North Wilkesboro fact sheet (2 of 3)

>From Chris Powell Winston Cup Publicity This is the seventh race of the 1996 season and is the third of eight short-track races. The posted awards for this weekend's NASCAR Winston Cup First Union 400 total $1 220,353. The NASCAR...

>From Chris Powell Winston Cup Publicity

This is the seventh race of the 1996 season and is the third of eight short-track races. The posted awards for this weekend's NASCAR Winston Cup First Union 400 total $1 220,353.

The NASCAR Winston Cup Leader Bonus rolled over to $50,000 for this week's First Union 400.

Terry Labonte will make his 513th consecutive NASCAR Winston Cup start in this weekend's First Union 400 at North Wilkesboro which will tie Richard Petty's record of 513 consecutive starts. He is expected to break Petty's record at Martinsville VA. next weekend. Labonte's streak began at Riverside in January of 1979. it was his first full year of Winston Cup competition after making five starts in 1978. Dale Earnhardt was rookie of the year in 1979 with Joe Milan earning runner-up honors. Richard Petty's streak began in November of 1971 and ended at Richmond in March of 1989 when he failed to qualify. There was no "past champion's provisional" at that time and that incident was what led to what many have called Jibe Petty rule" with the addition of a past champion's provisional to today's qualifying rules

Jeff Gordon is expected to make his 100th career NASCAR Winston Cup start in this week's First Union 400.

Chevrolet maintains an early lead over Ford (one win) in the Manufacturers' point battle (51 to 39) with five victories in 1996. Pontiac is third with 24 points and still seeks their first 1996 victory.

There have been three different winners in the first six NASCAR Winston Cup races of 1996 (Jarrett at Daytona, Gordon at Richmond, Darlington and Bristol and Earnhardt at Rockingham and Atlanta).

There have been five different NASCAR Winston Cup Busch pole winners in the first five races of the season (Dale Earnhardt at Daytona, Johnny Benson at Atlanta, Ward Burton at Darlington, Mark Martin at Bristol and Terry Labonte, the only multiple pole winner this season at Rockingham and Richmond)

Three of the six NASCAR Winston Cup Busch poles have been scored by Chevrolets this season. Pontiac has two poles and Ford has one.

Jeff Gordon and Dale Earnhardt are the only drivers to post four tope-five finishes in the first six races in 1996.

Ricky Rudd (14th at Bristol) ended his streak of seven straight top-10 finishes, a streak which began at Phoenix last fall.

Six of the current top 10 drivers in NASCAR Winston Cup points have never won a NASCAR Winston Cup race at North Wilkesboro. Dale Jarrett, Ricky Rudd, Ricky Craven, Jeff Gordon, Bill Elliott and Ted Musgrave all seek their first North Wilkesboro NASCAR Winston Cup victory.

Early Season Trends...

Jeff Gordon has five starts, including three outside poles, from a top-10 starting position in the first six races of 1996.

Ernie lrvan has only one top-l5 start this season, second at Daytona

Terry Labonte is the only driver with five starts from a top- five starting position. His only start outside the top five came at Darlington where he started 17th.

Mark Martin has started from the top five in three out of the last four races (started 16th at Darlington).

Kenny Wallace has four starts from the top 10 this season.

Dale Earnhardt has only two starts from the top-10 this season.

Ricky Craven has three top-10 finishes in the first six races with no finish Iower than 17th (Richmond).

Bill Elliott has five top-15 finishes in the first six races (28th at Bristol).

Jeff Gordon has four straight finishes of third or better, including three victories.

Dale Earnhardt. Dale Jarrett, Jeff Gordon, Terry Labonte and Mark Martin each have four top-10finishes in the first six races

Ricky Rudd is the only driver to post five top-l O finishes in the first six races

Terry Labonte has four straight top-10 finishes.

Rusty Wallace has three top-l 0 finishes in the last four races (36th at Atlanta).

Ernie lrvan has only one top-l 0 finish in six races (fourth at Atlanta).

Ricky Rudd has remained third in points for five straight races, since Rockingham.

Jeff Gordon has climbed from 43rd to sixth in points in the last four races Since Rockingham) .

Terry Labonte has climbed from 30th to fifth in points in the last four races Since Rocking ham).

Rusty Wallace has climbed from 18th to ninth in points in the last four races Since Rockingham).

Sterling Marlin has climbed from 39th to 11th in points since Daytona.

Bobby Labonte has climbed from 29th to 15th in points in the last two races, since Atlanta.

Ken Schrader has dropped from sixth to 13th in points in the last two races, since Atlanta.

Lake Speed has dropped from 14th to 28th in points since Daytona.

Bobby Hamilton has dropped from ninth to 17th in points in the last two races, since Atlanta.

Would You Believe?

Dale Earnhardt, in his 34 starts at North Wilkesboro, has posted a top-10 finish in 30 of those 34 races (88 percent).

Move of the Week...

Hut Stricklin climbed from 31st to 24th in the NASCAR Winston Cup point standings, a result of his 11th-place finish at Bristol.

Tidbits

The Unocal Challenge is worth $129,200 at North Wilkesboro. it was last won 17 races ago by Bobby Labonte ($7,600) at Michigan last August. The cache has been won from the pole on 14 occasions at North Wilkesboro, the most of any starting position (20 percent). The Unocal Challenge (which began in 1989) has never been won at North Wilkesboro. The last time a race was won from the pole at North Wilkesboro was by Terry Labonte in the 1988 First Union 400.

