The Salina Journal from Salina, Kansas on April 19, 2001 · Page 24
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The Salina Journal from Salina, Kansas · Page 24

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Thursday, April 19, 2001
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D4 THURSDAY. APRII lo, 20OI THE SALINA JOURNAL m If you've got a Ojuostlon NASCAR this week or.a comment, write: . NASCAR This Week ' c/o The Gastontdllaette 2S00 E. n-ankllti Blvd. Gastonia, N.C. 280541 .. WWSTONCUP 1. Dale Jarrett, 1,236 3. Sterling Marlin, 1,049 5. Steve Park. 1.039 " 6r Rasty Wallace, rfioa 7. Bobby Hamilton, 990 9. Bill Elliott. 943 r8^tlleivS ?4 '*'!l 4// Times Eastern I Busch Grand National, Subway 300 1 p.m. • Saturday • Fox Winston Cup, Talladega 500 1 p.m. • Sunday • Fox Craftsman Truck, Ram Tough 200 4 p.m. • May 6 • ESPN 31001 POINTS STANDINGS BUBCH H Kevin Harvick. 1.248 Jason Keller, 1.16f?| Greg Biffle. 1.156 36ff Gfeen/li070 ^' Mike McLaughlin. 1.013 Jeff Purvis. '979 Todd 8001(10, 949 Scott Witmmer. 935 ^^Raf}ay.Lajole; 935(C J ; TRUCK Scott Riggs. 675 Joe Ruttman, 64S Ricky Hendnck. 610 Terry oam 600 Randy Toisma. 599 Jacif.Sprag0e,^57,5^... ted Musgrave. 569 Travis Kvapjl, 563 Rick Cravrford 543 G0yGibbs,485 TOP m • NASCAR This Week vyriter Monte Dutton ranks the top 10 drivers heading into this weekend's race. Last week's ranking is in parentheses. Tough with restrlctor plates Defending champion at Talladega Seems to be a factor every week Could be primed for Dodge breakthrough Also has high hopes for Talladega Overdue for a victory Where Earnhardt was the master Quite an improvement for this team Not a great year, but not that bad Has to sustain a turnaround 1. (1) 2. (2) 3. (3) 4, (4) 5. (5) 6. (6) 7. (7) 8. (8) 9. (9) 10. (10) Jeff Burton FROW LAST WEEK BUSCH GRAND NATIONAL LEBANON, Tenn. — A tired old slogan from a million high-school locker rooms comes to mind when referring to Saturday's Pepsi 300: "When the going gets tough, the tough get going." The unfamiliar concrete of Nashville Superspeedway seemed as alien as the lunar surface to many so- called veterans in NASCAR's Busch Series, and turn two might as well have been coated with ice the way some drivers skittered through there. A rookie, though, had no problems. Greg Biffle, from Vancouver, Wash., emerged as the survivor of the spirited fray that opened NASCAR's newest track. A near-capacity crowd of about 45,000 watched Biffle win for the first time. He led 133 of the 225 laps around the 1.33-mile, D-shaped track. "Probably my first impression of the track was that it was nice, but green," Biffle said. "It was brand new and never raced on, and that had a lot to do with the problems that some of the guys had." It was an entertaining race, however, as Biffle dueled for nearly three hours against the likes of runner-up Jason Keller, pole winner Kevin Harvick, reigning series champion Jeff Green and Bobby Hamilton Jr. vFfUD'OF THE WEEK fUeff Green VS. Tim Fectewa Fedewa had a particularly difficult afternoon during the Pepsi 300, NashViiie Superspeedway's inaugural event, A driver making his Busch Grand National'd^but^ David Donohue, bitterly blamed Fedewa for one of the 11 crashes that occurred during the,day, and Green, the reigning Busch Grand National champion, blamed Fedewa's Ill-handling Chevrolet for a (lear-crash in which Green s Ford lost numerous positions on a restart. Green told his spotter via radio to deliver amessage that It was the last time Green was going to give Fedewa a breaK'in an attempt to get badk on the lead,lap. NASCAR This Week's IVIonte Dutton^Ives his opinion;;'Tlm Fedewa is a veteran Busch ©rand National driver vyho Is neither rash nor unskilled. The first race at the new track wa9 particularly difficult, however, for everyone oWvne series and^f)articulari/ ' those who, like Fedewa, experienced handling problem? with thelr'cars on the Concrete surface. Time will heal these WQUhds." ' , COMING UP ON THE CIRCUIT WINSTON CUP What: Talladega 500 Where: Talladega (Ala.) Superspeedway {2.666-mile track), 188 laps/501.288 miles When: 1 p.m., Sunday Defending champion: Jeff Gordon Track qualifying record: Bill Elliott, Ford, 212.809 mph, April 30, 1987 Race record: Mark Martin, Ford, 188.354 mph. May 10, 1997 Notable: Dale Earnhardt won the final race of his career at Talladega, and he collected 10 of his 76 career victories at the track. ... Gordon won this race last year after starting 36th. BUSCH GRAND NATIONAL" What: Subway 300 Where: Talladega (Ala.) Superspeedway {2.666-mile track), 113 laps/301.258 