DieHard 250 Sunday Notebook Shawn A. Akers WEST ALLIS, Wis. (July 5, 1998) Some notes and quotes surrounding Sunday's NASCAR Busch Series Grand National Division DieHard 250 at The Milwaukee Mile: Several rumors swirled around The...
DieHard 250 Sunday Notebook Shawn A. Akers
WEST ALLIS, Wis. (July 5, 1998) Some notes and quotes surrounding Sunday's NASCAR Busch Series Grand National Division DieHard 250 at The Milwaukee Mile:
Several rumors swirled around The Milwaukee Mile this weekend, some involving Kevin Lepage, driver of the No. 40 ChannelLock Chevrolet in the NASCAR Busch Series. The rumors, however, centered around Lepage's immediate future in the NASCAR Winston Cup Series.
Lepage said Sunday morning that, as of now, he has no plans to drive a NASCAR Winston Cup Series car next weekend in the Jiffy Lube 300 at New Hampshire International Speedway. "Right now, I just plan to go up there as a spectactor," Lepage said. "I won't be in the 16 car (the No. 16 Primestar Ford of Roush Racing), and I don't know if I'll ever be in the 16 car. No one has offered me a ride for New Hampshire, so I'm just going to be a spectator up there as far as I know right now."
David Green posted another strong run in the No. 36 Stanley Tools Pontiac. Green, who finished fifth in his debut with Team 34 last Sunday in the Lysol 200 at Watkins Glen International, came back with a fourth-place run this Sunday. After being released from his NASCAR Winston Cup Series duties with the No. 96 Caterpillar team in early June, Green was hired to replace Matt Hutter in the Stanley Tools Pontiac and has not let owners Frank Cicci and Scott Welliver down. "What a great run for Team 34, Stanley, Pontiac, the whole nine yards," Green said. "to run up front like we did -- Dale (Earnhardt) Jr., he had his act together. It's really tough, but it was a great race. It's just good to be back in a series where you can run up front and have a little fun."
Kat Teasdale got some valuable laps in during her NASCAR Busch Series debut on Sunday. The driver of the No. 54 IGA Chevrolet wound up finishing 31st overall, 13 laps down to race winner Earnhardt. Unlike some of her fellow competitors, Teasdale stayed out of trouble, but just couldn't keep pace with the leaders. Teasdale finished one position behind the other woman in the race, Patty Moise. The driver of the No. 14 Rhodes Furniture Ford finished nine laps down to Earnhardt.
Wisconsin native Dick Trickle had a tough time of it. The driver of the No. 64 Schneider National Chevrolet, hoping to earn a victory in front of a partisan crowd, experienced major engine problems early in the race and had his day cut short. Trickle finished dead last in 41st place after completing only 27 of the 250 laps. "In happy hour (Saturday's final practice), we had a great car, handling good and all that, a brand new bumper-to-bumper Schneider National car here. I tell you what, we felt we weren't handling that well down the straightaways in happy hour, so we elected to put a new motor in this morning. "At the start, something was wrong with it. This is very unusual for this team, cause we have very little trouble like that. Evidently, there was just something wrong with the motor, it wouldn't run off the start. Then, of course, it started smoking and it was going to blow up, so we had to pull out."
It wasn't all bad news for the home folks, though. Matt Kenseth, a native of Cambridge, Wis., and the NASCAR Busch Series points leader, overcame a couple of trouble spots throughout the afternoon and wound up finishing fifth to protect his points lead. After 17 of 31 events, Kenseth holds a slim two-point lead over Mike McLaughlin in the point standings and 20 points ahead of Earnhardt. He has two wins this season, at Rockingham and Pikes Peak. "The Lycos Chevrolet, we've got a really good race team," said team owner Robbie Reiser. "We've been doing everything we can do trying to get top-fives and stay in this point battle." "We weren't going to win the race, we weren't that good," Kenseth said. "But it was another solid run for this team and we've got to continue doing what we're doing to stay on top of the points."
Tony Stewart, driver of the No. 44 Shell Oil Pontiac, was forced to start from the rear of the field after missing the morning driver's meeting. Stewart was originally scheduled to start 16th, but started 40th on the grid. He eventually hooked with Elton Sawyer, who won the Bud Pole Saturday but was forced to start 41st after an infraction of the rules concerning his fuel during qualifying, and made his way through the field and actually cracked the top-10 at one point. Stewart finished a respectable 12th. "To come out of here with a 12th, I mean, we're not happy with it, but a 12th-place on a bad day with these guys is not bad. I feel like we're still making ground, and when we finish the races, we're finishing in the top-15, so I'm still happy with that."
Randy LaJoie scored a top-10, but it certainly wasn't what he was expecting. The two-time defending NASCAR Busch Series champion won last year's DieHard 250 at The Milwaukee Mile, but finished 10th Sunday, one lap down to Earnhardt. "It wasn't the same as last year," said LaJoie, currently fourth in the standings. "Nobody had anything for the 3 car, but I ran right there with the 38 (Elton Sawyer) at the end and stuff. One of these times, we'll get three decent sets of tires and we'll be all set. Until then, we'll just keep hanging on."
Source: NASCAR Online