The Gazette from Cedar Rapids, Iowa on July 10, 1999 · 22
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The Gazette from Cedar Rapids, Iowa · 22

Cedar Rapids, Iowa
Issue Date:
Saturday, July 10, 1999
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Aut6lRacing Sat., July 10, 1999 6c The Gazette, Cedar Rapids, Iowa WEEKENdTKA'CIMGTDNEUr; rointsTCEader NASCAR WINSTON CUP Jiffy Lube 300 WINSTON CUP GRAND NATIONAL CART IRL SITE: Loudon, N.H. SCHEDULE: Today, second-round ... . qualifying, 10 a,m.; Sunday, race (TNN, Noon (KHAK-FM)) WiZlSfOZlCtn) TRACK: New Hampshire International Speedway (oval, 1.058 miles, 12 degrees banking in turns). RACE DISTANCE: 317.4 miles, 300 laps, LAST YEAR: Jeff Burton successfully defended his title, easily holding off Mark Martin. LAST RACE: A late-race caution enabled Winston Cup points leader Dale Jarrett to conserve enough gas his tank went dry on the cooldown lap to win the Pepsi 400 at Daytona International Speedway. FAST FACTS: Jarrett has 14 consecutive top-10 finishes. . . . The last six halfway points leaders have gone on to win the series title. Jarrett leads Bobby Labonte, 2,674-2,497. . . . Dale Earnhardt Jr. will make his second Winston Cup start. Earnhardt, the defending champion of the Busch series, will move up to Winston Cup next year. . . . Ford has eight victories this season. Chevrolet is second with six. NEXT RACE: Pennsylvania 500, July 25, Long Pond. WEBSITE: BUSCH GRAND NATIONAL LAST RACE: Eighteen-year-old Casey Atwood passed Jeff Green on the final lap to win the DieHard 250 at The Milwaukee Mile, Atwoods victory made him the youngest driver to win a Busch race. P NEXT RACE: Myrtle Beach 250, July 17, Myrtle Beach, S.C, WEBSITE: NASCAR CRAFTSMAN TRUCK SERIES Federated Auto Parts 250 SITE: Nashville, Tenn. SCHEDULE: Today, race (CBS, 2:30 p.m.) TRACK: Nashville Speedway USA (oval, 0.596 miles, 18 degrees banking in turns). RACE DISTANCE: 250 laps, 149 miles. LAST YEAR: Jimmy Hensley won, giving Richard Petty his first victory as a truck owner. Hensley started 30th in the 34-truck field, and became the first driver in series history to win after failing to qualify and taking a provisional position on the grid. LAST RACE: Greg Biffle survived a botched pit stop and was able to race through the field to win the DieHard 200 at The Milwaukee Mile. Biffle overshot his stall on his final stop. His crew then dropped the jack from underneath his Ford, and he went back on the track in eighth position. But Biffle chased down Jack Sprague and Rick Crawford to become the tours first three-time winner this season. FAST FACTS: Ron Homaday is the only driver to finish in the top 10 in all three Federated Auto Parts'250s. . . . 181 of 761 laps in the history of the race have been run under caution. . . . There have been no repeat winners in the three-year history of the event. NEXT RACE: NAPA Autocare 200, July 18, Nazareth, Pa. WEBSITE: INDY RACING LEAGUE LAST RACE: Greg Ray held off Sam Schmidt by .12 seconds to in the Radisson 200 in Fountain, Colo. Ray finished with an average speed of 134.111 mph. NEXT RACE: Kobalt Tools 500, July 17, Hampton, Ga. WEBSITE: CART SERIES Texaco-Havoline 200 SITE: Elkhart Lake, Wis. SCHEDULE: Today, qualifying (ESPN, 6:30 p.m.); Sunday, race (ABC, 1 p.m.) TRACK: Road America (permanent road course, 4.048 miles, 14 turns). RACE DISTANCE: 202.4 miles, 50 laps. LAST YEAR: Dario Franchittl got his first CART victory. Alex Zanardi finished second, 7.102 seconds back. LAST RACE: Rookie Juan Montoya finished more than 10 seconds ahead of runner-up Gil de Ferran at the Medic Grand Prix in Cleveland for his fourth victory in just nine career starts. The race ended On the 90th lap, 10 laps early, because of a downpour. FAST FACTS: Montoya leads the in the points race, 112-87, over de Ferran. . . . CART announced that it will not be return next year to the temporary road course at Cleveland's Burke Lakefront Airport. Race organizers are bringing in the Indy Racing League to run on an oval at the airport. NEXT RACE: Molson Indy, July 18, Toronto. WEBSITE: FORMULA 1 British Grand Prix SITE: Silverstone, England. SCHEDULE: Today, qualifying, (Speedvision, 7 a.m.); Sunday, race, (Speedvision, 6:30 a.m.) TRACK: Silverstone Circuit (road course, 3.196 miles, 14 turns). RACE DISTANCE: 191.76 miles, 60 laps. LAST YEAR: Michael Schumacher won in a strange finish. Leading by more than 20 seconds on the final lap, the Ferrari star drove onto pit road. Still, he crossed the finish line in front. LAST RACE: Helnz-Harald Frentzen, thanks to his pit-stop strategy, won the French Grand Prix in Magny-Cours. Frentzen took a heavy fuel load on his sole stop, slowing his car. But other drivers chose to pit twice, and the additional time on the track proved decisive for Frentzen. FAST FACTS: Three-time winner Mika Hakkinen leads two-time winner Schumacher. 