The Salina Journal from Salina, Kansas on May 1, 1997 · Page 24
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The Salina Journal from Salina, Kansas · Page 24

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Thursday, May 1, 1997
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D4 THURSDAY, MAY 1, 1997 AUTO RACING THE SALINA JOURNAL T NASCAR Modern cars are no guarantee for safety Accidents, injuries occur as speeds increase and competition gets tougher By MIKE HARRIS Tlie Associated Press TALLADEGA, Ala. — Anybody who watches Winston Cup races has seen frightening, breathtaking crashes. Fans sit in stunned silence while multicolored, 3,400-pound cars flip wildly, barrel-roll, crash into concrete walls and steel fencing, and spew pieces of sheet metal and thick, black smoke. Since NASCAR was founded in 1949, 26 Winston Cup drivers have been killed in crashes in testing, practice, qualifying and races. Considering the hundreds of accidents during that period, the toll could have been much worse had NASCAR, car builders and teams not worked constantly to improve safety. Today's cars bear only an outward similarity to those sold at dealerships. Race cars have tube- frame chassis and steel roll cages that form a protective cocoon around the driver. It becomes a Ford, Chevy or Pontiac depending on the shape of the sheet met- "It's almost like we get a false sense of security, that nothing is going to happen to us when we get in these cars because we have the latest and the best stuff that there is out there for safety." Dale Jarrett Winston Cup driver al hung on the frame. After watching drivers walk away from crashes, few can doubt that the cars do protect them. But it's impossible to guarantee safety as speeds increase and competition gets tougher. A recent spate of accidents has left a long list of injuries in its wake. Former series champion Bill Elliott missed seven races after breaking a leg at Talladega last April. A crash in July at Talladega left seven-time Winston Cup champion Dale Earnhardt with a broken sternum and collarbone, knocking him out of contention for the season title. Terry Labonte won the 1996 championship despite breaking his hand in a crash before the penultimate race in Phoenix. Crashes this year have left Ricky Craven with a couple of fractured ribs and a broken shoulder blade, and Steve Grissom and Greg Sacks hobbling with broken feet. "Everybody who wrecks now is driving hurt the next week," said three-time Winston Cup champion Darrell Waltrip. "He's got a broken rib or broken collarbone or foot or something broken. These things hit the wall harder than they ever have before. "You look at the cars today, the reason they're faster than they were back when I started is because they're smaller," said Waltrip, in his 25th year of Winston Cup racing. "Back in the old days, we had what we called the crush factor," he continued. "What would hap- pen to a car if it would hit the wall? How far would it crush before it got into where it would hurt anything? That was driver's side and passenger's side. Today, on the driver's side, there is no crush factor. You are there. When you get slammed up into the wall on the driver's side, you have paid the price." Jeff Gordon, who at 25 is exactly half Waltrip's age, is the fastest rising star in NASCAR, having already won a championship and 23 races. And he says he feels safe in his cars. "I know from experience that hitting walls and being in some bad-looking accidents, the ones that hurt you are the ones where the cars stop and take a bad impact," Gordon said. "Some of these cars flipping and tearing a lot of pieces off the cars look real dramatic, but if you hit something with the front of