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NASCAR Winston Cup Series Mountain Dew 500: Fact Sheet

27 August 1997

 WHAT: Mountain Dew Southern 500
       NASCAR Winston Cup Series Race #23 of 32
 WHERE: Darlington Raceway
        Darlington, SC
        1.366-Mile Banked Speedway
 WHEN: Sunday, August 31, 1997
        1:00 pm EDT
 DISTANCE: 367 Laps/500 Miles
 POSTED AWARDS: $1,523,632
 FIELD: 43 cars possible. Fastest 38 cars through time trials. Four 
provisional starting positions based on 1997 NWC owner points and one past
champion provisional.
 SANCTION: National Association for Stock Car Auto Racing, Inc.
 PROMOTER: South Carolina International Speedway Corp.
 TV: ESPN (Live)
     Airtime: 1:00 pm (EDT)
     Announcers: Bob Jenkins, Benny Parsons and Ned Jarrett
     Pit Reporters: Dr. Jerry Punch, John Kernan, Bill Weber
 RADIO: MRN (Live)
        Airtime: 12:45 pm (EDT)
        Announcers: Allen Bestwick and Barney Hall
           Friday, August 29
              6:00 am : Team Haulers Enter
              7:00 am : NASCAR Garage Opens
             10:00 am : Rookie Drivers' Meeting
             10:30 am : Qualifying Draw
  11:00 am - 12:30 pm : Practice
       1:00 - 2:00 pm : Practice
                  TBD : Qualifying (Positions 1-25)
                        Following NBS Qualifying
           Saturday, August 30
              9:00 am : NASCAR Garage Opens
      9:30 - 11:00 am : Practice
             11:30 am : Qualifying (Positions 26-38)
                  TBD : Final Practice following NBS event
 PARTICIPATING AWARDS SPONSORS: Winston, AE Clevite Engine Parts, Aeroquip,
Auto Meter Products, Bowman Distribution, Busch Beer, Champion Spark Plugs,
Competition Cams, Craftsman Tools, Crane Cams, DuPont Automotive Finishes,
Edelbrock Manifolds, Fram Fuel Filters, Gatorade Sports Beverage, Goodyear
Tires, Goody's Headache Powders, Holley Carburetors, Hurst Shifters, JE
Pistons, Jesel Rocker Arms, Longacre Computerscales, MCI, Mac Tools, Mechanix
Wear, Moog Chassis Parts, Motorcraft Batteries, Opryland, Plasti-Kote Spray
Paint, RCA, Raybestos Brakes, Simpson Helmets, Spicer Drive Shafts, Stant
Radiator Caps, STP Oil Treatment & Oil Filters, 3M Automotive Products, True
Value Hardware, Unocal Gasoline, 76/NASCAR High Performance Motor Oil, Western
Auto Stores, Wiseco Pistons, Wix Air Filters
 RECORDS: Qualifying: Ward Burton; Pontiac; 173.797 mph;
                       28.295 seconds; 3/22/96
          Race: Dale Earnhardt; Chevrolet; 139.958 mph
                3 hours, 33 minutes, 29 seconds; 3/28/93
 Degree of Banking in Turns 1-2 - 25 degrees
 Degree of Banking in Turns 3-4 - 23 degrees
 Degree of Banking on Straights - 2 degrees
 Length of Frontstretch - 1229 feet
 Length of Backstretch - 1229 feet
 1996 REVIEW: Jeff Gordon won for the third time in a row at Darlington,
NASCAR Winston Cup's oldest and most difficult superspeedway. But in so doing,
he prevented one of stock car racing's greatest upsets from occurring. For
much of the sunshiny day, Hut Stricklin, the 36-year-old driver from Calera,
AL, led having never won a race in 217 Winston Cup starts. He would have
broken that streak had not overheating problems slowed his red Circuit City
Ford in the late stages. Even then, he fought and clawed with Gordon like a
wounded beast. At the end of the race, Stricklin had to settle for second.
Dale Jarrett, who could have won the Winston Million bonus by winning the
Southern 500, ran afoul of the fates early. Leading at lap 46, he drove into a
turn three that had apparently been freshly oiled by the slower car driven by
Ed Berrier. Jarrett, Rusty Wallace, Ernie Irvan and Derrike Cope all spun, as
did Brett Bodine and Robert Pressley. Jarrett lost three laps in the pits and
would up in 14th place, two laps down.