The Salina Journal from Salina, Kansas on October 9, 1997 · Page 20
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The Salina Journal from Salina, Kansas · Page 20

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Thursday, October 9, 1997
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D4 THURSDAY, OCTOBER 9, 1997 AUTO RACING THE SALINA JOURNAL Stewart everybody's star of tomorrow RACING NOTES Indy Racing League points leader may be in Winston Cup by '99 By MIKE HARRIS The Associated Press Everybody wants to make Tony Stewart a star. When the Indy Racing League started up at the beginning of the 1996 sea- 4 son, Stew"I really don't know very much about stock cars. But I'm learning pretty quick." Tony Stewart Indy Racing League driver its star of tomorrow. On Satu r d a y night at Las Vegas Motor Speedway, tomorrow may be today as Stewart ^ tries to wrap up his first IRL championship in a season in which he finally got his first IRL victory. But that's only the beginning for the 26-year-old from Indianapolis. Now it's NASCAR that is looking for Stewart to be one of its stars, especially after the showing he made last weekend at Charlotte Motor Speedway, finishing a career-high third in a Busch Grand National stock car race on the 1.5- mile banked oval. Talladega Superspeedway guilt to be the biggest, fastest add most eompatitive m< in the world, the track opened as Alabama ImertlatiCdial in September 1969, Records for both speed and corfipetltlon have been established at Talladega. Turn 3 * lfri \ • 1 " m • lLJfc.it i :Ammm*.M W 174 JLUHUJUUH START/FINISH; i ' " . >* Sears DleHard 500 TRACK LENGTH: 2.66 miles RACE LENGTH: 188 laps, 500 miles DEFENDING CHAMP: Jeff Gordon RACE RECORD: Bill Elliott, 186.288 mph, set May 5,1985 QUALIFYING RECORD: Bill Elliott, 212.809 mph 1 , set April 30,1987 Stewart, who says he will continue driving for Team Menard in the IRL, has also signed a contract with Joe Gibbs Racing to run Pontiacs full time in the Busch Series next year, and he'll probably move up to Winston Cup in 1999. "The most important thing I AP learned out there (last Saturday) was patience," Stewart said. "There were a lot of times on the restarts, I would pick the wrong line to go with and got shuffled to the back. It took some patience to get to the front. "We had Dale Earnhardt's spotter working for us, and Bryant Frazier, my crew chief, did a great job keeping me calm all day, getting me in my rhythm and going forward. I just kept listening to them and it all came together for us." Team owner Joe Gibbs, who plans to eventually pair Stewart with current Winston Cup driver Bobby Labonte, said: "We're not surprised by what Tony did at Charlotte. We knew he was capable of being a fast learner." Stewart isn't fooled by quick success, though. He knows the learning curve will be a long one in stock cars. "Everyone thinks I'm an Indy- car racer, but I'm not," he noted. "I'm a sprint car-midget racer that got an Indy-car ride. I really don't know very much about stock cars. But I'm learning pretty quick." Stewart, who crashed in his first two Busch races this season, will have two more Busch Series starts this year — at Rockingham and Homestead. "We've worked on our short- track program my first two starts, and now we're dealing with the intermediate speedways, and it's tough to expect to get the feel of these cars all at once," Stewart said. "I'm just trying to pick it up a little bit at a time. "I know the team has the capability of running well and winning races because Bobby has done well with them. That kind of takes a load off my shoulders and eliminates a lot of guesswork. If we have a bad day, I know it's my fault." Coca-Cola Co. signed with NASCAR to become the official drink of stock-car