Notes 95-06-19

Michigan MGD 400 Notes: ------------------ Greg Sacks, driver of the ...

Michigan MGD 400 Notes: ------------------ Greg Sacks, driver of the #40 Kendall Oil Pontiac, failed to qualify for the Michigan race, and will now is now looking for a new job. Apparently as a result of his performance this year, Greg has been released (read that fired) as driver of the car. Replacements are being sought, with Rich Bickle high on the list of available drivers.

Dale Earnhardt crashed on lap 128 after an incident with Derrike Cope. Earnhardt had the wind knocked out of him, received a bruised knee, and lost his lead in Winston Cup points standings. This was Dale's first DNF since October 30, 1994 at Phoenix.

Ricky Rudd, whose incident with Hut Stricklin on lap 72 ignited a 10-car melee, reportedly sustained a concussion, was having difficulty remembering things, and also reportedly was complained about pain in his right foot. He was transported by helicopter to a hospital in nearby Jackson, Mich., for further testing and observation and then later released.

While most cars were taking their cool down lap at the end of the race, Michael Waltrip was apparently heating up. Angry with Lake Speed for a late race incident in which Spped caused Wlatrip to drift up to the top of the two-mile Michigan International Speedway oval, Michael pursued Lake down pit road, cut him off, and stopped his car in front of Speed's, forcing Lake to stop on the outside edge of pit road. Waltrip calmly walked to Speed's car, unhooked the window net and threw a righthand sucker punch at Speed. Michael then exchanged a few more words with Lake and then threw another punch and walked away. This all in plain-view sight of the CBS cameras. NASCAR spokesman Kevin Triplett said the sanctioning body would make a decision today on any possible fines or other penalties stemming from the incident.

Geoff Bodine got into double-trouble late in Sunday's race, slamming into the wall and then being fined $5,000 by NASCAR for ignoring a black flag. Kevin Triplett, NASCAR spokeman, said Bodine, who had been running in the top 10 most of the second half of the race, hit the wall on lap 194 and was given three laps to heed the black flag and come into the pits after NASCAR determined his battered Ford was a hazard on the track. He kept going, but NASCAR stopped scoring Bodine on lap 198 and he was placed 21st with 197 laps completed.

Average lap speeds of 180 miles-per-hour were logged on the newly repaved track surface at Michigan International Speedway during green flag racing. However, the hot track temperatures, which were reported to be as high as 140-degrees, may have contributed to the eight caution flags and resulting 44 yellow flag laps. In the end, there were 20 lead changes among 10 drivers, and an average race speed of 134.141 mph, far off the pace of Davey Allison's 1991 track record of 160.912 mph.

John Andretti, who has been the source of much controversy this season both on and off the track, managed to finish in forth place - his best career finish.

Dale Jarrett managed to stay out of trouble and was racing with the leaders at the end of the race, when his engine blew up (blowed up for you southern folks) on the last lap. Jarrett still managed to finish sixth.

Michigan MGD 400 Quotes ----------- Heard from Martin's spotter while Mark was battling with John Andretti on the track: "Why won't he just let Martin lead? That idiot's gonna wreck!"

John Andretti: "It was a lot of fun. I mean, it's fun racing at the front. I've got to thank (crew chief) Tim Brewer and the guys because they changed the car and it was their pit stop strategy that put us up there. Track position is so important in Winston Cup racing because it's so hard to pass. It would have been nice if we could have won this thing."

Jeff Gordon: "We gave it everything we had. Bobby just beat us today. I got by him on that restart and I thought that was what it was going to take. Then he just motored on by me."

Bobby Labonte: "Jeff's awful tough. He snookered me on that restart, you know. He's been doing this up-front stuff a lot longer."

Joe Gibbs: "Bobby came in behind Jeff twice earlier this year, and I think beating him like this is really good for Bobby. I know it's good for me and the rest of our team.''

Michael Waltrip: "We saw what happened all day long when you get up in the white stuff, and he (Speed) just ran me up in that stuff. To me it was pretty obvious he didn't mean to give me any room. It upset me. I guess, in retrospect, it was kind of a silly thing for me to do, to go over there. I've never been that mad before, and on the flip side of that, there wasn't any way I was going to hurt him. He had on his helmet. I just wanted to knock him around a little bit and tell him how mad I was. He could have hurt me and a lot of other drivers, and I could have torn up my car, and that's bad." Later Michael added: "I want to apologize publicly for what I did. I hate I did it. I just lost my cool. I'm all right now. I just hate I did that."