the car or the rear of the car, usually that takes up a lot of the impact. "When you hit side-to-side with the door bars square up against the wall or something like that, that's usually when your body has to give and not the car anymore. Those are usually the ones that really hurt," he said. While each team has different equipment and budgets vary, the driver is ultimately responsible for making sure his car is safe, Gordon said. "I go and sit in every new car and get fitted in that car and make sure everything is comfortable and out of reach and as safe as it can possibly be," he said. Dale Jarrett, who drove several races last year with cracked ribs, says today's cars can trick drivers. "It's almost like we get a false sense of security, that nothing is going to happen to us when we get in these cars because we have the latest and the best stuff that there is out there for safety," Jarrett said. "Maybe everybody doesn't have the same thing, but it's up to the driver and the crews to make sure that you have the very best stuff. You have to pay attention to that. Still, I think things have come a long way in the last 10 years." FAIRCHILD PROMOTIONS presents uuuj EVERY SATURDAY NIGHT Gates Open 5:30 pm - Races Start 7:30 pm Under Now Management Jtnproved FacMitiesf FUN for the WHOLE FAMILY! 4 Classes: Now lower Prices: IMCA Modified, Pro Stock , Adults: $6 Strictly Stock, Mini Stock Kids 6-14: $2, Under 5: Free Wect on Crawford St., South on Burma Rd. For Info: (913) 825-0077 Special Advertising Feature THIS WEEK * ||T1m «« E «« t » m • Winston Cup, Save Mart 300, Qualifying 5 p.m. Friday, • ESPN2 • Cnflwmn Truck, Portland, Or*. 3:35 p.m. Saturday • TBS • Wlmton Cup Happy Hour 7 p.m. Saturday • ESPN2 • Wlntton Cup, Sne Mart 300 4 p.m. Sunday • Sonoma, Calif. • ESPN WINSTON CUT 1. Dale Jamn, 1,269. 2. Teny Labonte. 1.224. 3.JetlQotdon, 1.175. 4. Bobby Labonte, 1.061. 5. Mark Martin, 1.029. 6. Jelf Burton, 992. 7. Ricky Rudd 981. 8. Dale Earnhardt. 980. 9.Ru*yWalaoB.977. 10. Bobby HarnHon, 945. 1. Randy LaJole, 1.608. 2.Todd Bodine. 1,596. 3. Jell Green, 1,544. 4. Phil Parsons. 1.468. 5. Dick Trickle, 1,440. 6.ThlFedB»yo,1,369. 7. BOdoholJojien, 1.315. a. Steve Park, 1,300. 9. Hermkt Sadler, 1.242. 10. Elton Sawyer, 1,220. THUCK 1. Hick Bldde. 620. 2. Ja* Spraguo, 509, 3.MlkeBliM,578. 4. Chuck Brown, 572. 5. Ron Homaday. 563. e.JaySauter. 561. 7. Konny Imln Jr.. 559. 6. Dave Rezendes, 547. 9 Butch Miller, 541. 10. Jimmy Hanatey. 537. PAST BUSCH GRAND NATIONAL: Mark Martin, who has never been a regular In the series, won his 31st event In the Birmingham Auto Dealers 300k at Talladega. The victory tied Martin with Jack Ingram for leadership In the all-time victories category. Martin held off Steve Park - who was being coached via radio by car owner Dale Earnhardt - by a 10th of a second. Only one yellow flag slowed the race, but that was a significant one. Weekly rankings by NASCAR This Week writer Monte Dutton. Last week's ranking Is In parentheses. I.Jeff Gordon (1) The Kid grows up 2. Dale Jarrett (2) Never on the road 3. Terry Labonte (3) The art of consistency 4.RuetyWallace(4) Road-race ace 5. Mark Martin (6) Bound to win 6. Dale Earnhardt (7) Comeback trail 7. Jeff Burton (S) Break-out year 8. Bobby Labonte (8) The Man at Pontiac 9. Bobby Hamilton (9) The King's knight 10. BUI Elliott (10) His day will come The winning** «*ve VMneton Cup *lv»r m*4* « Mrlee o| pointed remark* WW earn* ww uadtr*ctw«p«lN*teii,lne ; HriMdlr«ctar.'VAiydotn|iy ' •Jwiys hm to open up thiir bog oi uiotor Mk*0 vv«ini, •w<x cwl It ever be tlmple *iyn«ie?" NMCMlMtWnk-* «««*• would prabetty be tahtonaMe for ma to say fiat the sport haa pawed OwraH Waltrip by. Unfortunately, praetcaHy everything he«ay»ro«toeien»etom».