racing for undisclosed terms, outbidding soft-drink rival PepsiCo Inc. Atlanta-based Coke already sponsors the longest race on the Winston Cup championship circuit, the Coca-Cola 600 held at Charlotte Speedway in May. Nascar racing, one of the fastest-growing spectator sports in the U.S., is yet another arena In which the two heavyweight soft-drink companies compete for marketing rights. Purchase, New York-based PepsiCo has maintained a 40-year relationship with the National Association of Stock Car Auto Racing. It still controls vending rights at 14 of its 20 tracks and also sponsors Winston Cup series leader Jeff Gordon and two races on the stock-car championship circuit, including one at renowned Daytona Speedway. "We're still In the pole position," said Pepsi spokesman Brad Shaw. Competitor Dr Pepper Co. entered the race for NASCAR exposure by agreeing in September to sponsor the first black- owned racing team in the past 25 years, owned partly by ex-athletes Julius "Dr. J" Erving and Joe Washington. Baseball team Bobby Hillin Jr., a race driver and an avid baseball fan, has put together a team for next year's NASCAR Busch Grand National Series that will include several members of the St. Louis Cardinals as investors. Among them are third baseman Gary Gaetti, catcher Danny Sheaffer and pitcher Andy Benes. The team is expected to run the full Busch Series schedule in 1998, although it was uncertain whether the driver would be Hillin, who has had several regular rides in the Winston Cup series. Meanwhile, retired Cardinals shortstop Ozzie Smith, known throughout his career as the Wizard, has become a partner, along with several St. Louis busi- nessmen, with longtime team-owner Harry Ranier In the new Wizard Motorsports. End of line The second Indy Racing League cham-;. pionship will be decided Saturday night in the season-ending Las Vegas 500k. : Tony Stewart, who finally got his first IRL victory earlier this year at Colorado Springs, Colo., holds a slim 10-point lead over second-place Davey Hamilton., Nobody else Is mathematically within '• reach of the title. .-: Scott Sharp and Buzz Calkins shared • the first IRL title In 1996. The second sea-; son began with the final two events r of- ; that year and was supposed to have run • through this year's Indianapolis 500 in May. But IRL officials decided to go with a more traditional schedule, completing it at the end of this year and staying within . the same calendar year in the future: Richie Heam, who won the InaugQraT IRL race at Las Vegas Motor Speedway, no longer races In the series. He and team owner John Delia Penna switched to the CART series in 1997. " - ~ Forcing the Issue John Force set an NHRA speed national record of 314.35 mph In a Ford Mustang last weekend at Memphis, Tenn. Force broke the record of 313.15 that he set in the previous NHRA event at Topeka, Force has won the last three races, putting him in line to clinch his seventh funny car title In the next race, at Dallas next week. If he gains one qualifying point and . , : wins two elimination rounds, Force woullj • close the door on Whit Bazemore, who' : trails by 338 points in the driver standings. — From Wire Reports; FORCE Special Advertising Feature _ HJE J|lt|STON CLP Clllll THIS WEEK On TV All time* Eastern • Wtmton Cup SMIB DMtard MM 12:30 p.m. • Saturday • CBS • • Dodgt C«IH.Truclatop 300 4:30 p.m. • Saturday • TNN All limes and stations provided by TVE Web site. Times subject to change. Check your local listings. , ALMOST HOHt COOKING VWERE:TM«O^Sup<W*»»dw«y, Many of the race fans attending Talladega events are lodged slightly to the east In the adjoining cities of Annlston and Oxford As you might expect, "Bama Barbecue' Is plentiful In the area. One of the circuit's most popular spots, though, Is north of Annlston at the Top of the River," an Informal seafood restaurant with colorful appetizers like the famous fried dll pickles greater t*(hen «•, jr»enfl»ofa(l«.TW« OTHBB TOW*!