IMS Brickyard 400 Preview -- Gordon, Earnhardt, Jarret Headlining
24 July 1997
FORMER WINNERS GORDON, EARNHARDT, JARRETT HEADLINE BRICKYARD 400 ENTRIES For Immediate Release INDIANAPOLIS, July 23, 1997 -- Former winners Jeff Gordon, Dale Earnhardt and Dale Jarrett head the entry list for the fourth Brickyard 400 NASCAR Winston Cup race Aug. 2 at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway. A total of 52 cars are on the entry list and drivers will bid for 38 starting spots through qualifying July 31-Aug. 1 at the 2 1/2-mile oval. Up to five provisional starters may be added. Practice starts Wednesday, July 30. Gordon won the inaugural Brickyard 400 in 1994, Earnhardt took the second edition in 1995 and Jarrett won last year, taking over from Robert Yates Racing teammate Ernie Irvan in the closing stages. In addition to being the defending winner, Jarrett comes to the Brickyard event after winning the series' last outing at Pocono. Jarrett comes to Indianapolis leading the series in miles led (1,919.367), times led (45) and laps led (1,502) and is second in races led (12 to Gordon's 14) and miles run (7,376.023 to Earnhardt's 7,411.979). Thirty-one drivers have competed in all three Brickyard 400s to date and all are entered. Three drivers -- Gordon, Earnhardt and Elliott -- have led all three Brickyard races, Earnhardt's lead in 1996 coming through the effort of relief driver Mike Skinner. Of the three, only Elliott is looking for his first Brickyard 400 win after finishing third, fourth and 10th. Of the entries, owner/drivers Darrell Waltrip and Bill Elliott are fielding a second car. Waltrip's second machine will be driven by Rich Bickle. Elliott's additional entry is for Ron Barfield Jr. Robby Gordon will attempt to become the fifth Indianapolis 500 veteran to make a Brickyard 400 field, following John Andretti, A.J. Foyt, Danny Sullivan and Geoff Brabham. Jeff Gordon will be shooting for his third straight Brickyard 400 Busch Pole in qualifying. Rick Mast won the inaugural pole at the Speedway. Posted awards for the Brickyard 400 total $4,490,311 plus additional postings from the Speedway totaling $325,000. The additions include $200,000 to the winner from PPG Industries, sponsor of the winner's PPG Trophy. Jeff Gordon took home $613,000 for the inaugural win, Earnhardt got $565,600 for the 1995 triumph and Jarrett picked up a check for $584,035 for last year's victory. Gordon became the first driver to earn more than $1 million in Brickyard 400 competition last year, pushing his three-year total to $1,049,791. The race, which has been sold out since last August, will be aired live by ABC Sports and the Indianapolis Motor Speedway Radio Network. ..BY97-08..