Dura-Lube/Big Kmart 400 Sunday notebook By Shawn A. Akers ROCKINGHAM, N.C. (Feb. 21, 1999) Some notes and quotes following Sunday's NASCAR Winston Cup Dura-Lube/Big Kmart 400 at North Carolina Speedway: Second place ain't so bad. At least...
Dura-Lube/Big Kmart 400 Sunday notebook By Shawn A. Akers
ROCKINGHAM, N.C. (Feb. 21, 1999) Some notes and quotes following Sunday's NASCAR Winston Cup Dura-Lube/Big Kmart 400 at North Carolina Speedway:
Second place ain't so bad. At least for Dale Jarrett, who one might think would be tired of it at Rockingham by now.
Jarrett, who finished runner-up to Mark Martin in Sunday's race at The Rock, has now finished second in six of the last seven races held at the 1.017-mile oval. It's a track where he's yet to get to Victory Lane during his NASCAR Winston Cup Series career.
"With this race team, there are a lot of those races (at Rockingham) where we've come away disappointed finishing second, but today is a day that we're pretty happy and very fortunate to be talking about finishing second," the driver of the No. 88 Quality Care/Ford Credit Taurus said. "We needed this. It really helps out a lot."
Jarrett, who finished 36th last week in the Daytona 500, made a big jump in the standings. He's now tied for 13th with Robert Pressley, 88 points behind leader Mike Skinner.
There was no joy in the Earnhardt camp on this Sunday. Seven-time NASCAR Winston Cup Series champion Dale Earnhardt, who came up just short of winning his second straight Daytona 500 last week, hit the wall on lap 279 and finished a disappointing 41st.
"I was of the gas pretty much and when I got in the corner, the car just started to take off," Earnhardt said. "I thought I caught it, but it hit the loose stuff and did hit the wall, then. The wreck happened in front of us on the front straightaway. I got off the gas and went rolling into one. The car just took off.
"It wasn't handling all day long. We were handling a big push after about 30 laps. I was fighting it the whole time. We didn't have the combination today."
It's a rare occasion when a Roush Racing motor gives way, but that happened to Kevin Lepage on Sunday. The driver of the No. 16 PRIMESTAR Ford was forced to drop out of the race after his engine failed midway through the event.
"Roush doesn't usually have too many motor problems, but for the PRIMESTAR team, this is two years in a row," Lepage said. "Last fall, we had problems in the motor. This year, the PRIMESTAR Ford Taurus had problems with the motor again. I'm tellin' ya - we got a great race car. We're running' in the top-10, top-15 all day long. Rockingham just don't like these powerplants."
Lepage wound up finishing next-to-last, ahead of only Kyle Petty.
Ernie Irvan spun out on lap 210, but it was Ted Musgrave who was the unfortunate bystander. As Irvan got loose off Turn 2, Musgrave had nowhere to go, and spun out tryring to miss the No. 36.
There was significant damage to the No. 75 Remington Arms Ford and he did return to the race, but Musgrave wound up finishing 40th.
"I had to turn left pretty hard and get up in the marbles," Musgrave said. "It was either that, or t-bone Ernie right in the door. I didn't want to hurt anybody. It's just unfortunate because it hurt us bad in the points. But at least he's (Irvan) okay. Actually, the car was running pretty good."
Ricky Rudd's weekend celebration was short-lived. Rudd, who won his first Bud Pole since 1995 Saturday, dropped back quickly and was out of the top-10 by lap 25.
The driver of the No. 10 Tide Ford fought an ill-handling car throughout the entire event, and wound up finishing 30th, eight laps down to Martin.
"We weren't very good in Happy Hour and we never got going today," said Rudd, who led only the first three laps. "We were pitiful as a matter of fact. I don't really know. We tried some different shocks that we haven't run before, that's the only thing different from where we were in the fall. In the fall we qualified seventh and finished 10th on the lead lap. I don't know if the shocks bit us or what, but man, we just missed it."
In NASCAR Busch Series Grand National Division news, CT/Farm & Country General, an agricultural specialty retailer with 225 stores serving the agricultural hardware and related needs of rural customers, announced Sunday morning that it would sponsor the No. 43 Mike Curb-owned Chevrolet, with driver Shane Hall, for the remainder of the 1999 season.
Source: NASCAR Online