* WINNOW: Da*, Is the master otltJlBdegattttttavfn o«ra«imd(rv»lnW«r»c«.D«n»«W»ltn>r«l --- BUNIROYALm DRIVING DEPENDABILITY HOME TIGER PAW MM* The aggressively responsive, all-season, steel-belted radial with road-hugging performance and super-smooth ride. Bengfson Tin 730 N. Sdnta Fe 823 3771 Oil & Lube Complete Engine Machine Shop i* Crank Grinding (Very Competitive Prices) • Dyno Facility ADVANCED ENGINE MACHINE 913-825-6684 11206 N. 9th Sallna I Nascar Die Cast NHRA Die Cast PROFILE ' 1997 POINTS STANDINGS Randy LaJoie YOUR TUR H Includes up to 5 quarts of oil WINSTON cur 1. Jeff Gordon, 4,258 2. Mark Martin, 4,133 3. Dale Jonon, 4,061 4. Jed Burton, 3,920 Dale Earnhardt, 3,713 6. Teny Labonte, 3,611 7. Bobby Labontt, 3,512 fl. Bill EIIKXI, 3,412 9.TedMutgrave,3,1B2 10. Jeremy MsyBeld, 3,132 •UMSH 1. Randy LaJoto, 3,974 2.ToddBodlne, 3,728 3. Steve Park, 3,633 4. Phil Panone, 3,253 5. Elliott Sadler, 3,252 6. Mike McUugMln, 3,233 7.Budotut Jones, 3.191 8. Elton Sawyer, 3,119 9.TlmFedewa,3,094 10. Hermle Sadler, 3,015 FROM LAST WEEK TRUCK t. Jack Sprague, 3,353 Z.BIchBlcWe, 3,273 3. Joe Rutlman, 3,194 4. RonHomaSay.3,054 5. Mike Bliss, 2,977 6. Jimmy Hensley. 2.962 7.JaySauter, 2,913 8, Rick Carelll, 2,811 9, Chuck Bown, 2,776 10, Butch Miller, 2,744 WINSTON CUP: Dale Jarrett picked up his sixth victory ol the year, outrunning Bobby Labonte and Dale Earnhardt In the late stages of Charlotte Motor Speedway's UAW-GM Quality 500. Labonte highlighted a rare appearance of four Pontiacs In the top 10. BUBCHOfUNDNOOML: Jimrny Spencer and Mark Martin staged one of the season's greatest battles, with Spencer holding off Martn In Charlotte's Al Pro Bumper-to-Bumpef300.lt was Mr. Excitements second victory of the season In Ns No. 20 Chevrolet CRAFTSMAN TRUCK SERIES: Joe Ruttman picked up another SuperTruck victory on the road course at Sears Point, Sonoma, Calif. The race was a heartbreaker to Dave Rezendes, who crashed with a couple of laps remaining, and the final laps also featured some extra-curricular activities between Rich Blckle ' and Boris Said. Weekly rankings by NASCAR This Week writer Monte Dutton. Last week's ranking is in parentheses. 1. J«fl Gordon (1) 6. Bobby Labonte (Unranked) Only a slight slip Deserved to win 2,DaleJarrott(3) 7. Bill Elliott (6) Six big wins Tough at Talladega 3. Mark Martin (2) 8. Terry Ubonte (9) Still hanging In there Slight comeback 4. Jeff Burton (4) 9. Emle Irvan (6) Newest star Qualifying woes 6. Dale Earnhardt (7) 10. Ricky Rudd (6) Hold on... he's coming Inconsistent ON THE SCHEDULE R«c« Pole- Winner* Aug. 17 rrw DevllblM 400, Brooklyn, Mich. Benson Martin Aug. 23 Good/s 600, Bristol K. Wallace Janett Aug. 31 Mountain Dew Southern 600, Darlington B. Ubonte Gordon Sept. 6 Winston Cup 400, Richmond Elliott Janett Sept 14 New Hampshire 300, Loudon, N.H. Schrader Gordon Sept. 21 MBNA 600, Dover Martin Martin Sect. 28 Hanes 600, MarUnivttle W. Burton Burton Oct. 5 UAW-GM Quality 500, Charlotte Bodlne Jarred Oct. 12 Sears DleHard 600, Talladega . (Mayfleld) (Gordon) Oct. 26 AC Dekx> 400, Rockingham (Ja/ietl) .. (Rudd) Nov. 2 Dura Lube 500, Phoenix (B. Labonte) (Hamilton) Nov. 16 NAPA 500, Atlanta (B. Labonte) (B. Labonte) Nov. 23 Suzuka Clrcultland, Japan ' 1996 winners in parentheses, x First year race Is on schedule. By Monte Dutton NASCAR This Week Butch Braid Matloaal raclag gave Raariy UUola • chaics to reach hit poteatlal as a race driver, and LaJola Is ebvl- ousty vsfy QratafMl* LaJols, who wea thro facts aid Un 1996 MNckanti- oftsMp, Is happy as • raialar la the Triple-A mlaor