News 98-01-07

NASCARFans E-Mail Newsletter ===== Rick Mast of Rockbridge Baths, Va., opened Ford's first en masse test session of its new Taurus model Tuesday at Daytona International Speedway and posted a respectable speed in relation to a just-completed test...

NASCARFans E-Mail Newsletter ===== Rick Mast of Rockbridge Baths, Va., opened Ford's first en masse test session of its new Taurus model Tuesday at Daytona International Speedway and posted a respectable speed in relation to a just-completed test of General Motors race cars.

Mast's time of 47.993 seconds, an average speed of 187.527 mph around the 2.5-mile trioval, would've placed him fourth on the first day of the GM test, Jan. 3, and only two tenths of a second off Terry Labonte's lap of 47.770/188.403 in a Chevrolet.

The nine Ford teams present, running a mix of Tauruses and Thunderbirds, will test for two more days in preparation for the Feb. 15 Daytona 500. (NASCAR Online) ===== Here's the rest of the afternoon test results, also from NASCAR Online:

pos/car#/driver/model of car/time/speed

1 75 Rick Mast Taurus 47.993 187.527 2 28A Kenny Irwin Taurus 48.086 187.165 3 59 Mark Gibson Thunderbird 48.291 186.370 4 77A Robert Pressley Thunderbird 48.301 186.332 5 9A Lake Speed Taurus 48.491 185.601 6 75A Rick Mast Thunderbird 48.522 185.483 7 2 Rusty Wallace Taurus 48.685 184.862 8 90A Dick Trickle Thunderbird 49.068 183.419 9 90 Dick Trickle Taurus 49.149 183.117 10 15 Tim Steele Thunderbird 49.154 183.098 11 9 Lake Speed Taurus 49.192 182.957 12 15A Tim Steele Thunderbird 49.252 182.734 13 37A Jeremy Mayfield Taurus 49.265 182.685 14 37 Jeremy Mayfield Taurus 49.599 181.455 15 28 Kenny Irwin Taurus 50.003 179.989 16 77 Robert Pressley Thunderbird 50.178 179.361 ===== Jayski's news gatherings:

Petty Enterprises got a jump start on the competition last weekend, as John Andretti tested the team's Pontiac at Talladega. Andretti tested last Friday, Saturday and Sunday, preparing for the upcoming Daytona 500 as well as April's DieHard 500 at Talladega.(SpeedNet)

Weather forced Bahari Racing to postpone its test at Talladega Superspeedway, the team's first of the 1998 season with new driver Derrike Cope. Bahari Racing has scheduled a two-day test at the 2.66-mile track, beginning Tuesday. The team plans to test at the facility with several Busch Series teams, which have the track Thursday. Drivers scheduled to test Busch Series cars later this week include Joe Nemechek, Dale Earnhardt Jr., Mark Green and Mike Dillon.(SpeedNet)

According to RPM2Night (1-4) the Chevrolets used 12:1 motors for their Daytona test.

Speaking of the Chevy engines and the rumored casting problems, I hear that it's unlikely that GM would spend almost four years developing the SB2 and then have 11th-hour casting problems.

One explanation from a GM source is that some "pilot" runs of heads went out to the teams (and in retrospect should not have) for initial fitting and mockup and these have been labeled "bad" heads. the final SB2.2 (second version) head package wasn't approved until August '97--and there have been some production "teething" problems, but nothing out of the ordinary for a first re-design.

Note also that the SB2 heads were run in ARCA races almost all of last year by as many as four teams. Why didn't we hear about this casting flaw then? The ARCA runs did expose a valvetrain lifespan problem, which has been corrected, so a major casting difficulty would probably show up then, too. Unless, of course, the factory changed its casting foundry.

Will GM teams show up at Daytona running 12-degree heads and not the SB2s? Lesser funded ones, maybe. But count on them being on Hendrick Motorsports engines, Richard Childress Racing, and Joe Gibbs Racing powerplants. There are teams that haven't invested in the SB2 and they will run 18-degree engines at Daytona (and beyond); even the majors (Hendrick, Gibbs, Childress) will probably have 18-degree engines at the ready in the unlikely event they are needed. (

Good story about retired NASCAR driver Wendell Scott here:

Thanks, Jay.


The NASCAR Busch Series Grand National Division will celebrate NASCAR's 50th Anniversary with 29 live television broadcasts, shared by five networks: CBS, ESPN, ESPN2, TNN: The Nashville Network, and TBS Superstation. All 31 NASCAR Busch Series events in 1998 will be televised, all but two featuring live coverage. (NASCAR Online)


Drivers of the NASCAR Busch All-Star Tour will compete in 16 races at 11 different Midwestern speedways in 1998. The 1998 schedule for NASCAR's only dirt track touring series will open April 4 and close Oct. 3.

Both the opening and closing races will take place at Crawford County Speedway in Denison, Iowa, which has been hosting NASCAR Busch All-Star Tour races since 1996.

Among the perennial tour stops back on the schedule and their number of races scheduled are: Adams County Speedway, Corning, Iowa (one event); Davenport (Iowa) Speedway (two events); Farley (Iowa) Speedway (two events); Freeport (Ill.) Raceway Park (one event); Park Jefferson Speedway, Jefferson, S.D. (one event); Sunset Speedway, Omaha, Neb. (one event); Tri-City Speedway, Granite City, Ill. (one event); West Liberty (Iowa) Raceway (three events); and Peoria (Ill.) Speedway (one event).

