News 97-09-20

NASCARFans E-Mail List John Andretti has a contract to drive for the ...

NASCARFans E-Mail List

John Andretti has a contract to drive for the #98 Cale Yarborough Ford team in 1998 and Andretti said he plans on staying there, RPM2Nite says RCA has not signed with the team yet, while some inside sources say they have signed, while even other sources say DW will sign with RCA so ???? (Jayski)

Todd Bodine practiced and qualified the #99 Exide Batteries Ford for Jeff Burton at Dover. Burton continues to suffer from an inner-ear problem that is causing him to experience bouts of vertigo. As with last week, Bodine will stand by to relieve Burton during Sunday's race. Plans are for Burton to at least start the race(many sources/Jayski)

Gil Martin is now crew chiefing the second Bill Davis team. #93 Pontiac with a sponsor who will be revealed later. Driver is Dave Blaney. I hear they may run some late season races in prep for the 1998 season (Jayski)

The Buckshot Racing team announced Friday that it will compete in a limited number(8 per RPM2Nite) of NASCAR Winston Cup Series races in 1998 with Aquafresh(toothpaste) as primary sponsor of the #00 Pontiac. Jones plans to run a full schedule in the NASCAR Busch Series in 1998, with sponsorship from Bayer Aspirin.(NASCAR Online) (from Jayski)

"Fifteen Winston Cup teams are scheduled to participate in an open test session at Charlotte Motor Speedway Tuesday and Wednesday. Dale Jarrett, Sterling Marlin, Ricky Rudd, Brett Bodine, Darrell Waltrip, Ward Burton and Ernie Irvan are among those who plan to test in anticipation of UAW-GM Quality 500 Week. Open testing for Winston Cup is from 3pm to 10pm. Tuesday and from 9am to 5pm Wednesday. The grandstands will be open to the public during each practice session, free of charge. Approximately 5,000 spectator seats for the Oct. 5 UAW-GM Quality 500 were released for sale to the general public Friday. The speedway also announced the return of the "Draft Zone", a $19 general admission alcohol-free area that can seat over 3,800 spectators." (SpeedNet/Jayski)

Here's a Mike Mulhern story on tomorrow's race, from JournalNow:

Mark Martin has caught Jeff Gordon's scent again, and this time the hound plans to keep the fox from getting away.

Gordon has outfoxed all his rivals -- Ford and Chevy men -- in nearly half the races this season, and Martin will have his hands full running Gordon down in their hunt for the Winston Cup championship. But Martin had a grin on his face and a steely look in his eyes yesterday afternoon after nipping Gordon for the pole for Sunday's MBNA 400.

Martin, clocked at 152.033 mph, will have to take the fight right to Gordon over these next few races.

''What we wanted to do was put pressure on Gordon after we came out of Bristol with the points lead,'' Martin said. ''But we went to Darlington and he won and we ran eighth. We went to Richmond and we had car trouble. But we had a terrific recovery at Richmond, an absolutely incredible recovery. Then we went to New Hampshire and ran better than I expected but as bad as I was afraid we might because of problems with caution flags toward the end.

''But all that is racing. We're doing all we can do, and this thing could turn bad for any of the competitors as for us. Right now I'm not sure if we can beat Dale Jarrett. But this is the best year I've ever had, and this is the best race team I've ever had. Things are going the best they ever have for me. If that's not enough, I don't know what to say. Except 'Sorry.' ''

Martin said that the team's game plan for the stretch isn't any different than it was for the first eight months of the season.

''I haven't noticed any difference in our approach, now from the start of the season,'' Martin said. ''We are doing a little bit better job right now I feel. We've got the same car we had here last time. We were eighth in qualifying last time, and the reason we're on the pole now is we learned some things. Same thing at Michigan; we qualified 12th the first race and outside front row the second race, with the same car.

''We are doing a better job as a team, we are stronger than we were the first half. We got through Richmond, we got through New Hampshire. We know we ought to run good here.

''We hope we can get through Martinsville with as good a run as we had last time -- a third-place run from the backstretch with a provisional starting spot. If we can get a frontstretch spot this time, and run as good as we did, we can contend. But that's not a strong racetrack for me, so I don't know.

''The only other track that is not a strong track for me is Rockingham. Everywhere else we go is a strong track.

''But we're not going to make 100 points up on the racetrack anyway. I know we're not going to wax him 100-some points between now and the end of the season. But we might get that in one race, like we did at Bristol.

''What we've got to do is race as hard as we can for every spot we can, and hope we don't get any sour cards like we have the last three weeks.''

But the track is tricky. In the last race, nearly half a dozen drivers crashed while leading.

''This concrete is tough. It gives very little warning when your car is going to break loose, and you break loose big, and you have to do very big power corrections to gather it back up,'' Martin said. ''After you do that a hundred times, it takes your breath away. It's like running down the road on your feet. It actually winds you. It works you a lot harder because you're in there snatching and grabbing rather than doing smooth moves.

''This last race here was, I believe, the best race they've had, since they've concreted it. There weren't really two racing grooves, but the track was two grooves wide. There was a fast groove and one that wasn't as fast but was still usable.''

The track, as usual, was quite treacherous yesterday when practice got underway. Bobby Labonte destroyed his Busch car in early practice, and the pace of destruction continued as several others spinning or slapping the wall.

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About this article
Series NASCAR Cup
Drivers John Andretti , Brett Bodine , Jeff Burton , Ward Burton , Jeff Gordon , Ernie Irvan , Dale Jarrett , Darrell Waltrip , Bobby Labonte , Todd Bodine , Sterling Marlin , Dave Blaney , Cale Yarborough , Mark Martin