leagues of NASCAR. LaJole, a fonaer rookie ot the year (1H3) art champlaa (1985) of NASCAR 1 ! fcneh North StrlM.bSfMth* 1996 SSMOR as a Wlastaa Cap rookie bat was (In* fey Bill Davis less thaa halfway throath the year. He begaa racial lo-karts at age 12, thea ante the switch to cars at atoll. He woi the track champloasMp at Das- bury (Com.) Racoareaa la 19(1. • AM: 36 • SPOUSE: Lisa • CHUMEN: Cory (6), Casey (will be 3 In Nov.) • CAR: No. 74 Fina Chevrolet Monte Carlo, owned by William Baumgardner. • HOMETOWN: Born and raised In Norwalk, Conn., lives In Kannapolls, N.C. • RECORD: B6N: 123 starts, 10 wins, 6 poles, 35 top fives, 59 top 10s, nearly $1.4 million In career earnings. BUST RACE: 15th In All Pro Bumper-to-Bumper 300 at Charlotte Motor Speedway. • SWUU WINSTON CW DRIVERS RECEIVE POINTS HI •USCHMANO NATIONAL RACES? "I'm not smart enough to figure all that out. I'm just a race-car driver. I'm Randy LaJoto, right, talks wtth Ml Burton during pnctfoa. MUCH KNOT "I think It's kind ot like college football. You're going to see a lot ot • new faces. We've got Elliott (Sadler) and Steve (Park). Steve's going to Winston Cup next year. "Hopefully Elliott will stay around for a couple of years. There's nothing wrong with the Busch Series. I went to Winston Cup for half a year and pretty much got run out. "I came back to the Busch Series where we get Sundays off and I'm making a very good living. It's fun. We've got guys coming Into this sport with a lot of talent, from Matt Kenseth to the Midwest, to the northern guys coming down. It's lust a fun not going there. Whatever they want to do, that's fine with me." • WHAT KEEPS DRAW NM MORE AND MORE TEAMS AND SPONSORS WTO THE Dear NASCAR This Week, I am a very dedicated fan of NASCAR and especially of Sterling Martin. You have been in our newspaper for two years now, and 1 have noticed that there have been drivers from the Truck Series, the Busch Series and Winston Cup. There have been owners and even NASCAR officials featured in the profile. But not once has Sterling been featured. I could see if you overlooked someone like Rick Mast or Bobby Hillin, but not Sterling. He has big-name sponsors, a big-time team, he has a laid-back attitude, the works. I am very disappointed to see that someone would forget one of the best drivers in NASCAR racing. Please put Sterling in the profile. Kyle* Fitter Hamilton, Ohio Dear NASCAR Race Fan, Sterling Marlin has been featured once in each of the past two seasons. This year Sterling appeared in one of the first editions of NASCAR This Week. Could it be that your local paper did not run the page until the season began in February? Dear NASCAR This Week, Since I don't have a satellite dish or cable TV out here in the country; my exposure to NASCAR is very limited. The local newspaper just started carrying NASCAR This Week and I look forward to every Thursday for this page. The only other time we get any good racing coverage is when there is an event at Heartland Park Topeka. Then the local news media cover the races. I love the Craftsman Truck Series and try to follow it as best I can. My question concerns Walker Evans. What happened to him and his truck team? I haven't seen him out on the circuit this year and can't seem to find out why. Has he retired? He was always one of my favorite drivers. I even went out of my way one year to get his autograph! Any info would help. Thanks. Conrad Bolnay Topeka, Kan. Dear NASCAR Race Fan, Walker Evans, perhaps the greatest off-road racer ever, did indeed call it quits after two years driving in the Craftsman Truck Series. Evans remains active in the series as a car, er, uh, truck owner, though he has switched from Dodge to Chevrolet If you've got * question or • comment, writ*; NASCAR This