40-32, in the standings. . . . Former FI champion Damon Hill has said he will retire at the end of the season. NEXT RACE: Austrian Grand Prix, July 25, Spielberg. WEBSITE: NATIONAL HOT ROD ASSOCIATION i LAST RACE: Gary Scelzl won the Top Fuel division at the Sears Craftsman Nationals in Madison, III. John Force (Funny Car) and Jim Yates (Pro Stock) won in their divisions. NEXT RACE: Mopar Parts Mile-High Nationals, July 15-18. Denver. WEBSITE: INDY RACING LEAEUE Jarrett in driver's seat Loudon, n.h. (ap Dale Jarrett drives the house car, the one that says Ford Credit. Right now, he seems to be driving it to the Winston Cup championship something Ford has won only twice since 1972. The way hes talking, Jarrett expects the big shots in Detroit to be in a celebratory mood should he succeed. I think if a Ford driver could win right now, he could have his way at Ford Motor Co. for a while, Jarrett said, looking ahead to the second half of the season. I think they would be WINSTON CUP indebted to a team that could do that. Jarrett carries a 177-point lead over Bobby Labonte into the 18th of 34 races, the Jiffy Lube 300 Sunday at New Hampshire International Speedway. Its a lead built on consistency. Jarrett got his third victory this season last Saturday night in the Pepsi 400 at Daytona International Speedway his 13th top-five finish in 17 starts. Its surprising that it hasnt happened more with all of the good Ford teams weve had over JMimsms dlays Sira M5A trjMiiM flwm Racer leaving circuit for Busch Grand National series By Jeff Dahn Gazette sportswriter Jimmie Johnson began his American Speed Association career on the half-mile at Hawkeye Downs Speedway in September of 1997. Johnson, a 23-year-old phe-nom from El Cajon, Calif., will likely wind down that career on the same track exactly two years later. If things go according to plan, Johnson will run his second-to-last ASA race at Hawkeye Downs on Sept. 18. The series final race of the season is Oct. 2 at Orange County Speedway in Rouge-mont, N.C. The ASA ACDelco Challenge Series Rookie of the Year in 1998, Johnson has announced his intentions to pursue a fulltime program in the NASCAR Busch Grand National Series next year, bringing to an. .end an exciting, exhilarating riae in the ASA that is hitting on all six cylinders this season. Johnson made the fourth Busch Series start of his racing career last Sunday in the Die-Hard 250 at the famed Milwaukee Mile, qualified 14th and finished an impressive seventh. It was his first NASCAR start in 1999. Were going to run five (Busch Series events) this season for Herzog Motorsports, which also owns my ASA program, Johnson said Friday from the Tavern on the Mall on the Hawkeye Downs grounds. "Were going to do a full-time Busch program next season. Herzog Motorsports is a two-car ASA team this year, with rookie Rick Johnson of El Cajon, Calif. remarkably, no relation to Jimmie driving the other car. Theyre going to continue to run their ASA program next season, but its a little unclear if theyre going to have a two-car team or just a single-car team, Jimmie Johnson said. The way it looks right now, Rick Johnson will be back in the ASA car again and Ill be making the transition to the full Busch season. Johnson will be missed at ASA venues around the country. Smart and charismatic, he immediately became a fan fa- the years, Jarrett said of the championship. Hopefully, thats something thats going to change this year. Indeed, unless Jarrett forgets how he reached the top of the standings. He plans no changes to the formula that has firmly established .him as the one to beat the rest of the way. Jarrett isnt totally content. He sees room for improvement. Can we get better? he asked rhetorically after giving his team a mid-term grade of A. Yes. We can be an A-plus team in the fact that we can run better. Actually, discounting an accident that relegated him to 37th in the season-opening Daytona 500, the running has been little short of sensational. Only the ASA NOTES vorite, and with one win and seven top-10 finishes in niqe starts this season, hes proven he can drive. Not bad for a guy who got his start running off-road races in his native California and has been driving on ovals for only two years. This is something where you .lay there at night and you think and you dream, and you hope that this progression happens, Johnson said. Tve been real blessed to have the Herzogs because they share the same goals in motorsports that I do. SCHAEFER READY TO RUMBLE Local driver T.J. Schaefer is in the same boat Jimmie Johnson was in two years ago. Schaefer, a Friday night regular in the Late Model division at Hawkeye Downs Speedway, will make his ASA debut tonight in the Pontiac Excitement 250. Hell be driving the No. 66 Pontiac owned by Bill Skogman of Cedar Rapids. Johnny Spaw used to drive the car and I worked in the pits for Johnny Spaw, Schaefer said. We just thought wed come out and practice and see if it was something