The Salina Journal from Salina, Kansas on April 5, 2001 · Page 24
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The Salina Journal from Salina, Kansas · Page 24

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Thursday, April 5, 2001
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D4 THURSDAY, APRIL 5. 2001 SPORTS THE SALINA JOURNAL If you've got a question or a comment,'write: NASCAR This Week c/o The Gaston Gazette 25G0 E. Franklin Blvd. Gastonia, N.C. 28054 WINSTON CUP 1. Dale Jarrett, 1,056 ' 2. Jeff Gordon, 981 3. Johnny Benson, 946 4. Steve Park, 933 5. Sterling Marlin, 889 6. Rusty Wallace, 879 7. Bobby Hamilton, 825 8. Elliott Sadler, 824 9. Bill Elliott, 822 tlO. Kevin Harvick, 811 All Times Eastern Craftsman Truck, Advance Auto Parts 250 2 p.m. • Saturday • ESPN Winston Cup, Virginia 500 1 p.m. • Sunday • Fox Busch Grand National, Pepsi 300 3 p.m. • April 14 • FX - 2001 PaiNIi SmNi ^lNGS' BUSCH Kevin Harvick, 1,097 Jason Keller, 982 Greg Biffle, 971 Jeff Green, 923 Jimmie Johnson, 917 Mike McLaughlin, 870 Jeff Purvis, 858 Kenny Wal|aoe,,848 Matt Kenseth, 824 Todd Bodine, 809 v TRUCK Scott Riggs. 495 Joe Ruttman, 483 Ricky Hendrick, 472 Ted Musgrave, 472 Jack Sprague, 472 Randy Tolsnia, 444 Terry Cook, 435 CoyGlbbs, 400 Rick Crawford, 397 Travis Kvapil, 393 ^|ggg«4*'**r **»'"»M?»i "f» ''• TOP'TEN' NASCAR Tliis Weel< writer Monte Dutton ranl<s tlie [top 10 drivers lieading into this weel^end's race. Last week's ranking is in parentheses. 1. (1) Dale Jarrett Shades of 1999 2. (2) Jeff Gordon Best Texas finish by far 3. (6) Steve Park His breakout year? 4. (4) Kevin Harvick Strong every week 5. (5) Johnny Benson Knocking on victory's door 6. (3) Sterling IVIariin Long day for the Intrepids 7. (7) Ricky Rudd Streak stopped by engine woes 8. (-) Dale Earnhardt Jr. Won pole, and nearly the race 9. (-) Dave Bianey iVIuch improved over rookie year 10. (-) IVIark IVIartin Signs of life at Roush Racing fROMlASTWEEKS WINSTON CUP JUSTIN, Texas —They played poker all Sunday lafternoon at Texas Motor Speedway, but in the final hand, only Dale Jarrett drew a winner. For Jarrett and crew chief Todd Parrott, it was all a matter of closing the deal. iWhen crunch time came, in front of an estimated 180,000 fans, it was Jarrett [who had all the advantages. Jarrett, having watched iJeff Gordon try and fail to pass Johnny Benson for several laps, swept past the Pontiac driver and the 329th of 334 laps. Jarrett had disposed of Gordon just as effortlessly the lap before. "It was just a rocket," parrett said, referring to his Ford Taurus, "and it's gonna look that way even more when you're racing guys who only have two tires or no Itires (changed). They couldn't get in the gas. Their cars were pushing, and with four tires (changed on his own pit stop), it was absolutely the right call." BUSCH GRAND NATIONAL JUSTIN, Texas —Hours after the Jani-King 300 ended, workers were still trying to repair the remnants of Kevin Harvick's celebration. Harvick won for the first time this season in the Busch Series, holding off another Winston Cup regular, Jeff Burton. After taking the checkered flag, Harvick first took a reverse victory lap, then cut "doughnuts" in the pavement near the start- finish line, sending up enough white smoke to envelop the entire main grandstand. Harvick's antics left a deep black rubber burn in the pavement, necessitating the repairs. Jimmy Spencer vs. Ron Hornaday Spencer lashed out at Hornaday after a long day at Texas Motor Speedway. "It all started off when Ron Hornaday hit me and messed our car up," Spencer fumed. "He must need glasses, that's ail. After that, something just broke in the rear end and 1 backed into the wall, but it all started on the fifth lap. He (Hornaday) did it at Rockingham. He did it at Bristol. He did it at Darlington, and he did it here, too. NASCAR needs to talk to him." NASCAR This Week's IVIonte Dutton gives his opinion: "There are those out there who will say that Spencer is one to talk, but it is a fact that Hornaday* the two-time Craftsman Truck Series champion, has come under a lot of fire early in what is his rookie season in Winston Cup. Hornaday has always been greatly respected for his short-track ability, so maybe next week's race at Martinsville will give him a chance to do well and put some of the criticism behind him," COMING UP ON THE CIRCUIT WINSTON CUP What: Virginia 500 When: 1 p.m., Sunday Where: Martinsville (Va.) Speedway (.526-mile track), 500 laps/263 miles Defending champion: Mark Martin Qualifying record: Tony Stewart, Pontiac, 95.371 mph, Sept. 29, 2000 Race record: Jeff Gordon, Chevrolet, 82.223 mph, Sept. 22, 1996 Notable: Martin's victory in this race last year was his second at Martinsville. ... Tony