News 97-09-26

NASCARFans E-Mail List ========== Results of "Steel Chariots" poll (it's done, please don't send any more responses.......) By a margin of slightly better than 7 to 1, you NASCARFans overwhelmingly said the movie "Steel Chariots" stunk, and...

NASCARFans E-Mail List ========== Results of "Steel Chariots" poll (it's done, please don't send any more responses.......)

By a margin of slightly better than 7 to 1, you NASCARFans overwhelmingly said the movie "Steel Chariots" stunk, and used other "colorful metaphors" to describe it. A lot of you said you were embarrassed to watch it, or to admit you are a NASCAR fan because of it.

Based on the content of the negative responses, I was really surprised that I received as many positive responses as I did. The most positive: "I liked it." This was the entire content of the e-mail.

I was also surprised that I had only 67 responses out of nearly 4000 subscribers. When I ran the "should Jeff Burton have let Mark Martin get his lap back" poll, I received a much greater number of responses. This may (or may not) indicate you NASCARFans are more passionate about real racing than TV movies about racing.

I had one priceless e-mail that suggested the sports editorial writer, Brian Ettkin, from the Naples News, had a part in writing/producing "Steel Chariots".

There was a fair amount of people (exclusively men) that thought the redhead was cute, regardless of her role in the movie. She was described by a large number of folks (primarily, although not exclusively, women) as "slutty". Take this information for what you will. ========== By the way, the "NASCARFans@RocketMail.Com" address was for poll responses only. If you need to correspond with me, please feel free to use "Mike@NASCARFans.Com". ========== Speaking of good ol' Brian Ettkin, the illustrious editorialist, here are the results of your responses to the Naples News concerning Ettkin's column, taken from:

http://www.naplesnews.com/today/sports/race25.html

(Thanks to one of our readers for sending this to me, unfortunately I lost (i.e. "deleted") the e-mail. You know who you are. THANKS!!!!!)

Fans give racing the checkered flag

By CHUCK CURRY, Managing Editor/Online

Well, the votes are in.

At last count it was 225 and still arriving.

Race fans, it's a complete sweep; a start-to-finish victory: E-mail runs unanimously in favor of the opinion that auto racing is a sport.

Several days ago, sports columnist Brian Ettkin wrote that racing is "silly." Well, given the opportunity to respond, readers sent letters to the editor and a flood of E-mail.

The 225 E-mail messages break down like this:

* 209 use a variety of phrases and criticism to say that Ettkin is wrong.

* 16 say they respect Ettkin's right to his opinion but use a variety of phrases and criticism to say he should change his mind.

To say that the responses reflected a passion for motorsports is an understatement. Take any one and it could be a letter of recommendation for why you should either see a race or consider racing a sport (although I would take out words like *$&&%$$# and $*&##@!@#$).

Here's a few excerpts from the E-mail:

"I beg to differ with your opinion that racers are not true athletes. I would challenge any overpaid football, basketball or baseball player to be able to concentrate for 3 to 4 hours while driving at 150+ mph in a car which has a cockpit temperature of well over 120 degrees. I don't mean to imply that a racer could play basketball or baseball with Michael Jordan or Ken Griffey Jr. But then, could Ken Giffey Jr. play basketball with Michael Jordan? And we all know that Michale was not sucesfful when he tried to play baseball. A racer excells at his own sport just as a baseball player, football player, or basketball player excells at his sport. A racer is just as much an athlete as baseball, basketball, and football players." - V.A. Perry

"I enjoy watching on TV and attending auto racing events in person each year with my wife, son and daughter. The competition and excitement of the teamwork and strategy involved in the sport is what interests us. We also enjoy the personalities involved. I notice your editorial compares drivers to other athletes in the more traditional "stick and ball" sports. Until you have watched the drivers of NASCAR circle the track at Daytona or Talladega at 200 mph only inches apart for 3 hours, I don't think you can comment on whether or not they have any athletic ability. These people may not be able to jump as high or run as fast some athletes in other sports, but I would challenge these other athletes to sit in a car with complete concentration while circling the track at 180 mph for 4 hours at Rockingham or Dover, while knowing that a single lapse in concentration could cost them or someone else their life. (No time outs in auto racing). Last, but not least, when I attend an Auto race, I don't have to explain to my kids about the drug habits or sexual exploits of the participants. This sport does not continue to make millionaires out of criminals, as is the case in some other traditional sports." - David Wilmore

