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

ARA Racefacts Bulletin and Model Review (11/09/97)

10 November 1997


November 9, 1997

	If Jeff Gordon (DuPont Hendrick Chevrolet Monte Carlo)
wins the 1997 NASCAR Winston Cup title this coming Sunday at
Atlanta, he will achieve a "modern era" (1972-97) NASCAR
Winston Cup milestone and tie an all-time (1949-97) record!
	The milestone?  By winning the 1997 title, Jeff will
have two Winston Cup championships in his first five Winston
Cup seasons, the quickest achievement of multiple Winston
Cup titles in the "modern era!"  The feat would match the
achievement of Herb Thomas, who won two Winston Cup titles,
in 1951 and 1953, in his first five Winston Cup seasons
	Jeff's first full Winston Cup season (1993) saw him
finish 14th in points, while Herb Thomas placed 25th in his
(and the series') first season in 1949.  In 1994, his second
season, Jeff ranked eighth in points, while Thomas' second
season, 1950, produced an eleventh-place ranking.  Jeff won
his first Winston Cup title in his third season, 1995, as
Herb Thomas did in his third season, 1951!  Jeff's fourth
season, 1996, and Herb's fourth season, 1952, produced the
same result: a runnerup finish in the championship!  Herb
then won the 1953 title, completing a three-season 1-2-1
sequence Jeff seeks to emulate!
	Joe Ruttman (LCI Roush Ford F150) won Sunday's Las
Vegas CarQuest Auto Parts 420 K NASCAR Craftsman Truck race,
giving Ford a sweep of the 1997 Craftsman Truck series
events on superspeedways of 1.5 mile or more!  Kenny Irwin,
Jr. won for Ford at Homestead and Texas while Mike Bliss won
at Fontana and Ruttman completed the sweep with the Las
Vegas victory!
	Ruttman achieved a new record for a Ford Craftsman
Truck driver: he's the first Ford pilot to win five races in
a Craftsman Truck season, eclipsing Dave Rezendes'
achievement of three wins in 1996 driving for Geoff Bodine! 
Joe is now the all-time leading Ford Craftsman Truck winner
with seven victories!
	With his victory at Las Vegas following last Saturday's
Phoenix win, Ruttman now has a two-race Craftsman Truck win
streak, the first ever in the series for a Ford driver!
	Joe, who won twice in the Truck series for Irvan/Simo
in 1995 (short track events at Bristol and Martinsville) and
was winless in 1996 for Roush, has won in 1997 twice on
one-mile superspeedways (DisneyWorld and Phoenix), twice on
road courses (Heartland Park and Sears Point), and on the
1.5-mile Las Vegas track!
	Joe's five wins in 1997 ranked second on the circuit to
Ron Hornaday, Jr.'s seven victories.  The only other drivers
with five or more wins in a Craftsman Truck season?  Mike
Skinner, with eight wins in the 1995 and 1996 seasons,
Hornaday with six wins in 1995, and Jack Sprague with five
wins in 1996.
	Joe, the winner of the DisneyWorld 1997 opener and Las
Vegas 1997 season finale, matched Mike Skinner's 1995 feat
of winning the season-opener and season finale!
	The last time Joe won as many as five events in one
touring series in one season?  1980, when he won five USAC
Stock Car series events!
	Joe had won five times previously on superspeedways of
1.5 mile or greater!  On November 20, 1977 he was the
Winston West winner (and 13th-place overall finisher) in the
Ontario 500 on the 2.5-mile track.  In 1980, he won the USAC
Stock Car 250 on the 1.5-mile Trenton speedway on April 13. 
On July 20, 1980, Joe won ARCA's 200-miler on the two-mile
Michigan International Speedway.  He completed the 1980
season with a 300 kilometer win at Onatrio on November 15 in
a NASCAR Grand American event!  On February 7, 1982 Joe won 
ARCA's 200-miler at Daytona!
	Drivers named Joe swept the Sunday NASCAR action as Joe
Nemechek (Bell South Mobility NEMCO Chevrolet Monte Carlo)
won the Homestead Jiffy Lube 300 NASCAR Busch Grand National
race!  Joe also won in 1997 on another 1.5-mile track,
Charlotte!  During Joe's 1992 NASCAR Busch GN title season
he won on the IRP short track and on the New Hampshire mile;
he won in 1994 on Richmond's short track.  Nemechek took the
USA Late Model series title in 1988 and the ALL-PRO title in
	When Bobby Gill (Terminal Transport Chevrolet Monte
Carlo) finished second in the 1997 USAR Hooters Cup Late
Model season finale, the USA International Discount Auto
Parts 250, he won the Hooters Cup title by one point over
racewinner Freddie Query (Plemons Chevrolet Monte Carlo) as
Query was the series runnerup for the second consecutive
year!  While Gill was runnerup for the NASCAR ALL-PRO title
in 1988, 1992, and 1994 and third in 1990, the 1997 Hooters
title is not Gill's first as he won the 1986 ALL-PRO KISS
(Keep it Simple, Stupid) championship title!  The KISS
series was for "economy" late models!