I was able to do. We got about 140 laps in, so were going to go out and try it and see if I can get in the field. Schaefer has enjoyed a lot of success in a short amount of time behind the wheel of his Late Model. He picked up his first feature win of the season on June 25 and ranks fifth in the points chase. . But Late Models and ASA cars arent the same animal. Its a lot different car to drive, Schaefer said after running a practice session in the ASA car earlier this week. Today I felt pretty comfortable, but the first few times out it was kind of scary. Its a lot faster, theres more horsepower and the tires are different. Schaefer, 32, will be the only local entrant in tonights race. Aaron Warwick of Oskaloosa was scheduled to attempt to qualify, but he crashed his car during a practice session Thursday and decided not to enter. Schaefer is looking forward to carrying the local banner. Its nice to keep the local people in the ASA racing because it can only lead to bigger things, Schaefer said. "ASA has a great series going on and its only going to get better. Its nice to be a part of that. starts havent been so great. Jarrett knows improving on them will make his job easier. The equipment wont have to withstand as much abuse, and the chances of being involved in points-rob-bing accidents will be significantly reduced. We can finish fourth and fifth without having to come from 25th, he said. Thats the one side we want to improve on. The process is in its infancy, but Jarrett is hopeful that improvement will allow him to continue finishing so well that todayjsTscheduli 11:00 a.m. 3:00 p.m. 5:45 p.m. 6:00 p.m. 7:30 p.m. 7:55 p.m. 6:04 p.m. 8:11 p.m. ASA: St. Amants From page 1C ning of the run to the end of the run, it changes drastically one way or the other from tight to loose. We always try to have a pretty loose car for qualifying because it seems to get tighter as the race goes on. There are a handful of drivers who seem to have the track figured out, with St. Amant at the head of the class. He has finished in the top 10 in all eight of his starts here. Miller and Beebe have also been steady, with three top-five finishes apiece. Miller was third in the September race in 1997 and finished second behind Mike Eddy in last Septembers 300-lap race. I feel like that old race track in Cedar Rapids owes me at least one (win), and maybe two, Miller said. That Sept. 19, 1997, race still gets talked about frequently in ASA circles. Steve Hansen, Steve Carlson and Miller came roaring out of turn four on lap 300 three-wide, with Hansen finally taking the checkered flag first just before spinning widely into the infield and turn one. ACDciCO PONTIAC u:m:i!m:i OIIUIAL RADIO STATION Satnnlar, Jnlp llth Schedule 1 Eients 1 2:00 pm Spectator Gitu Open 3:00 pm ASA Qualifications 0:00 pm ASA On-Trick Autograph Session 1:00 pm Pontiac Excitement 250 1. Scott Goodyear 2. Jeff Ward 3. Greg Ray 4. Eddie Cbeever 5. Kenny Brack 5. Scott Sharp 7. Mark Dismore 7. Davey Hamilton 9, Buddy Lazier 10. Billy Boat 23. Donnie Beechler 164 149 131 121 109 109 107 107 104 102 45 he cant be caught regardless of how often his pursuers win. Qualifying at times in the first part of the year has been hard, he said. That seems to have gotten better recently. He credits crew chief Todd Parrott ' and his subordinates from Robert Yates Racing with eventually overcoming the problems created by poor starts Im fortunate that I have a good enough team that can make those adjustments and get us there before the day is out, Jarrett said. History suggests that his position is strong. No driver who led at the halfway point has failed to win the title since the late Alan Kulwicki came from behind to give Ford its most recent championship, in 1992. PONTIAC EXCITEMENT 250 Today, at Hawkeye Downs , Practice (2a hours) S Qualifications Cars on grid On track driver autograph session Pre-race ceremonies National Anthem .Command to start engines Pontiac Excitement 250 a regular contender feel like that old race track in Cedar Rapids owes me at least one (win), and maybe two. Mike Miller TONIGHTS RACE IS the first time an ASA event at Hawkeye Downs is going fewer than 300 laps. Touring the half-mile for 125 miles instead of 150 creates some changes in strategy- It changes things a little bit, Johnson said. With the way our cars consume fuel and the way the tires work out, 300 is a pretty good race for us. In this race, you go for some track position and be nice to those tires, and when you get to lap 200, really put the charge on instead of 250. Beebe and Steve Holzhausen are the only previous Hawkeye Downs winners who preregistered for tonights race. Beebe won last Julys 300-lap event. CHALLENGE SERIES freasec Lightning mniumuawa IMS National Champon Gary St Ament mi Reside el the Yea Jimmie Jehmee PI iif Mike Miner Mike Haney ' Rick leebe dm tauter

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