled for May 24, and expects to be completed by May, 2000.

The present facility will remain in operation for races over the next two years. The Indianapolis 500 and Brickyard 400 are the two most attended sporting events in the world. (ESPN) ========== Here's a story from the Greensboro News and Record, by Bob Zeller

I'm hanging with Hut Stricklin.

It's a Thursday night on race weekend at Richmond International Raceway, and Hut and I are keeping the economy stoked at a local establishment known as Maxwell's.

Hut's a regular guy, which is unusual when you're talking about drivers in the NASCAR Winston Cup series.

You don't hang with, say, Jeff Gordon. Five years ago, Gordon showed up by himself at a party I attended at Daytona. I chatted with him for a few moments, but I didn't hang with him. I've never hung out with Dale Earnhardt or Rusty Wallace, either.

But you can hang with Hut.

"Maybe that's one reason fans are booing Gordon," said Christine Cramer, publicist for the Circuit City No. 8 Ford Thunderbird, which Stricklin drives. "These people can relate to Hut. And he is honestly good to them. He's one of them."

At Maxwell's, Hut is getting psyched up to hit the karaoke stage. He is drinking water, probably to coat a dry throat. The disc jockey announces, "And now, HEEEEERE's Hut Stricklin!!!

Stricklin, wearing a white shirt and jeans, jumps on stage, takes the microphone, and begins to belt out "At This Moment,' a song by Billy Vera and the Beaters.

"If I could just hold you ... " he sings.

Stricklin has been doing this since 1992, and he's pretty darn good. A few flashbulbs pop as he sings. He gets a rousing ovation as he comes off stage.

"I guess I started when I was about 9 or 10," he says, as we continue our conversation. "I've got some old tapes at home. My voice was real high. I could sing the heck out of all the girl songs."

Stricklin came to Richmond last Wednesday for several local interviews. At the end of one of them, the sportscaster asked him to sing. So he ripped off a few bars of "He Stopped Loving Her Today" by George Jones. As it turned out, that's all that appeared on air - Hut singing. The stuff about racing landed on the cutting room floor.

But that's the way it goes when you're not a superstar.

Stricklin is telling me how he built a karaoke room in the basement of his old house in Alabama (he now lives in North Carolina) when we are suddenly interrupted by a Maxwell's patron, Jeannie Martin of Richmond.

"Is one of you a race car driver?" she asks.

I look at Hut and he looks at me. He says, "Does it look like one of us is a race car driver? Which one of us do you think is a race car driver?

"Seriously, which one of you is a race car driver?" Martin asks.

I finally confess that I am not a race car driver and Hut signs his name for her with big sweeps and loops. His flamboyant style of signing makes it rather obvious who is the race car driver.

"I don't know anything about racing," Martin confesses.

This was rather obvious, too.

Actually, this sort of event is common. At Darlington, S.C., the weekend before, a fan came up to Nashville, Tenn., sportswriter Larry Woody, who doesn't look a wit like Stricklin, and asked, "Are you Hut Stricklin? Can I have your autograph?"

When Hut hangs with Cramer and Circuit City sports marketing director Frank Burchfield, fans will ignore Stricklin and ask Burchfield for his autograph. So Burchfield will sign "Frank Burchfield' and the fan will go, "What the ... ?!!" and then they'll fess up and Stricklin will sign.

"I get that all the time," Stricklin said.

He is the kind of guy who looks like somebody but you can't put your finger on it. To me, he's sort of a kindly Elvis, given his thick, black, wavy hair.

"Doesn't he look like one of the Monkees or something?" asked Denise Wood, a public relations representative.

"I'm on TV some, but not enough to be a familiar guy," said Stricklin. "I'm on TV enough for them to recognize my name, but they might not recognize my face. And some of them know me when they see me, but they don't know my name."

"Me and a crew member were sittin' there eatin' one day. And this crew guy doesn't look like me at all. He's just tall. So this fan walks up to the crew guy and says, "Hey, Hut, I need you to sign this thing. So he signs it, 'Hut Strickland.'

"And another guy is sitting over at the fan's table and I hear him say, 'That's Michael Andretti.' And he's talking about me. So this fan looks at the crew guy and says, 'Get back, Hut. You ain't nothin. If it wasn't for this guy's daddy here, there wouldn't be no such thing as racing. And he asked me for MY autograph."

"So I went to sign 'Andretti,' and I went A-N-D-R-E-T...I couldn't remember how it was after the 'T', so I signed a straight line. So this fan says, 'Can you put your car number, please?'

"I don't ever watch any Indy car racing enough to know any car numbers. So I put number one. I figured you could never go wrong with number one." ========== Six drivers who won Winston Cup events in 1996 have failed to reach the checkered flag so far this season. Among them are defending Winston Cup champion Terry Labonte, Dale Earnhardt - whose winless string is now 51 - Sterling Marlin, Geoff Bodine, Bobby Hamilton and Bobby Labonte. There have been only eight winners this year, led by Gordon's nine. Other multiple winners include Dale Jarrett with four, Mark Martin with three and Jeff Burton and Ricky Rudd with two apiece. Rusty Wallace, Ernie Irvan and John Andretti each have one victory this year. Burton and Andretti are first-time winners. (News-Journal) ========== Is not Dale Jarrett one cool race car driver? Someone mentioned to him after his win in the Exide 400 that four of his five wins came on racetracks his father (three-time champion Ned Jarrett) also won on, and wanted to know if he saw it as a good omen. "Let's see now," Jarrett said. "He didn't race at Loudon (N.H., site of next week's New Hampshire 300) or Dover (Del.; MBNA 400 a week later) and Phoenix (Dura-Lube 500 on Nov. 2). This isn't looking too good for the rest of the year, is it?" (Jim MacLaurin, theState.Com)

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

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Series NASCAR Cup
Drivers Dale Earnhardt , John Andretti , Jeff Burton , Jeff Gordon , Bobby Hamilton , Dale Jarrett , Bobby Labonte , Terry Labonte , Rusty Wallace , Ken Schrader , Sterling Marlin , Hut Stricklin , Michael Andretti , Ned Jarrett , Andy Petree , Mark Martin