miles When: 1 p.m., Saturday Defending champion: Joe Nemechek Track qualifying record: Joe Nemechek, Chevrolet, 193.517 mph, April 24, 1997 Race record: Mark Martin, Ford, 168.937 mph, April 26,1997 Notable: Nemechek has won two of the last three Talladega BGN races, and Chevrolets have won three in a row. ... This marks the C Buckshot Jones Winston Cup Series By Monte Dutton NASCAR This Week Buckshot Jones <whose actual first name is Roy)-,•„ made an abortivp attempt to compete full-time in the Winston Cup Series in.' i- ",1099 The Busch Grand National veteran made'hX retu n this vpar when Petty Enterprises hired him to ; drive Its third car. V-''-^". Jones is a graduate df^ the University of Georgia" who, earlier In life, excelled as an equestrian-' and as a high-school football pla>cr He began his racing career on the short tracks of his native '. state and moved up through NASCAR's All Pro Series en route to Busch Grand National Age: 30 Wife: Jina Children: None Hometown: Tucker, Ga Crew chief: Bryant Frazier Car: No 44 Georgia Pacific Dodge intrepid, entered by Petty Enterpnses Career statlstlos: 25 starts, 0 wins, 0 top 5 finishes, 1 top 10 finish, just over $1 million in money earnings Firsts: Start (Nov 16, 1997, at Atlanta), pole (none), win (none) Are you ready for Talladega? "You have to be prepared going Into a place like Talladega You have to be ready to run two, three and four wide all day Talladega Is not a handling track like Daytona IS We can stack these cars like sardines in a c^n m the corners at Tpiiadega and Still come out running wide open. This is a horsepower track and you need to be running wide- open to keep your momentum" f ^ Jo> r ClarK/NASCAR This Week After a failed attofflpt In Winston Cup In 1999, Buckshot Jones went back to the Busch Series last season. He ran well enough to catch the eye of andiand a ride with Petty Enterprises in 2001. How have the current Jellies changed conditions? "It's amazing how much i have learned and what a driver needs ^o learn to run good at Talladega, but the new rules change has t uown a curve bail into the racing here There are tons of drag on the cars now You almost feel like you're driving a tugboat pushing all this weight in front of you It's just air, but It seems like tons of air Alj;aOst everything I had learned In the Busch Series can be thrown out the window when racing a Gup car there. Drafting is drafting and that will never change But everything else has changed, from the strips across the roof to the lear spoilprs on the Winston CUp cars. That's dil d fferent" How does the new Dodge factor Into all of this? "Talladega is going to be not only another test for this team, but also another one for Dodge. I think the Dodges have been getting better and better each race, and with the disparity in the tracks we have been going to. It 's a good sign. You really can't say that the Dodges have been off because every week there is always a Dodge in the top 10 and usually one In the top five Some people might feel that others have an advantage at large tracks, but that'^ just a part of racing" • HOT: Bobby Hamilton led the most laps at Martinsville and seems ready to become a more consistent contender. • NOT: Jeremy Mayfield still seems unable to find any consistency. 1. What is Ken Schrader's hometown? 2. What was Lake Speed's only Winston Cup victory? 3. When Dale Jarrett won his first race, at Michigan in 1991, by inches, who finished second? •uosjiiv AaABQ •£ :/?BM9oey uo^gunjBa ; B O09 UinosuBJi 886T OMl ;'0|/\| 'UOiU3J 'X SH3/MSNV FROJVITHE ARCHIVES AROUND THE GftRAGE»«^ ! •Talladega races have lieen noted for surw, '• jiHseSi and none was thorasotlianLthQ Tallade4$^$09|i;iHen held In the «'ttninier) of 1981. ^N^^the first flverpo|iWgi»nBr and ll lead In thlp^^ ^ .a'Ms of the laftt.H "to surprise Dar'rsllH Harry Gi Allison, find iiyslde^ Doctor says Earnhardt died from violent liead movement The game of one-upsmansliip By IVIonte Dutton NASCAR This Week NASCAR's announcement that it would need a minimum of four more months to issue a report on the fatal crash of Dale Earnhardt occurred just hours before its prime journalistic nemesis, The Orlando Sentinel, announced the results of an examination of Earnhardt's autopsy photos by a court- appointed expert. Dr. Barry Myers, a Duke University expert on crash injuries, said Earnhardt's death occurred because \ his head whipped violently forward when his Chevrolet hit the fourth- turn wall at Daytona and that any seat-belt failure had very little to do with it. continued when NASCAR president