Stewart won the fall race. BUSCH GRAND NATIONAlT What: Pepsi 300 When: 3 p.m., April 14 Where: Nashville Superspeedway, Lebanon, Tenn. (1.333-mile track), 225 laps/299.925 miles Defending champion: First race Qualifying record: None Race record: None Notable: This brand-new track is D-shaped and paved in concrete. ... Previously, BGN races in this area were held at Nashville Fairgrounds. CRAFTSMAN TRUCK What: Advance Auto Parts 250 When: 2 p.m., Saturday Where: Martinsville (Va.) Speedway (.526-mile track). Terry Winston Cup Series By IVIonte Dutton NASCAR This Week Terry Labonte won his first Winston Cup championship in 1984 and his second in 1996. No driver . in NASCAR history has won championships with that large a gap between them. Over the past three seasons, Labonte has slumped in the standings, finishing ninth, 12th and 17th,-but it is not the first time his career has fallen on hard ' times. From 1990 through 1993, while driving for Richard Jackson and Billy Hagan, Labonte failed to win a race, but he rose to prominence again when he signed with Rick Hendrick's multi-car team in 1994. The veteran driver holds NASCAR's all-time record for consecutive starts (655), although his streak ended in 2000 when he was unable to compete in the Brickyard 400 at Indi- ; anapolis due to the aftereffects of injuries suffered in a Daytona crash. Labonte's younger brother, Bobby, won the Winston Cup championship last year, and they are the only brothers ever to both win titles. Hometown: Corpus Christi, Texas; now lives in Thomasville, N.C. Age: 44 Career statistics: 680 races, 26 poles, 21 wins, 176 top-five finishes, 339 top 10s, more than $24 million in earnings Firsts: Start (Sept. 4, 1978, at Darlington, S.C.), win (Sept. 1,1980, at Darlington), pole (March 13,1981, at Atlanta) Car: No. 5 Kellogg's Chevrolet Monte Carlo, owned by Rick Hendrick Crew chief: Gary DeHart How is the season going? "Well, you know, we John ClBrk/NASCAR This Week Terry Labonte, a two4lme Winston Cup champion, lias started 680 races over two decades in Winston Cup racing. He carries tlie laliei as NASCAR's ironman for starting 655 consecutive races. had a top five in Atlanta, and then a sixth place at Bristol, and'We've had two DNF's (did not finish) also. We haVebeen a little bit up and down. I really feel like we have a good team. I think we have some good • tracks coming up for us that we can continue to have some good runs." Have new tire compounds complicated chasr sis setups this year? "We've run good on some of them. At a few races, we kind of missed the setup a little bit. It's definitely a little bit different. I would say you've just kind of got to go into it with an open mind. What we ran last year might not necessarily work this time." Is there anything to the rumors that some teams might skip the upcoming Talladega race due to saf^ ty concerns? "I hayen't really talked to anybody about that. I heard a ruiripr about • that. You hear rumors about all kinds of stuff, too. I heard (one) that I was going to quit, that I was going to retire, "So, I don't believe three- fourths of what I hear. I don't know. It's just a rumor. There's nothing to it." I HOT: Dale Jarrett, with two wins in the last three weeks. I NOT: Michael Waltrip has fallen from first to 15th in points since Daytona. 1. Whose first victory was Buick's last? 2. What make of car was Richard Petty driving when he won his 100th race? 3. How many victories did the three Flock brothers win? •{p qoa '6T ^luod '017 LU!l) S9 -e :696T 'ZZ 'Sny uo "Q-N *LU9|BS-UOISU!M UI ujnipeis '^ejo ueuiMog le 'pjoj lauipog wojg 'Tj SH3/V\SNV 250 (aps/131.5 miles Defending champion: Bobby Hamilton Qualifying record: Mike Bliss, Ford, 94.275 mph. April 19, 1999 Race record: Jimmy Hensley, Dodge, 74.294 mph, April 17, 1999 Notable: Hamilton will be in the field to defend his 2000 victory. ... Dodges have won the last two races here. YourTurn Letters From Our Readers Dear NASCAR This Week, As the cliche has it, "the dumb-] est question is the one unasked.' So please bear in mind that I'm not trying to create any problems when I ask this perplexing question, have yet to see an African-Ameri-| can or minority race car driver. Therefore, I am left to wonder why I have seen no other races of drivers besides Caucasian. Darryl A.H. McLain] Hagerstown, Md At present, in NASCAR's Craftsman Truck Series, two minority drivers are competing regularly Willy T. Ribbs and Carlos Conlr-\ eras, and several efforts are under way to increase minority participation at the local level. Ideally, in order for the Daytona 500 to include, say, 10 minority drivers a decade from now, minority drivers need to become active at the local short track level now. The high costs