WMk Your turn, c/oTht OMton Quette, 2SOO E. Franklin Blvd., Oattonlo.N.C. 2*054 Plus FREE 15 Point Inspection I Call Now! 785-823-6372 Bennett Autoplex, Inc. Service Department We can fill your upholstery demands! ESTIMATES Ken Johnoon JD Johnson I AUTO UPHOLSTERY 913-825-8955 I 41 ON.5th Sallnal D&M Racing Collectibles | Action Racing Collectibles Days: 785-434 : 4940 Evenings: 785-425-6018 Fax: 785-434-4941 Watts: 800-561-4715 13.12 S.Washington Plainville, KS I^^H Don't Miss This Great Opportunity To Advertise Every Thursday With NASCAR!! In 30 minute or less or UQlffftllllO the next one is FREE on HH VUIIIIC all GM, Toyota, and F 0 R M U L A A. Honda vehicles. Extra M ° ' ° " ° ' ^ time may be required for other makes. / flf US INCLUDES UP TO 5 QUARTS OF HAVOUNE OIL AND FILTER earn your business. «»!r e$$ary CONKLIN CARS 901 E. CRAWFORD 825-9515 2700 S. 9TH 825 8271 AROUND THE GARAGE Wallace broke open the pi9gy bank to pay $5,000 fine ate UaaStial Dllttlaas' ------ .... — . . .. ... NASCAR This Week CONCORP, N.C. — NASCAR fined Rusty Wallww »5.QOP m Oct. 2 for the poor choice of woids he used after being black-flagged tale in the Hanoi 500 w MwtiiwviUc. The tlae was for using profanity in «n interview following the race. Wbw a&d If he Bjreesd tw «ctioo»,W9|l*»brekeupacrowdof Waltace'J icvipw of (he insdcal; "After the n*ce wa» over, they interviewed UK and I taid. 'I don't give « blank about myself, because I've woo » lot of races. But I feel really bad for the team.' And they didn't like it. I used the wrong word, and they didn't lite it, $o they fined pie S5.000. To me, it'i kind of like Adding inauJi to Injury. I Mill feel like the win got taken away from me. Now, I get fined. That's racing. Sometimes when they get you down and in bad shape, and you're laying on the ground wiU) your face up, uwysucklheir heel right in your face, so 1 got that again." COUNT IT IfYOU WANT; Wallace, »iUl seething after being fined $5,000 by NASCAR on Thursday, paid up in full on Friday... in pennies. A Bank's truck arrived at the speedway carrying 500,000 pennies. This tune, Wallace bad no comment to the prow, "1 Inlok my position U pretty clew," he said. THABHfl MANOtm ReyapMs 1 "major announcement" at Charlotte turned out to be ftiity iodine. Were ihey pulling out of Hock car series sponsorship, weary of fighting the government? Would they use another product for racing sponsorship, turning Amaica'spreauadivisiouinloiho Ndto Wafer Series? No. Jumuy Spencer unveiled a No. 23 ted Taurus decked out in the Wiiistou cigarette colon of red, black and silver. The Travis Cartcr- ownsd car had been sponsored by Camel since 1994, when Hut Suick- lin was the driver. TRAMNQ IBANM.THE SEQUEL; Come 1998, me Stavola Brothers will swilcbfrorn Ford tp Chevrolet with the Circuit City No. 8 toy field (or Hut StrickUn. The Stavolas had raced exclusively with Fmds since 1992. Their only previous experience with Cbevys was in 1985. when Bobby Hillin drove a Monte Carlo for the team. Fro Motor, which provides engines for the Stavola Brothers, wui also begia producing General Motors power plants for the first time. Peter Guild, whoje firm provides engines (or» number of tews* previously produced only Fold ' products. W WHEELS FOR THE JOB Ing,foip something with room for the whofe prew? room? Extra ground clearance,to head Che'ck out the classified ads for up^Mafe listings on hundreds of new and used cars, It's still the Inumber-cme resource for car buyers every day, and it P«pl4 be 'the key to your next^ great deal Copyright 1«97 Tht 0«»ton (N.p.) Quirt* • QlaUliHittd by Ur\rv*n*l PrtH SymUcat* (WO) 26M7M • For ritoMt **** »' Oofcbv« - v " ~ " "" r~T"- Salina Journal n (4963 OR 1-800-827-6363

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