Jeff Gordon has climbed from 43rd to sixth in the last four races gaining 37 point positions.

The top five in NASCAR Winston Cup points are separated by 114 points. The top 10 in NASCAR Winston Cup points are separated by 209 points.

Darrell Waltrip leads all active drivers with 10 victories at North Wilkesboro. He is followed by Dale Earnhardt with five wins and Rusty Wallace, Terry Labonte and Geoff Bodine with three each Richard Petty leads all drivers with 15 North Wilkesboro victories.

There have been four different winners in the last four NASCAR Winston Cup races at North Wilkesboro (since 1994).

In the 47 years of NASCAR Winston Cup raring at North Wilkesboro (1949 to 1 99S), a sweep has occurred 14 times (30 percent). Rusty Wallace, driving a Pontiac: in 1993, is the last driver to win both North Wiikesboro races in the same year.

A Chevrolet and a Ford each had one North Wilkesboro victory in 1994 and 1995

Darrell Waltrip, Kyle Petty, Morgan Shepherd, Derrike Cope, Wally Dallenbach, Steve Grlssom and Ted Musgrave are just a few of the drivers yet to lead a lap in 1996.

Darrell Waltrip, John Andrettl, Derrlke Cope, Wally Dallenbach, Robert Pressley and Lake Speed each have posted three DNFs in the first six races of the '96 season.

Tidbits

A Chevrolet has led 62 percent of the laps raced in 1996 (1,215 of 1,956). The Fords have led 569 laps thus far (29 percent) while Pontlac has led 172 laps (nine percent). However, the Fords have led 32:2 versus 291 laps for Chevrolet in the first two short-track races of the season.

Dale Earnhardt, in his 34 starts at North Wilkesboro, has a 6.5 average finish, the best of all active drivers. Earnhardt posted 30 top-10 finishes in those 34 races.

Current NASCAR Winston Cup point leader Dale Jarrett has an 17.5 average finish at North Wilkesboro in 17 previous starts. His North Wilkesboro record reflects four top-10 finishes including; a seventh-place finish in the 1995 Holly Farms 400, his best North Wilkesboro performance.

Rusty Wallace has a 3.1 average finish in his last 29 short-track races, a record that began at Richmond in the fall of 1992. Wallace has posted two top-10 short-track finishes this season (seventh at Richmond and fifth at Bristol).

A Ford has only won seven times at North Wilkesboro in the modern era (since 1972). However, since 1990 the Fords lead in North Wilkesboro wins (5 to 4) over Chevrolet Pontiac scored two victories and Buick had one win during the period.

The 90's at North Wilkesboro (1990-1996) had three drivers with noted performances. in those 12 races Rusty Wallace had two wins, eight top five and 11 top-10 finishes. Dale Earnhardt had two wins, seven top five and 10 top-10 finishes while Mark Martin had two wins, six top five anti eight top-l 0 finishes.

Brett Bodine won his only NASCAR Winston Cup race at North Wilkesboro (4/22/90, 177 races ago).

Six of the current top-10 drivers in NASCAR Winston Cup points have never won at North Wilkesboro. They are Dale Jarrett, Ricky Rudd, Ricky Craven, Jeff Gordon, Bill Elliott and Ted Musgrave.

One year ago defending NASCAR Winston Cup champion Jeff Gordon had three wins, three poles and ranked fourth in points after the first six races. He was the only driver to lead at least one lap in the first six races of 1995. He had led 1,002 of the 2,213 laps raced (46 percent), three times more laps to this point of the season than any other driver. -de earned 50 lap leader/bonus points in those first six races. One year later...Gordon has no poles, three victories and is ranked sixth in the current NASCAR Winston Cup point standings. He has earned 30 lap leader/bonus points, tied for the most bonus points with teammate Terry Labonte. He has led at least one lap in four of the six races and has led the most laps to this point of the '96 season (485 of 1,956).

Brothers Geoff Bodine (1 0/2/94, 41 races ago) and Brett Bodine (4/22/90,177 races ago) both scored their most recent NASCAR Winston CUP victories at North Wilkesboro.

Jimmy Spencer's first and only career NASCAR Winston Cup Busch pole came at North Wiikesboro 9/30/94, 39 races ago.

After six races, the Rick Hendrick-owned cars (Nos. 5, 24, and 25) and the Jack Roush-owned cars (NOS. 6,16 and 99) have totaled 10 top-10 finishes each

Ricky Rudd leads all drivers with five top-10 finishes in the first six races of this season.

Last race at Bristol was the first of three straight short- track races (Bristol, North Wilkesboro and Martinsville) then followed by the fastest (Talladega) and the first road course race (Sears Point). These five races have both settled and shuffled the NASCAR Winston Cup point standings in previous years

Jack Durbin indy500@freenet.tlh.fl.us Motorsport News International jackd@motorsport.com (Moderators for "rec.autos.sport.info") Homepage http://www.freenet.tlh.fl.us/users/indy500/index.html

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About this article
Series NASCAR Cup
Drivers Dale Earnhardt , Brett Bodine , Ward Burton , Wally Dallenbach Sr. , Bill Elliott , Jeff Gordon , Bobby Hamilton , Dale Jarrett , Darrell Waltrip , Bobby Labonte , Terry Labonte , Rusty Wallace , Kyle Petty , Ken Schrader , Jimmy Spencer , Kenny Wallace , Sterling Marlin , Hut Stricklin , Robert Pressley , Johnny Benson , Ted Musgrave , Ricky Craven , Richard Petty , Morgan Shepherd , Jack Roush , Mark Martin