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NASCAR Winston Cup Series UAW-GM Quality 500 Notebook (10/03/97)

3 October 1997

NASCAR Winston Cup Series
Friday Notebook
Charlotte Motor Speedway
October 3, 1997



Mike Skinner would probably just as soon forget this weekend at Charlotte 
Motor Speedway. First of all, Skinner was never able to get his Winston Cup 
car up to speed -- he was 46th fastest after second round time trials and the
current Rookie of the Year leader in that series will watch Sunday's UAW-GM 
Quality 500 from the sidelines after failing to qualify for a race for the 
first time this season. 

The 40-year old driver's woes continued when he was unable to put the No. 7 
Manheim Chevrolet into the NASCAR Busch Series All Pro Bumper to Bumper 300 
field during first round qualifying. Forced to run the so-called hooligan's 
race to secure a transfer position, the icing was put on Skinner's cake on lap 
25 of the 40-lap event. Shane Hall bobbled as he exited turn four forcing 
Skinner to check up behind him. Another competitor clipped Skinner's rear 
fender sending him into a spin and nose-first into the outside wall. Skinner 
was done for the afternoon and the weekend.

"A couple of guys got together and I checked up," said a dejected Skinner. 
"Somebody got into my quarter panel and that was it. We always run good at 
Charlotte, but we never get out of it in good shape."


Winston Cup star Dale Jarrett and his son Jason were hoping to be able to 
race against each other in Saturday's All Pro Bumper to Bumper 300. Dale got 
into the main event easily enough with an eighth-place qualifying effort but 
Jason had a bit more trouble. A 39th-fastest overall time meant a starting 
berth for the younger Jarrett in the last-chance qualifying race. He lined 
up seventh on the starting grid and needed only to hang on for a top-10 
finish but after dodging both accidents during the event his luck ran out. 

"The first caution I went low to miss that," explained the 21-year old 
driver. "Then on the second one, I went to the outside to miss it. I got 
high in turn four and missed that. Then, I flattened the right side against 
the wall and it bent the rear end. We wanted to run the entire 40 laps and 
get all the experience we could. We'll get it fixed and try again at 


Dale Earnhardt, Jr. was forced to withdraw his entry from this weekend's 
race after crashing his car during Thursday morning's practice session. The 
team took the No. 31 Wrangler Chevrolet back to their Mooresville, NC shop 
with the intention of making repairs and returning to the speedway for 
today's Challenge Race. Upon further inspection crew members determined 
that the car was too badly damaged and withdrew their entry. Earnhardt, Jr. 
had been as high as 13th on the practice time sheet before the accident. 


Hensley Racing has decided to switch permanently from Pontiac to Chevrolet. 
The team fielded a Monte Carlo for the first time during the series' last 
event at Dover Downs International Speedway two weeks ago. Driver Tracy 
Leslie raced to a seventh place finish -- his highest finish since the season 
opener at Daytona International Speedway where he finished 5th.

"Tracy feels more comfortable in the Monte Carlo, and to be honest, we were 
never really able to get a good handle on the Pontiac," said crew chief Jeff 
Hensley. "The guys in the shop have been working their butts off getting the 
cars switched over. We've got two almost complete and another on the way. The 
only way we will be in a Pontiac from here on out is if we have a disastrous 
weekend at Charlotte."

Leslie will start 10th on the grid for the All Pro Bumper to Bumper 300.