NEWS OF NOTE * TV timeout... NBC's coverage of last Sunday's Brickyard 400 was seen by an event record 21 million viewers, one million more than last year's previous high for the event, according to figures released by NBC. Based on overnight ...
NEWS OF NOTE
* TV timeout... NBC's coverage of last Sunday's Brickyard 400 was seen by an event record 21 million viewers, one million more than last year's previous high for the event, according to figures released by NBC. Based on overnight ratings compiled by Nielsen Media Research, the Brickyard 400 was the highest-rated sports event of the weekend on television.... Also, the July 28 Pennsylvania 500 was seen by 6,376,000 viewers according to Nielsen Media Research, an audience twice as big as the combined viewership of the weekend's IRL, CART and NHRA events.
* Young-gun rundown... While the hype surrounding the younger drivers on the NASCAR Winston Cup Series has subsided somewhat, it easily could be jump-started.
Here's why: Jimmie Johnson (No. 48 Lowe's Chevrolet), all of 26-years-old, is second in the points standings, only 93 behind Marlin... Johnson also leads the Raybestos Rookie of the Year standings.... 24-year-old Kurt Busch (No. 97 Rubbermaid Ford), is 10th in points.... Rookie Ryan Newman (No. 12 ALLTEL Ford), also 24, is 12th in points... And then there's always the shadow cast by 27-year-old Dale Earnhardt Jr. (No. 8 Budweiser Chevrolet) and 26-year-old Kevin Harvick (No. 29 GM Goodwrench Service Chevrolet). Earnhardt and Harvick aren't title contenders this season but in name recognition, they are the leaders of NASCAR's"new wave."
* Hired-gun rundown... .The road-course races in the NASCAR Winston Cup Series always bring out road-course specialists, some with road-specific teams, others as stand-ins for NASCAR Winston Cup drivers who aren't as comfortable on road courses. This week's specialists:
** Austin Cameron, a NASCAR Winston West Series standout, in the No. 62 NAPA Tools and Equipment Chevrolet;
** Former Trans-Am Series champion Scott Pruett, also a former NASCAR Winston Cup and open-wheel driver, in the No. 41 Target Dodge. Jimmy Spencer, normally in the No. 41, will drive a No. 42 Target Dodge;
** PJ Jones, son of 1963 Indianapolis 500 winner Parnelli Jones, in the No. 14 Conseco Pontiac owned by four-time Indy champion A.J. Foyt;
** Shane Lewis, who normally races sports cars, in the No. 09 National Healing Corporation/Otto Motorsports Ford, trying to qualify for his first NASCAR Winston Cup race. The No. 09 is owned by Edgar Otto Jr. of Boca Raton, Fla. and honors his father, Edward Otto Sr., who will be inducted into the National Motorsports Press Association Hall of Fame in Darlington, S.C. on Aug. 31. The elder Otto was NASCAR's first vice president and was heavily involved in promoting events, particularly in the Northeast, for NASCAR. Among the events that Otto promoted was the first NASCAR event at Watkins Glen International 45 years ago;
** Boris Said, current Trans-Am Series points leader, in the No. 67 Ford;
** Justin Bell, a Trans-Am competitor and the son of English sports-racing legend Derek Bell, in the No. 46 Ettore Squeeges Ford;
** Joe Varde, a sports-car and drag-racing veteran and stock car engine builder, in the No. 74 Chevrolet;
** And Tom Hubert, who may be the most interesting" cameo" driver set for The Glen. Hubert, set to drive the No. 23 Hills Bros. Coffee Dodge in place of Hut Stricklin, started the season as the rear tire changer for owner Bill Davis' No. 23 team, but recently switched to the No. 22 Caterpillar Dodge driven by Daytona 500 champion Ward Burton. Hubert will be gunning for his seventh NASCAR Winston Cup Series career start. He's an experienced road racer who has also competed in the NASCAR Busch Series, Grand National Division, the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series and the Featherlite Southwest Series, NASCAR Touring division. Hubert has raced three times at Infineon Raceway (1997-1999) and twice at Watkins Glen (1998 and 2000) with a career-best 28th-place finish in Sonoma in 1997. Hubert's best NASCAR Winston Cup start came in 1999 when he shocked the field by qualifying fourth at Las Vegas Motor Speedway before finishing 28th. The Cottonwood, Calif. native has been working with BDR since March of 2000. His best start on a road course was 10th at Infineon Raceway in 1998.
Etc.... There have been 14 different race winners in the first 21 races of the season.... Jeff Gordon's winless streak has been garnering plenty of attention. Relatively overlooked, in the meantime, has been an enviable streak he has going. Gordon has been running at the finish in 52 consecutive races. The late Dale Earnhardt holds the modern-era record at 53. Herman Beam set the all-time record for consecutive races of running at the finish, 84. (Martinsville-April 30, 1961 through Hillsboro-March 10,1963).
WHAT'S THE WORD?
"Us old guys are going to have to step it up a little bit, but we'll try to hold our own with [the younger guys]. I'm 45, so I still feel young. I'll take' em on in football anytime.'' - Sterling Marlin, the NASCAR Winston Cup Series points leader who was an all-state high school quarterback in Columbia, Tenn.
FROM THE ARCHIVES
Buck Baker won the second of his back-to-back NASCAR Winston Cup Series championships in 1957. Along the way that season, he won the series' first race at Watkins Glen, averaging 82.08 mph in a Chevrolet. Baker started on the pole.