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Mark Martin's Crew Chief Fennig Wins 3rd RCA Award

19 August 1997


There was never a doubt that Mark Martin had the car to beat in Sunday's
ITW DeVilbiss 400 at Michigan Speedway. But when the left rear tire on
Martin's Valvoline Ford blew out and the crew spent 50.1 seconds struggling
with the damaged quarter panel, doubt that Martin would get a chance to
display that muster grew to near certainty.

Martin lost two laps, but with the help of teammate Jeff Burton and clever
pit work by Fennig and crew during the lengthy cautions for rain, Martin
made his way to Victory Lane for the third time this season and Fennig won
his third RCA Pit Strategy Award of the season.

Burton helped Martin regain his laps and set the Valvoline crew up to get
Martin back in position to challenge for the win.

"That's part of being a team," said Burton, who finished eighth and led 35
laps. "If I was in that position he would have done the same thing. We
wanted it to come down to the Roush cars. I saw Mark coming, (crew chief)
Buddy (Parrott) told me we needed to work with Mark, and I knew what he

"I didn't think we could come back," Martin said. "We were far behind and I
haven't had a race car this good in a long time. This race car has been our
best car.

"I asked as soon as we got back on the track if we were two laps down, and
I went back to work. I went into the points racing mode at that point. As
the good fortune started to come after that and the race proceeded on,
winning became a realistic goal again. But initially it was a points
recovery mode that we were having to go into."

Fennig is the third crew chief to win three RCA Pit Strategy Awards this
season. Terry Labonte's crew chief Gary DeHart and Ricky Rudd's, Jim Long,
also have three apiece.

Fennig won twice in a row earlier this season for his team's work at
Bristol and Martinsville. Martin started both of those races in the back -
23rd and 39th respectively - and as a result had to pit on the backstretch.
Undaunted, Fennig and crew guided Martin to a pair of top-five finishes and
Fennig's first two awards of the year.

$50,000 is up for grabs at the Winston Cup Awards banquet in New York in
December for the crew chief with the most RCA Awards at the end of the

In the event of a tie, race wins will determine the victor. Martin has
three wins this season, Rudd a pair and Labonte has yet to win.

by RCA Public Relations