- Randy LaJole tapped Buckshot Jones, and that contact set off a crash that severely damaged nine cars, Including the Ford driven by Elton Sawyer, which exploded In flames. There were, however, no serious Injuries. WINSTON CUP: The Winston 500, in Talladega, Ala., was postponed due to rain. It has been rescheduled for Saturday, May 10, at 1:30 p.m. EST. It will be on a Saturday so as not to conflict with Mother's Day. April 6 April 13 April 20 May 4 May 11 May 17 May 25 Junol Junes June 15 June 22 July 5 July 13 July 20 Aug. 2 Aug. 10 Aug. 17 Aug. 23 Aug. 31 Sept. e Sept. 14 Sept. 21 Interstate Ban. 500, Fort Worth. Texas Food City 500, Bristol, Tenn. Goody's 500, Martlnsvllle. Va. Save Mart 300, Sonoma, Calif. Winston 500, Talladega. Ala. The Winston, Charlotte, N.C. Coca-Cola 600, Charlotte, N.C. Miller 500, Dover, Del. Pocono 500, Long Pond, Pa. Miller 400. Brooklyn, Mien. California 500, Fontana, Calif. Pepsi 400, Daytona Jilty Lube 300, Loudon, N.H. Pennsylvania 500, Long Pond, Pa. Brickyard 400, Indianapolis Bud al the Glen, Walklns Qlen, N.Y. ITW Devllblsa 400, Brooklyn, Mich. Goody's 500, Bristol, Tenn. Mountain Dew Southern 500, Darlington Winston Cup 400, Richmond New Hampshire 300, Loudon, N.H. MBNA 500, Dover D. Jarrett Wallace Wallace (T. Labonte) (Irvan) (Gordon) (Gordon) (Gordon) (Gordon) (Hamilton) X (Gordon) (Craven) (Martin) (Gordon) (Earnhardt) (J. Burton) (Martin) (Jarrett) (Martin) X (B. Labonte) Jell Burton Gordon Gordon (Wallace) (Marlln) (M.Wultrlp) (Jarrett) (Gordon) (Gordon) (R.Wallace) X (Marlln) (Irvan) (Wallace) (Jarrell) (G. Bodine) (Jarretl) (R.Wallace) (Gordon) (Irvan) X (Gordon) THE WINSTON CUP CIRCUIT COMING UP: The Save Man Supermarkets 300 on May 4, WHERE: The 2.52-mUe Seare Point Raceway In Sonoma, Calif. ABOUT THE TRACK: Sears Point, featuring seven right turns and five left, has been hosting Winston Cup races since 1989. This Is [ the first race there since Barton Smith's Speedway Motorsports acquired the track and Initiated a series of massive renovations. DEFENDING CHAMPION: Rusty ALMOST HOME COOKING Well, OK, II might be home cooking In Beijing, but Brandy Ho's, two locations In downtown San Francisco, is a superlative Hunan Chinese eatery, specializing In hot, spicy cuisine. Try the onion cakes as an appetizer. Wallac* Wallace. OTHER FAVORITES: Only Wallace and Ernie In/an have won this race twice. Other past winners Include Ricky Rudd, the late Davey Allison, Geoff Bodine and Dale Earnhardt, who had never won on a road course until his 1996 triumph. THREE WHO COULD SURPRISE: Jeff Gordon is primed for a road-course vic- tory, and Terry Labonte, a fine road racer, hasn't won one since 1984. Mark Martin has never won at Sears Point but has three victories at the circuit's other road course, WatkinsQIen. KEYTOTHE RACE: Road racing demands specialized skills, and track position Is Immensely important since aH but a few drivers will finish on the lead lap. SATURDAY PRELIM: A 200-kilometer race will be held for the drivers on NASCAR's Featherlite Southwest Tour. Irvan John CKlW NASCAR Ttlli Wttk Ward Burton hopes to turn things around In 1997 after a disappointing 1996, Ward Burton At Texas Motor Speedway, Jeff Burton became a firat- tlme winner on the Winston Cup circuit. But hi* older brother Ward became the tint driver In the family to claim that honor at North Carolina Motor Speedway In October of 1895. The brother*, while bearing a (light resemblance, have strikingly different personalities. Ward Is the more reserved, an Introvert who spends much of his spare time In the wild. Soon after winning his first race, Ward began Investing money In a wildlife preservation program In his native Virginia. After