Touchstone Energy 300 Friday Notebook By Dave Rodman TALLADEGA, Ala. (April 24, 1998) Notes and quotes leading up to Saturday's NASCAR Busch Series Grand National Division Touchstone Energy 300 at Talladega Superspeedway: In one of the ...
Touchstone Energy 300 Friday Notebook By Dave Rodman
TALLADEGA, Ala. (April 24, 1998) Notes and quotes leading up to Saturday's NASCAR Busch Series Grand National Division Touchstone Energy 300 at Talladega Superspeedway:
In one of the biggest surprises of the Touchstone Energy 300 weekend, Jeff Krogh of Kamiah, Idaho, drafted his way to the top of the NASCAR Busch Series Grand National Division "Happy Hour" practice sheet on Friday afternoon.
Krogh, whose Bud Pole Qualifying speed was disallowed and who qualified 29th in second-round qualifying at 185.441 mph, was clocked at 191.417 mph in his No. 56 Clearwater Forest Industries Chevrolet in final practice.
Defending race winner Mark Martin, Raybestos Brakes Rookie of the Year candidate Mike Cope, Kevin Lepage and Hermie Sadler rounded out the top-five in the final practice.
Mike McLaughlin, the NASCAR Busch Series "Most Popular Driver" in 1997, will start on the outside of the front row and is fairly confident he can pull off a win in the $673,409 Touchstone Energy 300 win.
"We have the same car that won the pole in Daytona, so we know how fast it can be," said McLaughlin, who was eliminated from contention in a lap 8 accident last year. "Track position is so important, not only here, but everywhere we race. The competition level is getting higher every year and you have to be on your game to be up front.
"Talladega is different than Daytona in the fact that you have more racing room and it is a little more forgiving. Daytona is more of a handling race track than Talladega. At Daytona earlier this year, we knew we had a great race car, but my drafting experience cost the team. Hopefully, I can take what I learned there and use it to our advantage Saturday. We know we have great horsepower with Ron Hutter engines, now the driver has to do his part and keep the Goulds Pumps Chevrolet up front."
Loy Allen qualified 12th -- Mark III Motorsports' best effort of the season -- and then celebrated with the team when Church McLaughlin's sponsor, Goulds Pumps, will host a hospitality event for more than 150 guests on race day. McLaughlin, who stands in fourth place in the 1998 NASCAR Busch Series point standings, only 85 points behind leader Dale Earnhardt Jr., will visit the tent for autographs and pictures with guests on Saturday morning.
Justin Boots continues to evaluate the feasibility of initiating a full-season with driver Jason Keller's Progressive Motorsports team. Justin is on the quarter panels of Keller's No. 57 Chevrolet for the third time this season, following appearances at Texas and Hickory, N.C.
The hottest spot in the NASCAR Busch Series garage area on Saturday was right outside the Lincoln Electric welding station, where a double grill was set up to feed burgers and chips, fixings and drinks to an incessant line of drivers, crewmen, media and onlookers.
Four of the five Fords that qualified for the Touchstone Energy 300 were Thunderbirds, including the quickest Ford of Stanton Barrett, the No. 89 Fiberall/Allerest car, which lines up 20th. The T-birds of Ed Berrier (24th), Mark Martin (34th) and Jason Jarrett (41st) made the race, while the Tauruses of Rick Wilson and Patty Moise were DNQ. Elton Sawyer's Taurus will line up 39th.
Mark Green, driver of the No. 37 Timber Wolf Chevrolet who will start 22nd in the Touchstone Energy 300, is one of only two NASCAR Busch Series drivers to take part in NASCAR's "Night in Hollywood -- A Golden Celebration." The gala event will be hosted by Don Johnson on May 1 at the historic Wiltern Theatre in Hollywood, California. Green will participate in a segment of the show honoring the many families who make up the NASCAR community. Green has led more miles than any other NASCAR Busch Series regular in 1998 and stands 10th in the point standings.
Country music performer Daron Norwood will sing the National Anthem before Saturday's Touchstone Energy 300.
Shop-A-Snak, a convenience store chain with 30 locations throughout Alabama, is an associate sponsor on the No. 37 Timber Wolf Chevrolet Monte Carlo for the Touchstone Energy 300 at Talladega Superspeedway.
On Monday, April 20, employees of Rhodes Furniture, The Berkline Corporation, Simmons, Kroehler, Kincaid and La-Z-Boy had the opportunity to visit the shop of the No. 14 NASCAR Busch Series Grand National division team they sponsor with driver Patty Moise. The guests visited the shop facilities of Michael Waltrip Inc., where race cars and equipment were on display. Car-owner Michael Waltrip was thrilled that the buyers could take time out of their schedule to visit. "This was a great opportunity for the sponsors to meet the team and see the facilities," Waltrip said. "We are proud of what our guys have done so far this season and it was a great time to bring them down with the Furniture Market in town (High Point, N.C., often called the 'Furniture Capital of the World.')"
Demonstrations of mock pit stops highlighted evening. Members of the Rhodes Racing team performed several four-tire pit stops. After watching the stops, brave members of the audience took over the roles of jack man, tire carrier and tire changer with the help from the actual team members.
"We are delighted to have the opportunity to show our sponsors what we do and how we do it," said Moise, who unfortunately was closed-out of the field Friday in qualifying for the Touchstone Energy 300. "I feel very fortunate that Rhodes and their associates have come on board for the next two years, and am proud to show them a Busch Series facility like this one."
Source: NASCAR Online