" ... it is obvious that you lack the understanding it takes to see the beauty of NASCAR racing. All the details you mention, and then some, make this sport one of the most intricate, exciting, and radiant pastimes there could be. It can be compared to something of a ballet. The timing of the pit crew, the stamina of each driver, the balance of 40 cars turning on pitched banks, the love of the audience, but believe me, the music is much better." - Dana McDaniel

" ... Last but certainly not least, I would like to say that I strongly believe racing is definately a family sport. I am a huge race fan, and go to every race I can, and do you know who I go with? I go with my Dad, every time. There is nothing like experiencing the thrill of such a great sport with someone you love. My father and I have a lot of fun at the races and I love spending the entire weekend with him at the tracks. I know he doesn't love racing as much as I do, but he goes for me, and I know he enjoys it too, if not just for me. Auto Racing has definately brought me close to my father." - D.J.

End of article from Naples News

========== Now, on to some racing news........ ========== Kenny Irwin, Jr will be in the same paint scheme as he had at Richmond, according to an ad in this weeks Winston Cup Scene; Tonka and Winners Circle (this from Jayski). ========== Jayski hears Bobby Hillin is trying to put together a Busch car deal for 1998 and is actively working on several sponsorship deals. ========== Hover Motorsports based in Vienna, OH announced on Thursday. Andy Hillenburg will drive the rest of the season in the #80 Ford Thunderbird in the ARCA series. Elcon Inc will be the sponsor for the Oct 11 race in Talladega and Gravy Train will be the sponsor for the Atlanta Nov 15th race. Hover Motorsports plans to run a limited ARCA series schedule and 10 Winston Cup races in 1998(WFMJ Sports, Youngstown, OH, and Jayski) ========== Terry Labonte will run a special Frankenstein paint job at Charlotte.

Michael Waltrip has special paint scheme for this race too a tribute to David Pearson, running colors of old. (Jayski) ========== From one of Jayski's good sources: The Archer Brothers tested a pair of Winston Cup Dodge Intrepids back in the spring but no further details on test results or whether NASCAR would approve the body were available. ========== "Richard Petty has announced that Jimmy Hensley will continue to be the driver of his #43 Cummins Engine Company Dodge Ram in the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series in 1998."(NASCAR Online) Hensley is not a candidate for the #43 STP Pontiac WC Ride (Jayski) ========== Ken Schrader and Jimmy Spencer tested at Talladega earlier this week (Jayski) ========== Here's some other racing news you might be interested in. It's a pretty big deal:

British fighter pilot Andy Green shattered the world land speed record on Thursday by averaging more than 714 mph on three blazing runs in the Black Rock Desert.

The Thrust SSC team headed by Richard Noble shrugged off the threat of showers, then set a record that's nearly 81 mph faster than the mark Noble set 14 years ago.

``It's a h*** of a day,'' Noble said.

Green pushed Noble's jet-powered car to 700.661 mph on the first of two timed dashes down the 13-mile course, then turned around within the allotted one hour for a 728.008 mph clincher.

His average of 714.144 mph shattered the 633.47 mph Noble established Oct. 4, 1983.

It also moved him toward Noble's eventual goal of a supersonic run. To break the sound barrier at the dry lake bed's 4,000-foot altitude would require a speed of 750-760 mph. (Charlotte.Com) ========== Here's a great article from the Richmond Times-Dispatch, the author is Skip Wood:

He sneered and spit out the name.

"Martinsville," Mark Martin said this summer in New Hampshire when asked to cite his least favorite Winston Cup track.

It was as though Chris Darden had been asked to cite his least favorite person.

Thing is, Darden has made a lot of money from his unsuccessful prosecution of O.J. Simpson, and Martin has had a lot of success on the half-mile track that is Martinsville Speedway.

If you can't beat 'em, use 'em.

In 23 starts at Martinsville, Martin has 14 top-10 finishes, seven top-five showings, and a win, in the '92 April race. And when he cranks it up Sunday for his latest visit, he'll be doing so five months after he turned a No. 39 qualifying spot at Martinsville into a third-place finish.

