Sonoma: News of Notes

ON THE RIGHT TRACK * Tony Stewart (No. 20 Home Depot Pontiac) won last year's Dodge/Save Mart 350, after starting third. * Jeff Gordon (No. 24 DuPont Chevrolet) is considered one of the premier road-racers in the NASCAR Winston Cup Series, for...

ON THE RIGHT TRACK

* Tony Stewart (No. 20 Home Depot Pontiac) won last year's Dodge/Save Mart 350, after starting third.

* Jeff Gordon (No. 24 DuPont Chevrolet) is considered one of the premier road-racers in the NASCAR Winston Cup Series, for good reason. He has a total of seven road-course victories; three have come at Sears Point-- in 1998,' 99 and 2000.

* Rusty Wallace (No. 2 Miller Lite Ford) is another driver comfortable with right-hand turns, evidenced by his four career road-course victories. Two have come at Sears Point-- in 1990 and' 96.

NEWS OF NOTE

* No contest: NASCAR continues to win ratings game...In the final overnight ratings, last Sunday's Sirius Satellite 400 at Michigan International Speedway, televised by FOX, more than quadrupled the rating of that day's two open-wheel races (IRL on ABC and CART on CBS).... In the national ratings from the previous week, the Pocono 500 was viewed by an estimated 7,961,000 people, a number more than 10 times greater than the estimated viewership for the IRL race that weekend, and more than 20 times greater than the CART event. And the NASCAR Busch Series reinforced its status as the nation's No.2 motorsports series; the series' race in Nashville was viewed by 1,230,000, a number exceeding IRL and CART combined.

* Leader Bonus at $110,000; three possible winners...The NASCAR Winston Cup Leader Bonus has reached $110,000 for this week's race at Sears Point. The bonus is awarded weekly to the race winner, if that winner also leads the series points standings. The bonus starts at $10,000 and increases weekly in $10,000 increments--"rolling over"-- if a race winner doesn't also lead the points. At Sears Point, three drivers have a chance to collect the $110,000: Sterling Marlin, Jimmie Johnson and Jeff Gordon, the current top three in points. The highest payout from the bonus program was in 2000 when Bobby Labonte got $190,000 for winning the Brickyard 400 and leading the points.

* Southwestern Exposure... In an effort to gain more seat time on this challenging 2-mile layout, RCR drivers Robby Gordon, Jeff Green and Kevin Harvick are scheduled to compete Saturday in the Snap-On Tools/Jelly Belly 200 Featherlite Southwest Series, NASCAR Touring event. Among this trio, Harvick has the most experience in the 2,900-pound race cars; he was the 1995 Featherlite Southwest Series rookie of the year and has three series wins. His most recent victory in the series came in 1999 at the half-mile Mesa Marin Raceway in Bakersfield, Calif. Ken Schrader, who won the Featherlite Southwest Series season-opener at Phoenix earlier this year, will field a car for veteran road course driver Boris Said. Saturday's event marks the 15th time the Featherlite Southwest Series has raced at Sears Point since 1987.

WHAT'S THE WORD?

"I'd like to see Robby Gordon around for a long, long time. Right now, Robby is a lot better than the teams and the cars we're giving him."-- Team owner Richard Childress, addressing speculation about Gordon's future with Richard Childress Racing.

FROM THE ARCHIVES

Ricky Rudd won the first NASCAR Winston Cup Series race at Sears Point, in 1989. Driving a Buick owned by drag-racing great Kenny Bernstein, Rudd averaged 76.088 mph. Rusty Wallace finished second in a Pontiac.

-nascar-

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About this article
Series NASCAR Cup
Drivers Jeff Gordon , Bobby Labonte , Tony Stewart , Rusty Wallace , Ken Schrader , Kenny Bernstein , Boris Said , Kevin Harvick , Jeff Green , Sterling Marlin , Robby Gordon , Jimmie Johnson
Teams Richard Childress Racing