Lake Speed: "My statement is, I guess Michael lost his temper. We just had a racing incident, bumped doors with a few laps to go. We just rubbed a little bit. Next thing I know, he's parking me like a highway patrolman down here in the grass."

Dale Earnhardt: "It knocked the breath out of me and I couldn't talk on the radio. The guys thought that I was hurt pretty bad and I thought I was for a minute, too. Either he got into me or I got into him. We got together and it knocked me loose. I got into the loose stuff and the car went straight into the wall. It bruised my neck and leg pretty bad, but it didn't break anything and I'm OK."

Rusty Wallace: "Last year, I came from 16th to win it with just 12 laps to go, and I kind of thought about that. I thought 'well, I can do it.' I blasted through all the traffic and got to third. I'd like to have had three or four more laps, and I'd have been on their bumpers. That would have been exciting." z Misc. News & Tidbits --------------- Bill Elliott and wife are said to be expecting a little Elliott sometime in the November or December timeframe.

Pocono International Raceway has filed a $2 Million lawsuit against the group administering a combined program for the United Auto Workers and General Motors for a three-year sponsorship deal of races at the track. The first of the UAW-GM Teamwork 500 races was run last4 year, but track owner Joseph R. Mattioli says PIR still is owed nearly $400,000. Mattioli said that they "did an advance billing for 1995, and about February we received a letter that GM-UAW had no agreement with us for a sponsorship of this race." Meanwhile, published reports say General Motors audited Ohio auto dealer Tom Winkle, who proposed the program and received $1.9 million last year to administer it in behalf of UAW-GM. Although the 1992 audit dealt with dealership matters, reports says UAW-GM officials received complaints from vendors that Winkle had not paid them for services rendered. The motorsports program was under the auspices of UAW-GM's Human Resources Center, which severed ties with Winkle in December. "... We've taken UAW-GM off the suit ... so we can attempt ... to regain the money we felt we've lost from those various agents we've gone through in this deal, including Tom Winkle and Corporate Sports Marketing," Mattioli said. "If we can't regain what we've lost from those agents, then we'll probably have to include GM-UAW." Corporate Sports Marketing, which helped design the racing program for UAW-GM, also has filed suit against Winkle, who has not commented on the matter.

Terry Labonte has started every Winston Cup race since the season-opener in 1979 at Riverside Raceway, which is now defunct. Terry hopes to start his 500th consecutive race on Sept. 17 at Dover, Del., and would break Petty's mark - 513 consecutive starts - next April at Martinsville, Va.

Bill Elliott's Million Dollar Challenge ---------------------- Hershey Chocolate USA, whose Reese's Peanut Butter Cups is an associate sponsor of the Ford Thunderbird Elliott campaigns on the Winston Cup circuit, announced a promotion the Sunday before the UAW-GM Teamwork 500 at Pocono International Raceway. The promotion is built in part around Elliott's "Million Dollar Bill" nickname that he acquired that 10 years ago, when he won $1 million in the Winston Million on-track promotion by R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Co. Since then, nobody else has been able to collect that bonus payment, which goes to any driver winning three of NASCAR's top four races in the same season. This new challenge, in a mini-car styled after a stock car, will be staged next year on a course to be set up in front of the grandstands either at Pocono, Charlotte or Daytona. Bill will go head-to-head with a racing fan selected at random from mail-in entries, which are posted on Reese's displays. The challenge is not open to anyone who has ever participated in organized racing at any level, or are "regulars" who have establish against-the-clock times in mini-cars or go-karts. Elliott said: "If he can beat me, maybe we'll put him in the race car the next week. I think this is a great promotion, because it gives the average fan a chance to run against me." A signature-series Ford Thunderbird and other prizes go to the participant should Elliott lose. The promoter is also making a $10,000 contribution in Elliott's name to the Children's Miracle Network.

Rumors, Rumors and more Rumors ------------------------ The continuing saga of the Pontiac shuffle..... Seems that there is a rumor that NASCAR is intentionally not "helping" the Ford teams in a coordinated effort to get more of them to switch over to Pontiacs next year.

Also, the latest Ford Thunderbird team to have been noted as jumping ship is the Chad Little/Mark Rypien team, but no confirmation from either the driver or owner yet.

Happy Motoring :-) =Ken=

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Series NASCAR Cup
Drivers Dale Earnhardt , John Andretti , Rich Bickle , Derrike Cope , Bill Elliott , Jeff Gordon , Dale Jarrett , Bobby Labonte , Terry Labonte , Rusty Wallace , Michael Waltrip , Hut Stricklin , Chad Little , Tim Brewer , Greg Sacks , Davey Allison