The Salina Journal from Salina, Kansas on May 3, 2001 · Page 24
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The Salina Journal from Salina, Kansas · Page 24

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Thursday, May 3, 2001
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D4 THURSDAY. MAY 3, 2001 THE SALINA JOURNAL I • • • Ji M M • • M H7ir» CaiHlCJ^ • • • • •IiarCJOllMla,MJi-Ji_J«-,MJi-iL«.Ji-JiJ..-B_ NASCAR this we • If you've got a question or a comment, write: NASCAR This Week c/o The Gaston Gazette 2500 E. Franklin BIyd. Gastonia, N.C. 28054 Vt .^^^,^-200! POINTS STANDINGS WINSTON CUP 1. Dale Jarrett, 1,441 2. Jeff Sordon, 1,375 3. Johnny Benson, 1,330 4. Rusty Wallace, 1,322 5. Sterling Marlin, 1,291 6. Ricky Ruddi 1,251 7. Bobby Hamilton, 1,230 8. Steve ParK, 1,227 9. Tony Stewart, 1,207 BUSCH Greg Biffle, 1,454 Kevin Harvick, 1,451 Jeff Green, 1,410 Jason Keller, 1,358 Mike McLaughlin, 1,327 Jeff PurvlSr 1,240 Todd Bodine, 1,215 Jimmie Johnson, 1,190 Tony Raines, 1,133 10. Dale Earnhardt Jr., l,151Chad Little, 1,103 TRUCK Scott Riggs, 675 Joe Ruttman, 648 Ricky Hendnck, 610 Terry Cook, 600 Randy Tolsma, 599 Jack Sprague, 575 Ted Musgrave, 569 Travis Kvapil, 563 Rick Crawford, 543 CoyGibbs,485 • NASCAR This Week writer Monte Dutton rankstlie top 10 drivers heading into this weekend's race. Last week's ranking is in parentheses. 1. (1) Dale Jarrett In a bit of a slump 2. (2) Jeff Gordon Still going strong 3. (9) Rusty Wallace Sixteen straight seasons with a victory 4. (4) Johnny Benson Pedaling as hard as he can 5. (3) Sterling Mariln Dodge boy who could use a break 6. (10) Tony Stewart Getting closer and closer 7. (6) Steve Park Consistency has improved 8. (7) Ricky Rudd Consistency is getting old 9. (8) Kevin Harvick Seems to be losing his edge 10. (5) Bobby Hamilton Post-Talladega blues CM f ROM I'AST'-WFEK WINSTON CUP FONTANA, Calif. — Rusty Wallace won for the 54th time of his career Sunday in the NAPA 500 at California Speedway. When Wallace's friend Dale Earnhardt died earlier this year in the Daytona 500, Wallace immediately, and with manic intensity, made sure he had an Earnhardt tribute flag ready so that he could honor Earnhardt when he won Rockingham. That was Feb. 26, and Wallace did not get to unfurl his Earnhardt flag to the adoring masses of fans because he finished seventh in that race. He, in fact, did not win until Sunday, but it did not lessen Wallace's intensity when crewman Billy Wilburn • brought it to him for a victory lap around the two- mile track. As it turned out, the Wallace victory carried with it a nice touch of irony. Earnhardt would have turned 50 Sunday. "It's a special feeling," said Wallace, who led 95 of the 250 laps. "For me to have won on (Earnhardt's) birthday was very special. That was for Dale and Teresa and the whole Earnhardt family. I hope they know I did it for them. "Dale meant a lot to me and Patti, my wife. We went on a lot of vacations together, had a lot of fun. We went down to the Bahamas a lot, and I knew him off the racetrack and not only on the track." BUSCH GRAND NATIONAIT FONTANA, Calif. — Define competition on the basis of how hard it is to win, and the Winston Cup Series is the best in the land. Define it on the basis of the number of cars capable of winning, and the Busch Series has no equal. Hank Parker Jr. provided testimony to the latter theory with his upset victory in the Auto Club 300 on Saturday at California Speedway. The Chevrolet driver entered the race without so much as a top-10 finish in the first nine races of the year. MMU Mark Martin vs. Ward Burton Two drivers having difficult seasons got together and made things even worse. The incident happened on the. 224th of 250 laps. " I got in the back of Ward and couldn't get off him. I don't even know how much contact we made, but it was one of those deals where It was slick out there. He started going around and I couldn't get off him." NASCAR This Week's filionte Dutton gives his . opinion: "There Is no bad will here, just frustration.' Burton is 19th in the points and Martin is 23rd, and after 10 races, that's a tough pill for both to swallow." . .DOMING UP ON THE CIRCUIT All Times Eastern • Busch Grand National, Hardee's 250 7:30 p.m. • Friday • FX Winston Cup, Pontiac Excitement 400 7:30 p.m. • Saturday • FX Craftsman Truck, Ram Tough 200 4 p.m. • Sunday • ESPN WINSTON CUP What: Pontiac Excitement 400 Where: Richmond (Va.) International Raceway (.75-mile track), 400 laps/300 miles When: 7:30 p.m., Saturday Defending champion: Dale Earnhardt Jr. Qualifying record: Jeff Gordon, Chevrolet, 126.499 