Blk3GM's Winston Cup News
Earnhardt Jr to start
IROC race in front row, Dad to start
Earnhardt has won the two previous races this year at Daytona and Talladega. Starting order is determined by reverse of the point standings. The car numbers reflect driver's current position in IROC point standings.
"I've really enjoyed the IROC races this year, said Earnhardt. "How could I not, going two for two and winning them both with last lap passes has made it exciting. So far we've stayed out of trouble and have been in position to win on the white flag lap. As I told Dale Jr. after the Daytona win, you only have to lead one lap and that's the last one, it pays the most."
"It's been fun racing against Dale Jr. in the IROC series, but I've also enjoyed the other rookies in the series. Brack is going to be tough coming off his big win at Indy. Moore and Fernandez worked with me at Talladega, but after winning the first two races, I don't know if they will be as cooperative at Michigan."
"Mark Martin is the defending IROC champion and is right behind us in the points battle. I don't think he's going to give it to us, so I expect him to give us a tough fight at Michigan and Indy."
"It might be hard to believe, but I think Michigan will provide the best racing we've seen in the IROC series this year. The first two were on Superspeedways and some of those guys had never been on tracks of that magnitude. Michigan is more familiar with all of the drivers and should provide some of the tightest racing we've seen yet."
PRE-RACE FACTS: RACE 3, MICHIGAN
THE SILVER ANNIVERSARY FOR IROC AT MICHIGAN
SPEEDWAY BROOKLYN, MI
Only three drivers share the privilege of multiple IROC wins at Michigan Speedway; CART's Al Unser with 4 wins, the late NASCAR star Neil Bonnett with 3 wins and IMSA's Geoff Brabham with 2 wins. The True Value International Race of Champions (IROC) organizers invite a dozen of the worlds best drivers from various auto racing series based on championship caliber performance.
The four-event series awards points for finishing positions in each race. At the end of the fourth event the points are tallied and an IROC Champion is named. The total purse is $760,000 with $225,000 being awarded to the series champion. All IROC race cars are equipped with Goodyear Eagle radial tires and specially finished with brilliant DuPont ChromaSystem colors. Reverse order in the point standings determine the starting order for Race 3, the driver with the most points begins last and the driver with the least points starts first. The same method is used to determine the grid for the Race 4 finale.
So, what does that mean? The "Big E" (Dale Earnhardt) starts from the outside of the sixth row, other wise known as-last! He has to drive his way through the pack of 11 at strategic points in time throughout the 50-lap event and land himself over the stripe first-- his chances? Not that great according to Earnhardt's past Michigan IROC finishes. He has been in 13 IROC events at Michigan Speedway and has a finishing average of sixth, although, he won the event in 1990. One thing we have learned in IROC this season-don't count out Dale Earnhardt. But hey, it's not all about Dale Earnhardt! So, -how about that Dale Earnhardt Jr.? The big Earnhardt vs. Earnhardt story? Ah, -writer's block! We'll get back to you on that one.
Unfortunately, Jeff Burton starts on the pole, (first), for the second time in a row in IROC 23. Unfortunately because according to IROC's rules, you're starting up front in race two and three if you are last in points. Sitting next to Mr. Burton, on the out side of row one, is Dale Earnhardt Jr. He was involved in a wreck in race one and the victim of rare mechanical failure in race two. He has completed only 15 of the 78 laps run in IROC races this year.
Reining IROC Champion Mark Martin has finished third in both IROC races this year and has let Dale Earnhardt cut in line for the points battle but, he promises to be a threat at Michigan, he likes this track. Martin's average finish in IROC races at Michigan Speedway is third. He won here in '96 and holds the race record of 176.910 mph.
NASCAR Winston Cup drivers Bobby Labonte, Rusty Wallace, and Jeff Gordon are lurking behind Earnhardt and Martin to make it a NASCAR top five. But, '98 Pep Boys Indy Racing League Champion, and recent 1999 Indianapolis 500 winner, Kenny Brack is eager to break up the club, he follows in sixth. FedEx Championship Series driver Adrian Fernandez is seventh. Both have performed well in the first two events and have learned a lot about full-bodied cars and how to work the air.
NASCAR Winston Cup driver Dale Jarrett is in eighth followed by FedEx Championship series driver Greg Moore and Pep Boys Indy Racing League driver Eddie Cheever Jr., ninth and tenth respectively. These three drivers, as well as, Burton and Earnhardt Jr., are the underdogs in the points shake down and have some ground to make up in this event if they are to have a good result. Their starting positions will hopefully pay-off for them and put them back in the hunt.
After Michigan, IROC will resume for the final time in 1999 on August 6 at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway. The Michigan event will be televised by ESPN: Saturday, June 12 at 3:00 p.m., and The Indy finale will be televised by ABC Sports on Saturday, August 7 at 4:30 p.m. (Eastern Time). Both events are next-day-air broadcasts.
IROC is sponsored by True Value Hardware Stores, Goodyear Tire and Rubber Co., and DuPont Automotive Finishes.
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Blk3GM's Dale Earnhardt Site was born on
July 26, 1998 and is owned and maintained by Gary Harris. This site is a
tribute to "NASCAR's Greatest Driver" and his up and coming son. We are
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