a disappointing 1996 season, Ward and car owner Bill Davis regained momentum In early 1997. Both are convinced that their Rocklngham victory will not be their last together. • AGE: 35 • SPOUSE: Tabltha • CHILDREN: Sarah (10), Jeb (4). WHY I LIKE Te« u* In 100 word* or, lewwhyr Burton favour "^nr tewf Re dnver. One totter * dmwn from the entriee end trie winner wl receive a NASCAR Thl» Week hit. Send your entry to: nMMMiwiUKtt n»te»iim>i,tiiht. Debbto tusk ct wonah«tkxhwWriyllJ<« Bobby Hamilton totMr. • CAR: No. 22 MBNA America Pontiac Grand Prix, owned by BUI Davis. • HOMETOWN: Born In Danville, Va,, lives In South Boston, Va. • RECORD: 91 starts, 1 win, 2 poles, 4 top fives, 15 top 10s, almost $3 million In earnings. • LAST RACE:XXX • HOW DO YOU FEEL ABOUT THE PROGRESS YOUR TEAM IS MAKING? "We're definitely a lot more pleased, but at the same time, we see some things we could have done that would have made us better. It's human nature never to be satisfied." I HOW DID YOU FEEL WHEN YOUR BROTHER WON HIS FIRST WINSTON CUP RACE? "I congratulated him and told him I knew It was like a weight being lifted off his shoulders. There were so many emotions. I was really happy. They wanted me to get In the pictures In victory lane, but that was his day In the spotlight. He earned it." • IS THERE FEAR WHEN YOU CLIMB INTO THE CAR BEFORE A RACE AT TALLADEGA? "Fear is not the word, but I think there Is some anxiety, some concern about what could happen. Everybody knows that if you start to let off at Talladega, you're , going to the back, but it's a heck of a lot better to let off WHO'S HOT,., WHO'S NOT WHO'S HOT: m Entering TeJwtooA Ken Schndw had improved Irom32ndlo17lhlnthe point itandlna* In the tp»n of jutt faunae**. WMO'SMOr: » Mike Skinner cams to Tatadega with wven oanMcutlw finltriea of 21rt of tower. Sohreder 1. What Craftsman Truck Series driver has a brother who was the youngest wtruw ey*r ofthelndianapoteSOO? 2. What famous driver was banned Irom Ih* sport tor hia involvement with the Team- stars Union? 3. What famous racing announcer le also (ha voice of the Alabama Crimson Tide? WO 113 '6 JuuinxsnJnO'3 Aou jo 4»mo4q jaBunoX 'UBuqtnU W J MHMSNV YOUR TUHH READERS ASK TOE QUESTIONS Dear Your Turn, I have been looking for a catalog for NASCAR jackets, hats and caps. Where can I find one? Rose Carpenter Bradford, Penn. Dear NASCAR fan. A good place to start your collection would be through The Officjal Directory for the NASCAR Winston Cup Series. The directory can be ordered for $19.95 by calling 1-800-RACE- 345. Several advertisers specializing in NASCAR merchandise are listed. Dear Your Turn, To prevent another injury like the one Bill Elliot received from the side bars that ure meant to protect him, why can't the driver be located in the center of the car? This would give the driver better crash protection in tile event of an accident. The roll cage could be made (o surround the driver and give him more security. The crew chief could certainly relocate the steering wheel and the pedals. Parts could be obtained from right-hand cars or from vehicles for handicapped drivers. Being located in the center of the car would give die driver a better feel of the car. Harold Klndler Louisville, Ohio Dear Your Turn, The feud between (Jimmy) Spencer and (Geoff) Bodine at Bristol, Tenn., is why I'm writing. I feel NASCAR should have given Bodine a bigger fine than $10,000. This is supposed to be a Christian-oriented sport and for Bodine to use God's name in vain on national TV is absurd. Bodine also said on TV that he hud hit Spencer on purpose, and then Bodine claimed lu's steering apparatus failed. So which is it, Bodine? i feel Bodine has bit off more than he can chew. Tammy