	This Brumm (R130) model depicts very accurately the #9
Jaguar D type entered by Briggs Cunningham (but loosely as
part of the "works" team) in the 1955 LeMans 24 Hours.  The
Cunningham Jaguar D was the most colorful of the D Jags with
its classic "trademark" blue striping on white seen even
today on grandson Brian Cunningham's NASCAR Craftsman Truck!
	Comparison of the model with clear contemporaneous
photographs (in Chris Harvey's Jaguars in Competition and
Andrew Whyte's Jaguar) verifies the model to be accurate in
great detail, correctly representing such details as wheel
and tailfin design, windscreen and the exhaust system.
	The Briggs Cunningham Jaguar D was chassis XKD 507.
	In the 1955 LeMans 24 Hours, the car was driven by Phil
Walters and Bill Spear.  As noted by Andrew Whyte in his
book Jaguar, "XKD 507 was controlled by the self-contained
Cunningham team which had been coming to LeMans with its own
cars for the past five years.  Indeed on this occasion
Briggs Cunningham was once again driving one of his own
cars-a somewhat Jaguar-looking machine with a 3-litre
Meyer-Drake engine-which expired in the nineteenth hour
after a slow run.  The team's brand new Jaguar was
well-placed (seventh, one lap back, after two hours)
initially, driven by Phil Walters.  He and Bill Spear
retired the car in the sixth hour.  Afterwards it was noted
at the works that this car's engine failure was "presumed to
be due to a piece of air box which broke up getting under a
	Whyte noted that "This car, considerably modified,
would remain in the Cunningham collection once it became
obsolete."  Whyte's book later noted that "Early in 1987 it
was announced that the collection had been sold by
Cunningham to Miles Collier."  Whyte's book includes a
photograph of the car at the "Tribute to Jaguar" race at
Laguna Seca in 1976, when "Phil Hill came out of retirement
to drive it.  He finished second to British visitor Martin
Morris who drove XKC 404, another ex-works car."
	The car was driven by Cunningham and J. Gordon Bennett
as #11 in the 1956 Sebring 12 Hours, finishing twelfth
overall and fifth in class.  As noted by Mike Lawrence in
his Directory of Classic Sports-Racing Cars "The 1955
long-nose D-type Jaguar, XKD 507 was driven by
Cunningham/Benett (#11) in the 1956 Sebring race.  It was
delayed by mechanical problems and finished twelfth."
	As Brumm notes: "The Jaguar D-Type has been the English
automotive company's most famous sports racing car.  A
unibody chassis and a coach developed in the wind tunnel
were characteristic of this car."  The Jaguar D featured a
3442 cc in-line six-cylinder engine.
	The Jaguar D's first win came in the July 4, 1954 Reims
12 Hours courtesy of Peter Whitehead and Ken Wharton.  This
followed a runnerup finish in the 1954 LeMans 24 Hours by
Tony Rolt and Duncan Hamilton.
	In 1955, Mike Hawthorn and Phil Walters won the Sebring
12 Hours and Hawthorn and Ivor Bueb won the 1955 LeMans 24
Hours with Johnny Claes and Jacques Swaters third in another
D type.  Hawthorn and Desmond Titterington were running
second when they retired from the 1955 Dundrod Tourist
	1955 also produced Jaguar D wins in lesser events such
as Helsingfors (Michael Head), Aintree (Ninian Sanderson),
and Silverstone (Duncan Hamilton).  Desmond Titterington won
the Dundrod Ulster Trophy, the Wicklow Leinster Trophy and
the Charterhall Newcastle Journal event!  Sherwood Johnston
took SCCA wins at Watkins Glen and in the President's Cup.
	Bob Sweikert and Jack Ensley finished third in a Jaguar
D in the 1956 Sebring 12 Hours
	A Jaguar D won LeMans for the second consecutive year
in 1956; the drivers were Ninian Sanderson and Ron
Flockhart; other D types finished fourth and sixth.
	Jaguar D types dominated 1956 SCCA racing and scored
many international sports car race wins.  In fact, D types
were scoring top- and mid-level SCCA and international
victories through 1961!
	In the 1957 Sebring 12 Hours, Hawthorn and Bueb
finished third in a D type with Walt Hansgen and Russell
Boss fifth in another Jaguar D.
	For the third consecutive year, a Jaguar D won the
LeMans 24 Hours in 1957.  Ron Flockhart and Ivor Bueb were
the winners as Jaguar D types finished 1-2-3-4-6!

	Our website at
provides a wealth of useful and interesting auto racing