Tuesday news 97-07-22

NASCARFans E-Mail List The multicar Roush Racing team is expanding its racing influence in Winston Cup. The business arm of Roush Racing has taken over the business operations of the ...

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The multicar Roush Racing team is expanding its racing influence in Winston Cup. The business arm of Roush Racing has taken over the business operations of the #97 Pontiac owned by Greg Pollex and NFL quarterback Mark Rypien, and is serving as a business consultant for the team. Roush Racing is already building engines for the Pontiac driven by Chad Little and there is a strong possibility the team will become part of the Roush multicar juggernaut later this year. Jack Roush's racing interests are multi-manufacturer--his Roush Industries does R&D for all the Big Three manufacturers. For example, he builds Oldsmobile Aurora engines to compete in the Indy Racing League (IRL), and fields three Fords in Winston Cup. Adding a Pontiac to his Winston Cup stable wouldn't be abnormal for his operations but certainly not the norm in Stock car's premier series. Little and Deere have reportedly signed a one-year contract extension. (country.com)

Jayksi reports that the top five new teams(after the Penn 500) are: #team(points place, +/- from last race) - #44(17,+2);#36(25,0);#31(27,+2);#96(38,0);#97(39,0)

Amusing NASCAR History Item: There was one Grand National event which got the green flag, but never became an official chapter in NASCAR history. That occurred at Tulsa, OK on August 4, 1956. A 100-mile Grand National event was scheduled and 32 laps went into the record books when dust conditions became unbearable. Lee Petty, driving in the race, parked his car in the pits, sprinted across the track and climbed into the flagstand. He took the red flag from the starter and red flagged the race himself. The spectators received a refund, and the race was never rescheduled. (country.com)

When first-round qualifying was completed for the recent Pepsi 400, driver Jimmy Spencer had qualified fifth in his Ford and Michael Waltrip had placed his Ford eighth in qualifying. Just another qualifying effort for these two? Hardly. Their competing cars had been set up by the same shock absorber specialist: Vince Valleriano. In what may be the first case of more to come of formally sharing technical resources between independent Winston Cup teams, Valleriano has joined a combined technology effort between the Wood Brothers and Smokin' Joe's Racing teams. He will be handling the shock program for both teams and also significantly involved with both race cars' chassis set-up. Shock absorber calibration, building, and track-tuning is an expertise required at the WC level now, and most teams have a designated "shock man" to do so, or the crewchief may have that responsibility. Valleriano, 33, comes to the two Winston Cup operations by way of Penske Racing Shocks, based in Redding, PA. "I've always wanted the opportunity to work with a chassis set-up from the ground up," said Valleriano. "While with Penske Racing Shocks, some weekends I would have to deal with 65 different cars. To keep all of that going, you really couldn't get that far into the cars' set-up." (country.com)

Dale Jarrett hasn't had an easy life, although the past two years have gone so well it's hard to remember that rough 1995 season when his whole world seemed to be collapsing.

This is where that season turned around, with a victory that got his career back on track. And this is where, with Sunday's victory, he got his championship run back in gear.

His trials have taught him the art of patience and the triumph of perseverance -- and have given him an uncommon grace in victory lane.

''A bad day at the track is not the end of the world,'' he says. ''We're going to keep on, and I'll have another chance next week. This is a serious business, but sometimes we take it a bit too seriously. We're not the president of the United States, and things are going to carry on. There are some things that are more important than this.

''And even if you have an off-day here, that's a whole lot better than me having a real job somewhere.''

And he smiled.

''No, I wasn't happy last Sunday at Loudon, but I was disappointed, not with the guys, because I know the effort they put forth,'' Jarrett said. '' Everybody's been asking 'Why can't you win a short-track race?' Well, at Loudon we had the car to do it. But things happen. I just didn't want the guys to get down.

''I'll be okay. I've always said if something's going to happen, let me be out front when it does. It's just that last week we caught Jeff Gordon on a really off day and we were going to be in real good shape in the points if we'd been able to finish that race, just finish it, even if we didn't win it. We were going to gain big-time.

''But that just makes it more of a challenge, this championship deal.

''We can't afford any more bad races. We may have another one, but we need to wait 'til we at least get this thing back to about 50 points, something within reason.

''We're probably going to have to pick up more than 10 points a race to beat Gordon. He's going to have to help us out somewhere along the way. But we've got a lot of racing to do. If we can keep running up front, hopefully that will put some pressure on them, and they'll make a mistake somewhere along the way.

''I think these other guys know we'd be right there with 'em in the points without these few engine problems we've had. They know we're capable of putting together a string of top-two and top-three finishes, along with a couple of wins, so they've got to be thinking about that. I don't how many points back we are -- 150, 155 -- but that's not much, and that can change in a hurry if anybody has problems.

''They have to know we're there and we're capable of getting on a roll ourselves.''

If Jarrett's bad luck is behind him -- engine trouble at Talladega, Charlotte, Dover and Loudon -- he should be in great shape for a run at the championship.

''We've just had these little things happen that don't usually happen to Robert Yates engines. It started at Talladega, with the rocker arm. Then at the Charlotte marathon . . . you had to figure the weather had to have something to do with that, our breaking a valve, because we haven't a problem like that in my three years driving here. And this spark plug deal is just beyond any of us as to why it happened.

''But you live and learn, and these things just making trying to win this championship a little more challenging.''

Solving those engine problems has been major concern for Yates and Jarrett.

''I know how good those guys are, and they said they had the problem solved, and I believe them,'' Jarrett said. ''I don't have any reservations about the engines. Now we may have something else that happens, but it won't be that that happens again.'' Concerning his engine at Pocono, Jarrett said, "This motor was incredible. It's almost unfair that the thing was that good."

