News 97-11-14

NASCARFans E-Mail List RPM2Nite on ESPN2 will be aired an half hour earlier on Friday, November 14th at 6:30pm(et) (Jayski) ===== Nathan Lane has some shots of the ...

NASCARFans E-Mail List

RPM2Nite on ESPN2 will be aired an half hour earlier on Friday, November 14th at 6:30pm(et) (Jayski) ===== Nathan Lane has some shots of the #9 Cartoon Network Ford Taurus on his Lake Speed Fan Page, very sharp looking: ===== CART team, Pac West plans to run a Dodge truck team in 1998. Pac West most recently ran the Dodge Stratus in the North American touring car series. This series was not renewed for the 1998 season. (Jayski, and me) ===== Jayski hears that Chicago Rawhide(CR) Oil Seals and bearings will be an associate sponsor on the #99 Exide Ford in 1998. ===== A lot of Ford drivers in the NASCAR Winston Cup Series will miss the Thunderbird when it is retired after the 1997 season in favor of the Taurus. No one, however, will miss it more than Bill Elliott.

The Thunderbird has provided a lot of memories -- and several victories -- for the man dubbed "Awesome Bill from Dawsonville" since first stepped behind the wheel of one in 1978. Elliott won a NASCAR Winston Cup Series championship in a Thunderbird, and made history by winning a million-dollar bonus at Darlington.

"I will really miss the T-Bird," Elliott said. "We won the championship in '88 with it, and that will always be a highlight for me. We had that great year in '85, winning 11 races and the Winston Million, but I guess the '88 championship is the season that will always stand out. We won a lot of races in '85, including the Winston Million, but the championship was the highlight."

Elliott first became a championship contender for Ford in 1983 while driving for Harry Melling. In his first full year on the circuit (he drove 21 races for Melling in 1982 and partial seasons in a car owned by him and his brother Ernie from 1976 to 1981), Elliott won the first three races of his NASCAR Winston Cup Series career and wound up third in the point standings. He won another three races in 1984 and again finished third in the points.

In 1985, Elliott made the Thunderbird a household name with one of the most remarkable seasons in series history. He won 11 races that year, all on superspeedways, set speed records that have yet to be broken and won the Winston Million in its first year of existence.

Elliott finished second in the points that season, 101 behind Darrell Waltrip. He continued his quest for a championship in 1986 and 1987, winning two and six races, respectively, while finishing fourth and second in the points.

"Awesome Bill" finally broke through in 1988, winning the championship by 24 points over Rusty Wallace. His six victories, 15 top-five and 22 top-10 finishes helped give Ford its first championship with the Thunderbird.

The 1988 season also marked the rise of Mark Martin and the late Davey Allison to prominence in the NASCAR Winston Cup Series, giving Ford two more championship contenders. Martin finished third in the championship race in 1989, then pushed Dale Earnhardt to the limit in 1990, finishing just 26 points out of first.

Martin, currently third in the point standings this season, finished sixth in 1991 and 1992, third in 1993, second in 1994, fourth in '95 and fifth in '96. In 1994, Martin and Rusty Wallace helped Ford win its second manufacturers' title in three years. (NASCAR Online) ===== Mike Irwin ( NASCAR Fans _______________________________________

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Series NASCAR Cup
Drivers Dale Earnhardt , Bill Elliott , Rusty Wallace , Mark Martin