News #2 97-11-17

NASCARFans E-Mail List ===== Well, another season ended, at least it was an exciting last race. Now that the racing is on its winter sabbatical, the NASCARFans posts will come less frequently, maybe even down to one or so a week. Don't give up...

NASCARFans E-Mail List ===== Well, another season ended, at least it was an exciting last race.

Now that the racing is on its winter sabbatical, the NASCARFans posts will come less frequently, maybe even down to one or so a week. Don't give up on us, though! As time draws closer to February, we'll be there covering all the news and rumors that pop up. ===== Two streaks that ended with the 1997 season close:

1) Dale Earnhardt's streak of a victory every year for the last 15 years. 2) Ricky Rudd's streak of finishing in the top 10 in points every year since 1988.

Two streaks that didn't end:

1) Mark Martin finishing in the top 6 in points every year since 1989 2) Dale Earnhardt's losing streak ===== FYI, RPM2Nite is on at 6:30 p.m. (eastern standard time) tonight on ESPN2. ===== Rick Mast and the #75 Remington Ford owned by Butch Mock will have a new paint scheme in 1998. Jayski hears it will be more yellow with green and orange. ===== "Preston Miller, who (quit) as Ford's NASCAR program director three weeks ago, has agreed to keep the job, under the regime of new Ford Special Vehicle Operations chief Dan Davis. Miller will continue as an independent contractor under contract to Ford, Miller said."(SpeedNet) / Jayski ===== Here's an article on Speednet for those of you with web access. It's concerning the scanner legislation (which was amended to allow race fans to continue to use scanners):

http://www.starnews.com/speednet/nascar/97/nov/1114SN_scanners.html

Thanks to Jay for the info about the article. ===== End of news. A story on Rick Hendrick follows, written by Shawn Akers from NASCAR Online. ===== The most trying year in Rick Hendrick's life has resulted in a happy ending on one front, at least.

A life-threatening battle with leukemia and exasperating legal problems have kept Hendrick away from the race track all season long. And while it surely won't be a cure-all for his troubles, Jeff Gordon's 1997 NASCAR Winston Cup Series championship Sunday was certainly a present Hendrick will never forget.

"I really appreciate this, buddy," Hendrick told Gordon in a phone interview from Charlotte following the race. "It was good medicine here today. It was a little too close, but thanks for the championship."

Hendrick's fight with his illness left him physically unable to maintain his day-to-day duties at Hendrick Motorsports this season. He also endured legal problems, stemming from charges of fraud in connection with his auto dealerships during the summer. He eventually pleaded guilty and was sentenced to home detention.

His boss' plight put Gordon on a special mission this season -- to bring home another title to Hendrick Motorsports.

"There's nothing that could have been sweeter than to give Rick this championship," Gordon said. "I really think it all started off in Daytona. He (Hendrick) really inspired us with his thoughtfulness and caring of others.

"I'm just so happy that we could put on a smile on his face. He's been telling us all year that winning a championship would be the best medicine for him."

The championship was the third straight for Hendrick Motorsports, certainly establishing it as the most dominant organization in NASCAR racing today. Gordon gave Hendrick his first NASCAR Winston Cup title in 1995. Terry Labonte followed that up last season with his second series championship with Gordon earning runner-up honors.

Sunday, Gordon gave Hendrick a lot of anxious moments. The No. 24 Chevrolet finished 17th in the NAPA 500 at Atlanta Motor Speedway, three laps down to race winner Bobby Labonte.

Gordon wound up winning the championship by a mere 14 points over Dale Jarrett, who finished second to Labonte. Mark Martin, who finished third in the race, finished third in the standings as well, 29 points behind Gordon.

"I thought I was going to have to call my doctor and get another prescription to make it to the end of this deal," Hendrick said. "It was really tight, but Linda (his wife) and the kids and I really enjoyed it."

Hendrick became the first NASCAR Winston Cup Series car owner to win three consecutive championships since Junior Johnson. Cale Yarborough won three straight titles for Johnson in 1976, 1977 and 1978. Hendrick and Johnson are the only car owners to accomplish that feat.

Gordon posted a total of 10 victories and 22 top-5 finishes this season. By winning the championship, he also takes home an additional $1.5 million dollars, courtesy of R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Company and the Winston Point Fund. (Shawn A. Akers , NASCAR Online) ===== Mike Irwin (mailto:mike@nascarfans.com) NASCAR Fans _______________________________________

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About this article
Series NASCAR Cup
Drivers Dale Earnhardt , Jeff Gordon , Bobby Labonte , Terry Labonte , Rick Mast , Junior Johnson , Cale Yarborough , Mark Martin
Teams Hendrick Motorsports