involved in racing also havt\ hindered minority involvement. Dear NASCAR This Week, Upon hearing about the race| broadcasts being moved to Fox, admit I was skeptical. But I have to tell you, the addition of Darrell Waltrip as race commentator was inspirational! He is informative as well as entertaining, with such enthusiasm, you can't help gel caught up in the race. His sense of humor is delightful. Along with Larry McReynolds, they add a human element to NASCAR racing that, up until now, was missing Pam Cook] Cadillac, Mich K Dear NASCAR This Week, Congratulations to Michael] Waltrip for his Daytona 500 win although he didn't get his wish foi] Dale.Earnliardt's embrace of joy. It was very respectful and (sportsmanlike) of Bobby Labonte to go directly to his teammate aftei the crash, although his car was demolished and on fire. It was a great race, and yet a sad race, of which many tears were and are still being shed. I do NOT believe the HANS device will benefit our drivers whatsoever. Let it be their choice. Evelyn Warner] Fayctteville, Pa • Randy Millwood, a fan in Wellford, S.C., is petitioning President George W. Bush to posthumously award the Presidential Medal of Freedom to Dale Earnhardt. The petition can be located at www.petitiononline.com/ BIGEFAN/petition.html. AROUND^HE GARAGE FROM THE ARCHIVES • During the 1980&, a pair of modified drivers, RichieEvansand Charlie Jarzombek, died in violent crashes at Martinsville Speedway! Partly ^as a result, tKeiiipitili^rding chassis dmstructTon in the NASCAR modified touring series were changed to make the ' chassis less rigid andtljQ ^^^^ protect drivers from the ravages ofheadon crashes. Similar concerns have been yoiped over the past year wtth'the'death of Dale Earnhardt and As far as car makes, parity has been tough to come by S^^R^WOFTHMB .three others. By IVIonte Dutton NASCAR This Week Seven races into the season, Chevrolets have won four races and Fords have won three. That is not Jolinny Benson's idea of parity. Benson drives a Pontiac, but he has resisted the temptation to complain. "Parity is not in six different winners (meaning drivers)," Benson said. "There have been six different winners in 'people,* but not as far as makes. Pontiac hasn't won a race yet. The Fords have won three, and of course, Chevrolet has won the rest. But it has been very competitive. "It seems to be fairly equal, and I'm not really going to complain about anything else, although it sounds like that works for some of the guys. You've got to work hard on your team. That's what it's about. ... It's just a matter of sometimes, if you complain, you can try to get some rules changed, and I guess it works out." K DOUBLE FIRST: Dale Earnhardt Jr. was not the only driver who had a first victory at Texas. In fact, Jeff Burton's 1997 victory was both his first victory and the first Cup race, i.e., the first victory by anyone at the track. "Well, of course winning my first race is something that 1 will never forget," Burton said. "I can promise that every driver in this garage will say the same thing. Winning your first race is such a landmark because it's like you've finally reached that plateau. Every one of my wins is important and memorable, but of the career highlights, that won't be forgotten." K MAGICAL MARK: Ken Schrader became only the 22nd driver in NASCAR history to compete in 500 races when the Harrah's 500 took the green flag. "When you are doing something you love, you don't keep count," Schrader said. "If I had spent the past 16 years doing something that wasn't any fun, you better believe I'd be counting down the days until I was done." The late Elmo Langley owned the car in which Sclirader made his debut at Nashville in 1984. Schrader has run in every race since the Daytona 500 held on Feb. 17, 1985, meaning that he could reach 500 consecutive races on June 3, when the series makes the first of two stops at Dover (Del.) Downs. K NOTHING NEW HERE: As expected, the National Stock Car Racing Commission rejected the appeal brought by Mark Melling over the fine and suspension of his team's crew chief, Chad Knaus. When the leaders made their final pit stops during Sunday's Harrah's 500, it must have been tempting for Dale Jarrett's crew chief, Todd Parrott, to change just two tires on Jarrett's Ford. Parrott and Jarrett decided to change all four, however, and the call was obviously the right one, because Jarrett roared into the lead with six laps remaining and became the season's first two* time winner. Copyright 2001 The Gaston (N.C.) Gazette • Distributed by Universal Press Syndicate (800) 255-6734 • For release week of April 2, 2001 • Design: CartaGraphics Inc., Sarasota. Fla.

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