mph, May 13, 1999 Race record: Dale Jarrett, Ford, 109.047 mph, Sept. 6, 1997 Notable: Dale Earnhardt Jr. won for the first time in this race a year ago. ... Tony Stewart also won for the first time at this track. BUSCH GRAND NATIONAL What: Hardee's 250 Where: Richmond (Va.) International Raceway (.75-mJle track), 250 laps/186 miles When: 7:30 p.m., Friday, Defending champion: Jeff Green Qualifying record: Jason Keller, Chevrolet, 124.907 mph. May 14,1999 Race record: Kenny Wallace, Ford, 104.928 mph, Sept. 8,1995 Notable: Green won from the pole last year. ... The track record holder, Keller, and last year's winner. Green, are teammates. CRAFTSMAN TRUCK What: Ram Tough 200 by Pepsi Rusty Wallace Winston Cup Series By Monte Dutton ' NASCAR This Week The NAPA Auto Parts 500,lat California Speedway in Fontana, was the 54th victory of Rusty Wallace's Winston Cup career. Wallace isnow tied with the late Lee Petty for seventh place on the all-' time list of NASC/^R ' winners. One win ahead of Jeff Gordon, who finished second in Sunday's race. > Wallace was the Winston Cup rooKie of the year in 1984 and -won his lone championship in 19^9 while driving a Pontiac , owned by Raymond Beadle. He has won The Winston, the Bud Shootout and the inaugural Suzuka demonstration race in Japan In 1996. Hometown: St. Louis Age: 44 Wife: Patti Children: Greg (21), Katie (16), Stephen (13) Career statistics: 536 starts, 35 poles, 54 wins, 176 top-five finishes, 283 top-lOs, just over $26.5 • million in earnings jPIWts: Start (March 16, 49186, at Atlanta), pole (June 26,1987, at Michigan), win (April 6, 1986, at Bristol) Car: No. 2 Miller. Lite Ford Taurus, owned by Roger Penske Was It difficult to win after starting 19th? "Nowadays in NASCAR, Winston Cup racing, a '500- miler'starting 19th is hot . way back. It really isn't. It's kind of an OK starting position. We had a great pit spot. The pits h.ere at California are so big and spacious, and it's easy to ' make a pit stop. It's a nice, safe racetrack. I was picking cprs off one at a time, and it's a long race." What do you think about Who's Not • HOT: Jeff Gordon has posted six top-five finishes this year. • NOT: In the last seven races, Michael Waltrip has finished no better than 22nd. • Where: Gateway International Raceway, Madison, III. (1.25-mile track), 160 laps/ 200 miles When: 4 p.m., Sunday Defending champion: Jack Sprague Qualifying record: Stacy Compton, Dodge, 133.093 mph, Aug. 19,1999 Race record: Jack Sprague, Chevrolet, 113.726 mph, May 7, 2000 Notable: Dodge Rams have won allfour races this season. YourTurn Letters From Our Readers Dear NASCAR This Weelc, Wliat has NASCAR done to us? No Busch race coverage. No time trials. No "RPM 2Nite." "Raceday" gone. Only one race on Sundays. What about the fans that don't have cable? Virginia Johnson Ochelata, Okla. While we sympathize with your problems, we feel, in fairness, it should be pointed out that the fans who don't have cable have many more races available than ever before, thanks to the network stations on Fox and NBC. Don't forget that ESPN and TNN are cable channels. Dear NASCAR This Week, Tony Stewart was fined $10,000 and is on probation until Aug. 29 for his retaliation against Jeff Gordon bumping him from fourth place in the final lap of the Food City 500. What does probation mean in NASCAR? Doris Whitehead Rineyville,Ky. It means if he makes another wrong move in that time, he could be suspended or punished more severely. wm ^IbiLtyWIIace scored Sunday at California Speedway. 54 career victories. ha. the (CART) drivers voting guts probably ran out and ". not to race in Texas? I'm - ' not a CART driver. 1 don't knoyv anything about It. I know the CART cars are so doggone fast, and Texas (Motor Speedway) is a little bit rough. It's not real rough, but It's a little blt,and'for those guys to run over 240 miles an hour, you've got to have some brave individuals to do that. And I think the the brains started kicking in, because to hit the wall atte over 240, that's a bad deal." What did you think about Gordon closing near the end? "He made some ' gallant efforts, but you can't let your gUar'd down. If I would have gone into the corner and screwed up ' a little bit, he would have probably got me." 1. Who was the first to .drive car No. 43 after Richard Petty's retirement? 2. What driver raced out of Dawsonville, Ga., at age 17, as "Wild Bill" Dawson? 