The Auto Channel
The Largest Independent Automotive Research Resource
The Largest Independent Automotive Research Resource
Official Website of the New Car Buyer

NASCAR Winston Cup Series Notes (Week of 9/22/97)

23 September 1997

 NASCAR Winston Cup Series
 Notes of Interest
 Week of September 22, 1997

DAYTONA BEACH, FL - Kyle Petty's third-place finish Sunday was his
best finish since winning the Miller 500 at Dover in June of 1995 --
77 races ago.

 - Rick Mast's 10th-place finish was his first top-10 finish since
running sixth at North Wilkesboro last fall, 31 races ago.

 - Every driver now in the top 30 in the 1997 NASCAR Winston Cup point
standings has at least one top-10 finish this season.

 - Rusty Wallace's 16th-place finish ended his string of four
consecutive top-10 finishes in this race.

 - Ken Schrader's 12th-place finish Sunday was his 10th top-15 in the
last 11 races. His 14th-place qualifying spot, however, did break his
string of five straight races in which he qualified in the top-10.

 - While Mark Martin became the fifth driver in history, and the third
in the last eight years, to win this race from the Busch Pole, there
was a lot of passing going on Sunday. Dale Earnhardt finish second
after starting 33rd and Kyle Petty finished third after starting 23rd.

TOP 10

 - TENTH: Ricky Rudd broke a string of recent rough luck with a
sixth-place finish Sunday, just his second top-10 since winning at
Indianapolis seven races ago. His average finish during that period is
24.142. His jump back into the top 10 was the only change in that
group this week.

 - NINTH: Ted Musgrave has just one finish better than 15th in the
last five races.

 - EIGHTH: Bill Elliott's eighth-place finish Sunday was his seventh
top-10 finish in the last 10 races.

 - SEVENTH: Bobby Labonte's fourth-place run was his fourth top-10 in
the last six races.

 - SIXTH: Dale Earnhardt's second-place finish Sunday was just his
fourth top-five of the season, three of which are runner-up
finishes. It was his first top-five since finishing second in Loudon,
N.H., in July, nine races ago. It was his second straight top 10.

 - FIFTH: Defending NASCAR Winston Cup champion Terry Labonte
continues to try to get back on track. His 37th-place finish Sunday
marked the fifth time this season he has finished 35th or worse.

 - FOURTH: Despite fighting an inner-ear problem the past two weeks
that has made him ill at times, Jeff Burton has gained 159 points on
fifth place during that period.

 - THIRD: Dale Jarrett's fifth-place finish was his sixth straight
top-10 and his eighth in the last nine races.

 - SECOND: Mark Martin now has nine top-10 finishes in the last 10
races and 18 top-10s in the last 20 races.

 - FIRST: Jeff Gordon's seventh-place finish was his first
non-top-five top-10 finish of the year.


 - NASCAR Winston Cup point leader Jeff Gordon heads to Martinsville
this weekend as the defending champion of the Hanes 500. Momentum may
be on his side, but the odds are not. No driver has won this race in
consecutive years since Darrell Waltrip won three straight from 1987
to 1988.

 - Add to that, Gordon's only top-five finish in this race was his win
last year.

 - Gordon's closest competitor in the standings, Mark martin, has two
top-five finishes in this race to his credit, but none since 500.

 - Dale Earnhardt, looking for his first win of the season, has posted
four top-five finishes in the last seven runnings of the Hanes 500.

 - Four drivers, Darrell Waltrip (five), Rusty Wallace (four), Dale
Earnhardt (three) and Geoff Bodine (two) have won this race more than

 - Rusty Wallace has posted top-five finishes in six of the last nine
and four of the last five runnings of the Hanes 500.

 - Terry Labonte, struggling to get back on track, has posted two
consecutive second-place finishes in this race.

 - Bobby Hamilton, who has said he doesn't care much for flat tracks,
continues to perform well on them. He has two straight top-five
finishes in this race (fourth in 1995 and third last year).

 - Dale Jarrett posted two consecutive fifth-place finishes in this
event in 1992 and '94, but has none since.

 - Jeff Burton, who has maintained his fourth-place spot in the
standings the last two weeks despite feeling ill, has not finished in
the top five in this event.

 - The last time the winner of this race went on to win the NASCAR
Winston Cup title was 1982. The driver? Darrell Waltrip.

 - This event has been won from the Busch Pole just five times in 45
races and it has happened just once since 1981. Ernie Irvan won from
inside the front row in 1993.


In the last 18 years, the driver leading the NASCAR Winston Cup point
standings after Dover has not won the Series title seven times (39
percent).  Five of those years, the point swing from this point in the
season to the end was larger than what Mark Martin faces now with Jeff
Gordon (105-point deficit). The largest swing in the modern era, of
course, was the well-documented charge by Alan Kulwicki in
1992. Kulwicki left Dover trailing Bill Elliott by 278 points and won
by 11 -- a 288-point swing in six races.  Martin and Gordon both have
been on the other end of this situation.  Following Dover in 1990,
Martin led Dale Earnhardt by 26 points and lost by 16 (42-point
swing). Gordon left Dover a year ago with a 76-point lead over Terry
Labonte. Labonte won by 37 points (113-point swing).

By NASCAR Public Relations