"I'm not saying I haven't run well there, because I have," Martin said. "But that doesn't necessarily make it one of your favorite tracks. There's just not enough room on that track to accommodate what Winston Cup racing is today."

Martin's talking about 40-plus fields, cars with more power and technology than ever, and the track maneuverability required to manage such rides. But at Martinsville, the lanes are such that passing is difficult and danger is a given.

It makes for a great show for the fans, though, who've been watching races here since 1956. Those were pre-sugar daddy days, when the races were aptly dubbed the Virginia 500 and the Old Dominion 500 - as well as the old Convertible 500.

These days, it's the Hanes 500, and first-round qualifying will be held today. In the season's first race here, April's Goody's 500, points leader Jeff Gordon was the winner, just as he was in last year's second Martinsville race.

Maybe it's because he has finished in the top five in four of his past five stops here, but Gordon puts on a Martinsville-for-president campaign button when discussing the venerable site. He also acknowledges that the track's 71,000 seating capacity is becoming tiny by Winston Cup standards.

"We need to get more people into Martinsville, but I think, historically, the track has always brought exciting action to NASCAR Winston Cup racing," Gordon said this week. "It really belongs on the schedule, and I hope it stays there for a long time."

Gordon comes in with a 105-point lead over Martin in the points race, with Dale Jarrett 184 points back. Although Virginia's Jeff Burton lurks in fourth, he's nonetheless 353 points behind after having to share time with relief driver Todd Bodine the past couple of weeks because of an inner-ear infection.

Thus, Gordon basically sees this baby as a three-man sprint with six races remaining.

"I don't ever like to throw anybody out because somebody can go on a tear," Gordon said. "I just don't see all three of us having trouble. Maybe one or two of us, but for the most part, I see it coming down to Mark, Dale and myself."

Martin won last week at Dover Downs, and given his stellar showing here in the first race, he's ready for more of the same despite his distaste for the track. Literally, he's ready for more of the same.

"[After] we came from 39th to finish third, I told the guys to take the four springs from that car and put them on a shelf and save them for the next Martinsville race," Martin said. "I know the springs are still there because I checked on them myself a few weeks ago. I just wanted to make sure they hadn't rusted or hadn't been attacked by varmints or something."

Varmints. O.J. Martinsville. Pick your poison.

"It's not the most comfortable feeling going into the most difficult race track I know of," Martin said. ========== Mark Martin put Ford in position to clinch the 1997 NASCAR Winston Cup Series manufacturers' championship this weekend in the Hanes 500 at Martinsville Speedway, with his fourth victory of the season last week in the MBNA 400 at Dover. A victory at Martinsville, or any finish by the first Ford ahead of the first Chevrolet in the remaining six NASCAR Winston Cup Series races, will give Ford its third manufacturers' title in the last six years. Ford also won the title in 1992 and 1994. "The manufacturers' title is a big deal, and it means a lot to us to be a part of it," said Robert Yates, who owns Fords driven by Dale Jarrett and Ernie Irvan. "It means a lot to be putting the numbers on the board and to be contributing to that, because of all the support we get from Ford. Hopefully, this will get us even more support. The manufacturers mean a lot to this sport. I remember a time when the manufacturers were the only support we had. We couldn't have done this without them. And this is my livelihood, so I don't know that I would be doing this if it wasn't for the manufacturers. I might be a mechanic somewhere, but I probably wouldn't be doing this. So it's a big deal. I've been on both sides. I worked on those Chevrolets for a while, so it's good to help Ford win the title and have some fun with those Chevrolet guys. I hope this helps Ford realize the value of being in this sport, so they will continue, because this is our livelihood. And I tell you, it's entertaining to a lot of people in the company and a lot of fans all over the world." (NASCAR Online)

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

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Series NASCAR Cup
Drivers Jeff Burton , Jeff Gordon , Ernie Irvan , Dale Jarrett , Terry Labonte , Michael Waltrip , Todd Bodine , Ken Schrader , Jimmy Spencer , Richard Petty , Jimmy Hensley , Robert Yates , Richard Noble , Andy Green , Tim Richmond , Mark Martin , David Pearson