Jarrett said losing to Gordon at Rockingham was a telling point for his team this season, even though it came in only the second race. Jarrett dominated that race only to watch Gordon sprint away to victory after the final round of pit stops.

''I knew they were getting opportunities in the race to continue working on their car, and they're awfully good at that,'' Jarrett said of Gordon and his crew chief, Ray Evernham. ''So we continued to adjust on ours, even as good as it was, because we wanted to make sure the Rockingham story didn't happen again, with everybody writing again about how we led the most laps but he won the race.''

As strong as Jarrett ran here, his car might be his pick for the Brickyard 400. "I'd like nothing better than to become the first two-time winner of the Brickyard," Jarrett said.

''This is a good race car, and we were going to take it to Indy, but not necessarily to test,'' he said. ''We had the car we won with last year on the truck, and then we've got a brand-new car we built just for Indy. But we may have to pull this thing out and see how it will do.

''This is a big race coming up for us. It would be incredibly special to become the first guy to win two Brickyards. The Daytona 500 and the Brickyard have probably done more for Dale Jarrett's career than anything.'' (story by Mike Mulhern on the JournalNow site, additional quotes from SpeedNet and USA Today)

Bill Elliott, the 1988 Winston Cup champion and 11-time Most Popular Driver, is the second quarter nominee for the True Value Man of the Year award. The award is based on a driver's off-track involvement with community service and charitable efforts. Elliott, who shares his time with several charitable foundations, will serve as the honorary chairman for the Dawson County (Ga.) American Cancer Society Relay for Life on July 25. The fund-raiser is dedicated to Elliott's nephew Casey, who died on Jan. 14, 1996, at the age of 21 following a two-year battle with cancer. "The things I do with charities, meeting and calling people, is not something I do for notoriety," Elliott said. "If I can make someone's day a little bit better or make a kid forget about his pain for a little while, then I feel good. Us drivers live for racing. But sometimes you have to take the time to see things outside of racing. That's what I will continue to try to do." Elliott joins Kyle Petty, the first-quarter nominee. The third-quarter recipient will be announced Sept. 16. (thestate.com)

Jeff Burton was toe-to-toe with Jeff Gordon down the stretch yesterday, leading the Jack Roush camp again in Roush's bid to catch the Rick Hendrick crew and snare an elusive first Winston Cup championship. But Burton, third in the Pennsylvania 500, didn't want to lose any short-term focus or intensity by stepping back to consider the big picture. ''As quick as we got good, we can get bad even quicker,'' Burton warned. ''Obviously, we're on the right path to success. But a lot of people have been on the right path and gotten steered off it. We sure don't take days like this for granted. We work really hard for days like this. ''We hope we're not peaking too soon. We've got a young race team, and we've got a young race-car driver, the only people with experience here are Bobby Hudson, our shop foreman, Jack Roush and Buddy Parrott. The rest of us are just a bunch of youngsters learning as we go. So, I think it's best for us not to get too wrapped up in that.'' (Mike Mulhern, JournalNow)

Roush Racing teammates Martin, Jeff Burton and Ted Musgrave rank first, second and fourth in Winston Cup points earned over the past six races. Dale Earnhardt is third in points during that stretch. (Speed Magazine)

Defending Winston Cup champion Terry Labonte had a miserable racing day Sunday in the Pennsylvania 500 in Long Pond, Pa. Not only did he finish 35th and drop from first to third in the Winston Cup standings, he also was spun out when bumped by his own brother, Bobby. The latter happening triggered an 11-car melee of spinning and diving cars. Labonte's car was struck on the left front by Dale Earnhardt's machine. Earnhardt had dived low to avoid another car. Labonte picked up only 58 points for his low finish. Teammate Jeff Gordon earned 175 and assumed command of the standings again with 2,669. Mark Martin hung in for a sixth place finish good for 160 points and advanced to second with 2,605. (SpeedNet)

When John Andretti's RCA-sponsored car passed Mark Martin to win the Pepsi 400 in Daytona two weeks ago, he got a big boost from Bill Elliott. Elliott tucked behind Andretti to give him the drafting help he needed to get the lead (instead of staying behind Martin and hanging Andretti out to dry), and Andretti was extremely grateful. "He said that he went with me because I had such a good race car; we had run a really good race and deserved to win," Andretti said. "And, he said, 'I need a TV.' " Andretti never blinked. "I told him I'd get him an RCA catalog and get him whatever he wants." (thestate.com)

Louisville, Kentucky native Scot Walters will make his NASCAR Busch Series debut on July 26 at the Gateway International Raceway driving the Brewco Motorsports No. 55 Brewco Collision Repair Chevrolet Monte Carlo in the Gateway 300. Walters, 29, currently drives the Brewco Motorsports No. 37 Red Man Chevrolet NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series entry in select events. He made his truck series debut on July 12 at the Louisville Motor Speedway, finishing seventh. Brewco Motorsports also fields the No 37 Timber Wolf Chevrolet full-time for Busch Series driver Mark Green. Both Walters and Green spent July 14 testing at the Gateway International Raceway(rasn) (Jayski)

Mike Irwin (mike@nascarfans.com) NASCAR Fans _______________________________________ NASCAR Fans Website http://www.nascarfans.com

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About this article
Series NASCAR Cup
Drivers Dale Earnhardt , John Andretti , Jeff Burton , Bill Elliott , Jeff Gordon , Dale Jarrett , Terry Labonte , Michael Waltrip , Kyle Petty , Jimmy Spencer , Ted Musgrave , Mark Green , Chad Little , Ray Evernham , Jack Roush , Robert Yates , Mark Martin , Lee Petty
Teams Team Penske