The only new track on the 1998 schedule is Butler County Speedway. It is being built at Allison, Iowa, and will host one NASCAR Busch All-Star Tour race. Allison is a town of about 1,000 people located about 20 miles west of Waverly in the northeastern third of the state. (NASCAR Online)


Here's some excerpts from Dale Earnhardt's recent appearance on NASCAR Live with Eli Gold, courtesy of Kendrick:

Not a word regarding the 3 team losing a test session. Dale is in Detroit during the show doing appearances, etc. for Chevy.

A question was asked of Dale about the Fords. Dale feels the Ford teams have done their homework, and the 1st day looks good.

Dale thought they would have won races in 1997, and thought they would have been in contention for the Championship. He is looking forward to 1998 more than he was 1997. He feels he and McReynolds have really gelled. And, he mentions that there have been changes to the team for 1998.

Dale was asked who his best friend is, and he mentioned he is very close with Bill and Betty Jane France, great friends with Michael Waltrip, and great friends with D.W. who he calls on Christmas to wish him a Merry, Merry. He really misses Neil, and Teresa is his best friend of all.

When asked if he had to choose, the 8th Championship or the Daytona 500, the choice was the Daytona 500, "although the 8th Championship would be really nice, but the combination of the two would be the icing on the cake."


Some of you asked, so here it is again. Be sure to check the NASCAR Online site for last minute updates to this schedule:

The 1998 NASCAR Winston Cup Preview will be held on Saturday, Jan. 10, at Lawrence Joel Veterans Memorial Coliseum (Winston-Salem, NC), kicking off the 1998 NASCAR Winston Cup Series season.

The schedule of driver appearances for autographs is as follows:

9 a.m. to 11 a.m. -- Dale Earnhardt, Dale Jarrett, Mark Martin, Ken Schrader, Bobby Hamilton, Ricky Rudd, Geoff Bodine, John Andretti, Derrike Cope, Kenny Wallace, Lake Speed, Wally Dallenbach, Steve Park, Randy LaJoie, Rich Bickle and Dave Marcis.

11:15 a.m. to 1:15 p.m. -- Darrell Waltrip, Rusty Wallace, Ted Musgrave, Steve Grissom, Jeremy Mayfield, Ward Burton, Ricky Craven, Jack Sprague, Rick Mast, Chad Little, David Green, Todd Bodine, Bobby Hillin.

1:30 p.m. to 3:30 p.m. -- Jeff Gordon, Bobby Labonte, Johnny Benson, Kyle Petty, Richard Petty, Jimmy Spencer, Kevin Lepage, Dick Trickle, Hut Stricklin, Jeff Green, Robert Pressley, Kenny Irwin, Ed Berrier, Jeff Purvis.

3:45 p.m. to 5:45 p.m. -- Jeff Burton, Terry Labonte, Bill Elliott, Ernie Irvan, Michael Waltrip, Sterling Marlin, Brett Bodine, Mike Skinner, Morgan Shepherd, Gary Bradberry, Greg Sacks, Jerry Nadeau, Tim Steele, Joe Nemechek.

(NASCAR Online) =====

According to my on-site correspondent, Racin' Rob, it rained overnight at Daytona, but is drying. Ford testing might resume at 11 am e.s.t.


On Earnhardt's team being charged with test at Daytona.

"The test was charged against the team for several reasons beyond the fact that at least one of the race cars at the test was a GM Goodwrench decal-ed car with tape added to make the number 31. The NASCAR rulebook calls for all chassis to have a VIN number which they in turn make a record of for future checking. "

"Of four criteria - car, crew chief, car owner, and driver, NASCAR felt three of the four were present at Daytona and therefore charged the team with a test." ===== Mike Irwin (mailto:Mike@NASCARFans.Com) NASCARFans _______________________________________

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About this article
Series NASCAR Cup
Drivers Dale Earnhardt , John Andretti , Rich Bickle , Brett Bodine , Jeff Burton , Ward Burton , Derrike Cope , Wally Dallenbach , Bill Elliott , Jeff Gordon , Bobby Hamilton , Dale Jarrett , Darrell Waltrip , Bobby Labonte , Terry Labonte , Jeremy Mayfield , Dick Trickle , Rusty Wallace , Michael Waltrip , Todd Bodine , Steve Park , Mike Skinner , Kyle Petty , Ken Schrader , Jimmy Spencer , Joe Nemechek , Kenny Wallace , Jeff Green , Kevin Lepage , Sterling Marlin , Jerry Nadeau , Hut Stricklin , Robert Pressley , Johnny Benson , Ted Musgrave , Ricky Craven , Jack Sprague , Mark Green , Chad Little , Jeff Purvis , David Green , Dave Marcis , Rick Mast , Ed Berrier , Tim Steele , Richard Petty , Mark Gibson , Steve Grissom , Gary Bradberry , Morgan Shepherd , Greg Sacks , Mark Martin , Wendell Scott
Teams Richard Childress Racing , Hendrick Motorsports , Joe Gibbs Racing