Mike Helton responded with another statement. "Contrary to several reports in the media, this report is not an opposing theory to anything NAS­ CAR has presented," Helton said. "Since the Daytona 500, NASCAR has made clear that we will not suggest or speculate on the circumstances surrounding Dale Earnhardt's accident until our study is complete. No one from NASCAR has ever suggested what may have happened in this accident other than to say in our preliminary investigation we found issues of concern involving the occupant restraint system." Helton's words were a bit mis­ leading, however. While Dr. Steve Bohannon does not hold a formal position with NASCAR, he was the medical expert NASCAR used in the days following Earnhardt's death, and Dr. Bohannon did offer opinions that seat-belt failure led to the tragedy. LOST AMID ALL THE OTHER FUN: One rather interesting fact from Martinsville's Virginia 500 was that Bobby Hamilton led the most laps, 130 out of 500, in one of Andy Petree's two Chevrolets. Hamilton's fourth-place finish was his best of the season. X HALLEY'S COMET VISITS: Mark the date on a calendar. On April 11, the National Stock Car Racing Commission actually overturned a NASCAR penalty. Following the March 25 Food City 500 at Bristol, the crew chief of the second-place car, Greg Steadman, was fined $20,000. The finish was easily John Andretti's best of the year. The three commissioners present — George Silbermann, Les Richter and Gary Bahre — sided with Steadman, who contended that the No. 43 Dodge flunked post-race inspection because of a crack in the chassis, "one that could not have occurred by design." The makeshift judges also ruled that the slightly lower roof height did-not give Andretti any advantage. 10th BGN appearance at Talladega. CRAFTSIVIAN TRUCK What: Ram Tough 200 by Pepsi Where: Gateway International Raceway, Madison, III. (1.25-mile track), 160 laps/200 miles When: 4 p.m., May 6 Defending champion: Jack Sprague Notable: Dodge Rams have won all four races in 2001. YoinrTum Letters From Our Readers Dear NASCAR This Week, I would like to see a black No. 3 used as a pace car to start every race as a tribute to Dale Earnhardt for at least the rest of the season. Ken Quiggines Radcliff, Ky. Thanks for sharing your suggestion with us. X Dear NASCAR This Week, How do you get your name in the drawing for the No Bull Five $1 million bonus? Luther Deans Kenly.N.C. You must find a retail store that features the No Bull Five display provided by Winston. This display has entry blanks for fans to enter the drawings. X Dear NASCAR This Week, How do Winston Cup drivers get paid? Do they get a salary or get paid by percentage? Do they get a bonus if they win the race? Bill Briies Lakes Charles, La. Each driver negotiates a contract with his team. That contract stipulates the terms of his employment. Most drivers have contracts that include a base salary, a percentage of earnings and bonus clauses, but they do not take any standardform. X - Dear NASCAR This Week, I would like to know if any dri-. ver had a record as good as Jeff Gordon has in eight years of racing Winston Cup: 52 wins, three championships. John H. Anderson Carmi, 111. Richard Petty won 75 races in his first eight full seasons, but he competed in a few races in 1958'59. No other driver has ever won three championships in his first eight seasons. • A racing Web site is attempting to help the Eel River Racing team and driver Kenny Wallace. Frontstretch.com editor Dennis Michelson is attempting to raise enough money to provide Wallace's No. 27 Pontiac with a one- race sponsorship. If you're interested in making a donation, visit the Web site (www.frontstretch.com) or write Michelson (e-mail address: dennis@ frontstretch.com). He is setting up a bank account to handle the funds. The goal is to raise $150,000. According to Michelson, if the effort falls short, the money will be donated to a racing-affiliated charity. XI CREW OF • First-time track, first-time winner. Obviously It speaks well for rookie Greg Blffle's crew that the former $uper1Yucks champion could win the first race ever held at the new Nashville Superspeedway. The Grainger crew kept Blffie exactly where he was supposed to be, i.e., at or near the front of the field. BHfle is no ordinary rookie. He won the Craftsman Truck title last season. m f Copyright 2001 The Gaston (N.C.) Gazette • Distributed by Universal Press Syndicate (800) 255-6734 • For release week of April 16, 2001 • Design: CartaGraphics Inc., Sarasota, Fla.

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