Tuesday news 97-08-19

NASCARFans E-Mail List Mark Martin and Jeff Gordon are nose-to-nose in their fight for the NASCAR Winston Cup championship, with Martin and the Jack Roush camp showing signs of having picked up some horsepower over the past few weeks. Martin...

NASCARFans E-Mail List

Mark Martin and Jeff Gordon are nose-to-nose in their fight for the NASCAR Winston Cup championship, with Martin and the Jack Roush camp showing signs of having picked up some horsepower over the past few weeks.

Martin led 69 of the first 85 laps of Sunday's DeVilbiss 400 before a cut tire cost him two laps. But Martin rallied and finally got the lead from Gordon for good with 64 miles to go.

''I thought it was going to go up in smoke when that tire let go,'' Martin said. ''I got down under 100 mph, and I'd thought you ought to be able to drive a car that slow even if the wheel fell off. But I still almost lost it.

''And it knocked the crush panels out, and at that point my concentration was kind of scattered because I had all this stuff going on. I went into the points-racing mode at that point.

''As the race went on, winning became a realistic goal again. But I didn't think we could. We were far behind. The worst thing that can happen is to expect to win and then it not happen. So I didn't let myself expect very much until we got the lead. ''But I haven't had a race car this good in a long time, not in '96, not in '97. But this has been our best car; it's the car we had at Texas and California (two races he also dominated). And we ran third here in June, almost had everyone covered until the last pit stop, when, for some reason, Ernie (Irvan) and Bill Elliott just drove away and hid on me.''

Martin said that he and Roush's crew are tightening up for the run toward the elusive title.

''We are pretty low-keyed guys, and we keep pretty cool,'' Martin said. ''We don't make a big deal out of very much. But I would like to be taken seriously by the media and the fans . . . because you don't get to where we are by being goof-ups.'' (Mike Mulhern, JournalNow)

I'm gonna run a little poll here. I've read some news reports where the writers put down Jeff Burton for letting Mark Martin regain his lap, and Mark ends up winning the Michigan race. Jeff called it teamwork. One writer I read said it sure wasn't racing.

What do you think? Should Jeff have let Mark by, or should he have fought to keep him down a lap?

PLEASE KEEP YOUR REPLIES BRIEF (20 WORDS OR LESS), AND ONE REPLY PER SUBSCRIBER!!!!!!!!!!!!! I don't have time to read 2600+ 3 page disertations on the merits and minuses of Jeff letting Mark by, plus the mail is forwarded to my work e-mail account, and I don't think they would like the volume.

PLEASE SEND YOUR OPINION TO MIKE@NASCARFANS.COM. DO NOT REPLY TO THIS NASCARFANS POST. Tomorrow I'll report the results, the good Lord willing.

Continuing a theme that has become common this year on the BGN circuit, rookie driver Steve Park took his Dale and Teresa Earnhardt-owned Chevy to Victory Lane at Michigan International Speedway. It was the second BGN victory for the former Modified standout, his first coming earlier this season at Nashville Speedway. Park played the fuel mileage game and won, outlasting WC counterparts Jimmy Spencer and Bobby Labonte who finished second and third, respectively. (country.com)

Jack Sprague had to overcome two adversaries during the Federated Auto Parts 250. One, he had to triumph over his reputation as only capable of winning on a big speedway track. Two, he had to take the win away from "Re-Start" Ron Hornaday. He accomplished both with his characteristic grit and left Nashville, with a "gee-tar," $43,000, and a crewchief with a shaved head. The traditional Nashville Winner's Circle presentation of a guitar to the victor was augmented by the pay-up of a bet made by Sprague's crewchief Dennis Conner. He had said that when his driver won on a short track he would shave his head, and he was true to his word. It's unknown what he'll do if his driver wins on the upcoming NCTS road course race at Watkins Glen on August 24th. (country.com)

In 1998, Team 34 which Todd Bodine and Mike McLaughlin drive for has added a third driver. McLaughlin will still drive the #34 Royal Oak Chevrolet and they are looking for a driver to fill in for Todd in the #36. The new driver is Mike Cope. Mike will be driving the #30 Slim Jim Chevrolets for Team 34 (Raceday 8/17/97). Thanks, JF.

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

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Series NASCAR Cup
Drivers Jeff Burton , Bill Elliott , Jeff Gordon , Bobby Labonte , Todd Bodine , Steve Park , Jimmy Spencer , Ron Hornaday Jr. , Mike McLaughlin , Jack Sprague , Jack Roush , Mark Martin