NOTES AND QUOTES California Speedway April 30, 1999 PONTIAC POWER: Pontiac has put up remarkably improved numbers through the first nine NASCAR Winston Cup races of the season as compared to last year. Pontiac Grand Prix drivers have ...
NOTES AND QUOTES California Speedway April 30, 1999
PONTIAC POWER: Pontiac has put up remarkably improved numbers through the first nine NASCAR Winston Cup races of the season as compared to last year. Pontiac Grand Prix drivers have posted nine top-five and 22 top-10 finishes. At the same point last year, Pontiac had three top-five and nine top-10 finishes. That's an increase of 166.6 percent on top-fives and 144.4 percent on top-10s. Pontiac is still third in the NASCAR manufacturers point standings, but the top Grand Prix driver has beaten the top-running driver of one of the other makes in five of nine races this season. The top Grand Prix finisher has defeated the top Chevy finisher in four of nine races this season. All the improvement isn't lost on M&M's Pontiac Grand Prix driver Ernie Irvan. "The Pontiac is a great car," Irvan said. "Right now with the way the spoilers are, it is amazing that we still have this discussion (about whether the Pontiac can compete on even terms with Ford and Chevy). Right now all the cars are real close. In California, a lot of aerodynamics are going to affect cars. Normally, the Pontiac has been a real good car at a real aerodynamic race track." Four Pontiac drivers rank in the top 12 in the point standings -- Bobby Labonte (fourth), Tony Stewart (seventh), Ward Burton (11th) and John Andretti (12th). The only Pontiac driver ranked in the top 12 last year at this point was Labonte (seventh).
INCE HIRED BY BAHARI': James Ince, former crew chief for Ted Musgrave last season and Kevin Lepage this year before resigning, has been hired as a consultant for owner Chuck Rider's Jimmy Dean Pontiac team this weekend. Derrike Cope, the 1990 Daytona 500 champion and native of San Diego, is the driver. "Chuck called me and I didn't have anything going and he asked if I would come over and consult with them a little bit," Ince said. "This is a good race team and they're just trying to get through a few problems to get themselves in a better competitive position. Basically, I'm just here to help. I'll try to answer any questions they have and give them any input I have to make this program a little bit better. "I've actually been able to stay home the last few weeks playing with my kid. I've got a 10-month old son, so I've enjoyed that a whole lot. It's been nice to have a chance to do that. "I don't have any kind of magic to just instantly turn this team around. I'm just here to give any help that I can offer. Maybe there's nothing I can do for these guys that they aren't already doing. I'm looking at it as an opportunity to help Chuck out. I was at the shop a couple of days this week and I wish I had had more time to spend with the guys. But I have spent some time with (crew chief) Dan Glauz, Chuck and Derrike. Hopefully, I can benefit them some."