3. What was the highest number of races ever won by Dale Earnhardt in a single season? •Z86TU!'TT'e :>looy Aiuoj -z t'Jf noBquaiiBQ A||eM 'T SH3MSNV • Jimmy Spencer will hold his fourth annual charity golf tournament at Edgewood in the Pines Golf Course in Drums, Pa., on June 14. The event will benefit Camp Victory, a facility for chronically ill children, and the EOS Therapeutic Riding Center, where handicapped children enjoy therapy by. riding horses. Other beneficiaries are the D.A.R.E. program for kids. Children's Library and other programs that benefit children in the local community. Other Winston Cup drivers, as well as television and radio celebrities, will take part. Spencer hopes to raise $100,000 this year. "Winning a Winston Cup race or finishing in the top five is pretty special," Spencer said, "but it does not compare with the feeling you get when you see those kids riding horses and knowing that this kind of therapy may help them walk someday, or the chronically ill kids enjoying a camping trip." For information on sponsorship packages and donations, please call Diana Mike at (570) 759-1490, or e-mail dmike@sunlink.net. FROM THE ARCHIVES The old Ontario Motor Speedway stood only a few ml|les from the present site of California Speedway. The 2i5-mile oval, mod^ed afler Indianapolis, hoited Winston Clip race* from :3,971-80, except lor a Mapijfyeaf lapse in 1973. Aii; fj>yt won the first itm pnfario races, and Benny Pai^nf ^on the" last two. All t^f0d, there w«ifl^kq^ii>Wlnston Cup race9"there/the |«iW^iows of VnrW fff* ^'"'^ilf^^j^^breast. . ^ j| Nemechek, Petree looking for sponsorship next season X CREW OF By Monte Dutton NASCAR This Week "Cost reduction initiatives" iiave been cited as the culprit in the long- expected decision of Oakwood Homes to give up its primary sponsorship of Joe Nemechek at Andy Petree Racing next year. Official confirmation comes after Nemechek'steammate.Bobby Hamilton, gave the two-car team its first victory April 22 inTalladega, Ala. "They have been great to us and true supporters in every sense of the word," Petree said. "I feel bad for them because I believe they would have loved to have remained a part of this and, without the problems in theii; industry right now, most likely would have. "Novv we've got to really beat the bushes and find sponsorship for this team. I feel really positive that someone is going to realize what a strong organization this is and come on board." DON'T BET THE RANCH: Winston Cup Series director Gary Nelson sounded fairly pessimistic after conducting exploratory tests with Steriing Martin's Dodge in a Monday session at Talladega Super- speedway. Dashing hopes of further rules changes to enhance the quality and safety of racing at so-called "restric- tor-plate tracks," Nelson said: "The results we received were not promising. While the test did not provide us with any immediate answers, we will still study what we learned and possibly regroup to organize another test to continue to build on the theory of a bigger, less aerodynamic greenhouse." Among the experiments conducted were width and height adjustments to the rear spoiler and front fenders, a more steeply angled windshield and a wider "greenhouse" (passenger) area. X TALLADEGA LEFTOVERS: The 29 cars that finished the Talladega 500 on the lead lap established an all-time record for the highest number in a completed 500-mile race. The previous recor4 26, was established in October 2000 at the same track in the Winston 500. The non-Talladega record is 22, set in June 1990 at Pocono. The most cars ever to finish on the lead lap in any Winston Cup race was 33, set at Watkins Glen, N.Y., on Aug, 13,2000. The record for a shortened 500-mile race was 32, at Atlanta Motor Speedway on Nov. 8,1998, when only 221 of 325 laps were completed. K BRIGHT LIGHTS, BIG CITY; Southern California is a welcome change of pace for Kannapolis, N.C, native Dale Earnhardt Jr. "TTie West Coast trips are always different," Earnhardt said. "I have a lot of friends in the Los Angeles area, so it's a chance for me to catch up with them and check out a lot of different things. For a boy from North Carolina, L.A. is like a breath of fresh air." • In the Auto Club 300, crew chief Billy Nacewicz came up with a strategy that allowed driver Hank Parker Jr. to complete the race with one less pit stop than all the other drivers except one. As a result, Parker won for the first time on NASCAR's premier auxiliary series, Busch Grand National, crossing the finish line in near tears and screaming In Joy t9 bis team over the radio. Copyright 2001 The Gaston (N.C.) Gazette Distributed by Universal Press Syndicate (800) 255-6734 For release week of April 30, 2001 • Design: CartaGraphics Inc., Sarasota, Ra.

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