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NASCAR Winston Cup Brickyard 400 Preview -- #31, Mike Skinner

24 July 1997

 #31 Mike Skinner, Lowe's Chevrolet Monte Carlo
 NASCAR Winston Cup Series
 Brickyard 400 Advance
 Indianapolis Motor Speedway


INDIANAPOLIS, IN - Skinner's sixth-place finish in the Pennsylvania
500 at Pocono Raceway was a career-best.

 - His other top-10 finish -- ninth -- this year came in the Miller
500 at Dover, Del.

 - Skinner has been the top finishing rookie in 11 of the 18 races run
so far this season. As a result, he holds a commanding lead in the
race for the 1997 NASCAR Winston Cup Rookie of the Year Award. Skinner
has earned 179 rookie points compared to 147 for David Green, 133 for
Robby Gordon and 63 for Jeff Green.

 - Skinner is the first driver in NASCAR history to win both pole
positions at Daytona International Speedway -- the Daytona 500 and the
Pepsi 400 -- in his rookie season.

 - Although this is Skinner's rookie season, this will not be his
first race at Indianapolis Motor Speedway. He drove in relief for Dale
Earnhardt in last year's Brickyard 400. Earnhardt suffered a broken
collarbone and sternum a week earlier in a savage crash at Talladega,
Ala. Skinner got in the car during the first yellow flag on lap
seven. He finished 15th, one of 21 drivers on the lead lap. Good pit
strategy by the GM Goodwrench team allowed Skinner to lead one lap.

 - Skinner has led six of the 18 races this season.

 - As part of Richard Childress Racing, Skinner spent five days
testing at Indianapolis Motor Speedway for the Brickyard 400. "We are
very happy with our test," says Skinner. "We seem to be getting around
the track pretty well. We tried a lot of different things and
different cars. We weren't the fastest (among the test speeds), but we
were pretty close to the top. We feel we are going to be in real good
shape for the race."

 - Skinner believes the second half of the season is "going to be a
good one for the Lowe's team. I am really looking forward to going
back to a lot of these tracks. That top-10 at Pocono really felt good,
and I hope to get a lot more of those during the second half. Even
during the last part of the first half, we had some real good race
cars. But our luck wasn't too good. We were either blowing an engine
or breaking a rear end or the driver was missing pit road or getting
caught up in a crash. But we went to Loudon and had a good run and had
a good run at Pocono. I think things are really turning around for
this team.

 - Both Skinner and car owner Richard Childress believe the rookie
driver can win a race before the season is over. "We've had a car
capable of winning already a couple of times this year, but we haven't
put the whole picture together," says Skinner. "Winning in Winston Cup
takes a total team effort.  Everybody on the team, including the
driver, has to get good enough to be in contention to win a
race. We're not quite to that point, but we're getting closer every
week. And we're going to get there before the year is over."

 - Adds Childress, "we set high expectations for the Lowe's team, and
I think it's coming together. We've shown the potential of it the last
three weeks. Mike has a tremendous amount of talent. Rookies have won
races in Winston Cup before.  Dale Earnhardt did. And it's not out of
the realm of possibility for Mike to win a race if we put the complete
race team behind him."

By Sports Marketing Enterprises