Beckham Buffalo, Ky. If you've got a question or a comment, write: NASCAR This Week Your Turn, c/oThe Gaston Gazette, 2500 E. Franklin Blvd., Gastonla, N.C. 28054. Craw •( the NMk u Hats off tp Jack Housh's Buich Grand National craw, whlcnpfop»lted Mark Martin to a record-ieWng victory In the Birmingham Auto Dealers 500k. Martin earnd the 31st BQN victory of his career, tying Jack Ingram'p 10-year- old record. Oil & Lube SI/195 • •I^B incluc • •• 5 qua includes up to 5 quarts of oil Plus FREE 15 Point Inspection Call Now! 913-823-6372 Bennett Autoplex, Inc. Service Department Best Buffet in Balina Breakfast & Lunch *5.99 Dinner $ 7.29 Open 24 hours, 7 days per week. 651 S. Ohio REALTOR 415 E.Iron 825-5200 800-825-0206 http/Avww.remax.com Each Office Independently Owned and Operated Belleville High Banks Walk-ins Welcome 827-6453 SiatCare Family Medical Clinic & Minor Emergency Center -irm-l 0 rtUi,~ (Corner Ohio 1001 S. OhlO &R epubhc) Box 349, Belleville, KS 66935 C^orvvritefcr/P97Scnedufe JUIM8 NCRA 360 Sprints July 13 NCRA Outlaw Sprints^ Mark Miller 913-527-2244 Curtis Klima 913-527-2949 Coors Light Wearables & Accessorial available at our Retell Outlet. CROWN DISTRIBUTORS, INC. 913B27D321 606 N.Ohio Salina, KS 67401 OILCHANGE&IUE $ 9 No appointment necessary SOME VEHICLES SLIGHTLY HIGHER In 30 minute or less or the next one is FREE on all GM, Toyota, and Honda vehicles. Extra time may be required (or other makes. INCLUDES UP TO 5 QUARTS OF HAVOUNE OIL AND FILTER CONKLIN CARS Copyright 1897The Qeeton (N.C.) Gazette • Distributed by Universal Press Syndicate (800) 255-6734 • For release week ol April 28 901 E. CRAWFORD 825 9515 2700 S. 9TH 825 8271 M-ttMMUfJIals The aggressively responsive, all-season, steel-belted radial with rood-hugging performance and super-smooth ride. Manual Transmission & Transfer Case WAREHOUSE Replacement Parts For JEEP • FORD • CHEVY • GM SPICER« DANA ' Power Train Components Distributor link's AUIU HtWUH & 4 WHfctL UHlVfc SHOP Oil & Filter Change $1199 • I tfitlmll Change oil filter and replace with genuine Molorcraft filter, change engine oil (up to 5 quarts oil). Diesels not included. Includes 1 5 point Safely Inspection. LINCOLN MtHlUHY ' 340 N. Santa Fe, Salina 623-2237 1 -8004744319 We can fill your upholstery demands! Ken Johnson JD Johnton U AUTO STERY 'b* 913-825-8955 410 N. Sth Salina Come See Our ATV's 400 KODIAK 4X4 MS3R49p '475off BIG BEAR 350 4X4 M.S.R.P. tAfkn $5,299 '400 Off TIMBERWOLF 250 2X4 M.S.R.H. |OK/V $3,699 '2250 Off $6,349 Come see our full family of Yamaha ATVs. starting with the friendly 79cc Badger up to the ri newly refined 386 cc four-wheel drive Kodiak. • Yamaha ATVs are packed with convenience features like electric starting, automatic transmissions and reverse from any gear. • They have reliability features including shaft drive, no-maintenance ignitions, cold-weather batteries and large cargo racks. • Come see our wide selection of ATVs, accessories and clothing. ATVs with engine sizes ol 90cc or greater are recommended lor use only by those age 16 or older. • Yamaha recommends that all ATV riders take an approved training course. For safety and training Information, see your dealer or call the ATV Safety Institute at 1-800887-2867. • ATVs can be hazardous to operate. For your safety: Always wear a helmet, eye protection and protective clothing; never ride on paved surfaces or public roads: never carry passengers; never engago In stunt riding: riding and alcohol/drugs don't mix: avoid excessive speed; and be particularly caieful on difficult terrain. /JgOT/5 WaSarvica What We Sail 129S. 4rri Open M-F 8:30-6, Sat. 8:30-4 pm Salina 913-827-6743

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