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NASCAR Winston Cup ITW DeVilbiss 400 Preview: #31, Mike Skinner

13 August 1997

 #31 Mike Skinner, Lowe's Chevrolet Monte Carlo 
 NASCAR Winston Cup Series
 ITW DeVilbiss 400 Advance
 Michigan Speedway

BROOKLYN, MI - Skinner is one of only 10 drivers who has led seven or
more races in 1997. Jeff Gordon leads this category as he has led 16
of the 20 races this season.

 - Skinner is one of four drivers who has two pole positions this
season.  Both of Skinner's poles came at Daytona International
Speedway. The driver who wins the most pole positions will collect a
$50,000 bonus at the end of the season. No one has yet to win three
pole positions, although Dale Jarrett is credited with a third since
he was the No. 2 qualifier when Bobby Hamilton won the pole at Pocono
(Pa.) Raceway in June. Hamilton is not eligible for the Busch Pole
Award since he does not have a Busch sticker on his STP Pontiac.

 - Skinner has been the top-finishing rookie in 12 of 20 races so far
this year. He also is the only rookie with three top-10 finishes. No
other rookie has more than one top-10. As a result, Skinner leads the
race for the 1997 NASCAR Rookie of the Year Award by a 195-167 margin
over David Green. Robby Gordon is third with 166 points, while Jeff
Green is next with 89 points.

 - Three straight top-20 finishes, including two in the top 10, have
allowed Skinner to gain five positions in his bid to finish in the top
15-20 in the NASCAR Winston Cup point race. Skinner now stands 24th.

 - Despite his fiery exit in the Miller 400 at Michigan Speedway on
June 15, Skinner is anxious to return to the two-mile track for
Sunday's ITW DeVilbiss 400. "If we can run as well as we did in June,
we're going to be in great shape," says Skinner. "We had a great
car. I don't know how the day would have turned out, but we certainly
had a car capable of giving us our first top-five."

 - In June, Skinner started 16th. He quickly moved into the top-10,
but on lap nine he tangled with Geoff Bodine and slammed hard into the
second-turn wall as the car exploded into flames. Skinner jumped out
of the car only moments after it slid to a stop at the bottom of the
track. He escaped unhurt, and he credited the track's safety crew with
"doing a heck of a job. They got there before the car had come to a
complete stop."

 - While winning the rookie of the year title remains near the top of
Skinner's wish list for his first full year of Winston Cup racing, his
No. 1 goal remains winning a race before the end of the season. "I
really want to win the rookie title for RCR, Chevrolet and Lowe's,"
says Skinner. "But I want to win a race even more and I still think
we've got a shot at doing that. We said we would be a lot better
during the second half and that has been the case. The whole team is
performing better -- the driver, the pit crew, everybody. If we keep
improving, we can get us one (a victory) before the year is over."

 - The late Davey Allison was the last driver to win a race during his
rookie season -- 10 years ago. Allison won two races in his first full
year of NASCAR Winston Cup racing.

By Sports Marketing Enterprises