The TACH Report: NASCAR Goes Hollywood, IROC Standings, NHRA Results, Cal 500 Pit Chatter

4 May 1998


While the NASCAR Winston contingent was invading California, it seemed
like this might be a good time for the stock car gang to pat
themselves on the back (again) for their 50th anniversary.  As they
were going to be in La-La land and have lots of sponsors who like to
party, why not go Hollywood?

So, after the Winston Cup happy hour on Saturday, the NASCAR movers and
shakers left Fontana and went to the Wiltern theater on Wilshire blvd
near Beverly Hills to be greeted by Jay Leno, Craig T. Nelson, Martin
Sheen, Oliver Stone, Tim Allen, Robert Wuhl, and a bunch of rock stars
with the attendant weird names . . . Destroyers, Sledge, Tap Dogs, et al.

Tributes from the stage were paid to Richard Petty for lifetime
achievement; Paul Sawyer, head of Richmond, VA Raceway, for the
Founders award; Dave Marcis got a standing ovation and the "underdog"
award for perservering; Dale Earnhardt won Driver of the 1990s; Darrel
("they wouldn't let me give a speech") is Driver of the 1980s; Cale
Yarborough is Driver of the 1970s; and Journalist Chris Econamaki won
the Lifetime Media Tribute.

After Saturday's IROC race, number two in the $760,000 series, the top
five drivers are:

Mark Martin	45
Jeff Gordon     38
Jeff Burton     30
Al Unser Jr     26
Terry Labonte   20

Except for Little Al, the open wheel racers are bringing up the rear.  Tony Stewart, Arie Luyendyk, and Jimmy Vasser are way down on points.

At the Castrol Lone Star NHRA Nationals, Dallas, Tx the winners last
Sunday were:

TOP  FUEL
Joe Amato		4.935 ET             313.58 MPH
Doug Kalitta            4.686                312.02

FUNNY  CAR
Ron Capps               4.960		     292 
John Force              6.483                146

PRO  STOCK
Mike Edwards            7.024
Kurt Johnson            7.018                196.89

NHRA points leaders are Cory McLenathan, Top Fuel; John Force, Funny
Car; Warren Johnson, Pro Stock.

In SCCA Pro Rally action last week, Hyundai--a company going through
sales turmoil--never-the-less pulled off a one-two sweep of the Wild West
Pro Rally in Olympia, Washington: national champion Paul Choinere,
Tiburon, beat his father-in-law John Buffim, Hyundai Elantra, in the FIA
open class.  The gap between the two cars was less than one minute.

Saturday, May 16-17 will see the running of Steve Earl's Wine Country
Classic vintage car race at Sears Point Raceway, Sonoma, CA.  As a
side dish, present and vintage NASCAR racers will be on display.  The
King, Richard Petty will sign autographs. For tickets, call 916 362
3400 and ask for Barry.

More racing innovations coming up. Ya know about Budweiser media star
"Louie the Lizard," leading reptile in the current off-the-wall Bud
spots.  He will now appear on the side/top of Kenny Bernstein's Top Fuel
dragster.  Bud is the king of beers, and Louie wants to be king of the
swamp. What's next?  Louie the Lizard T-shirts . . . honest!  Louie is in
for a fast ride on KB's dragster, and I can hear his Frog friend Frank
saying . . . "let it go Louie, let it go."

It's 4;30 a.m., do you know where your race freak friends are?  If you
are anywhere near Newport Beach, CA and your friends dig F-1 racing,
you'll find them at the Speedway Restaurant and Bistro watching the
start of the Italian Grand Prix.  At 4:30 in the morning yet.  Unreal.
50 speed freaks doing breakfast and watching the action.  Race is over
and the restaurant calms down, but an hour later the NASCAR contingent
moves in for the Talledega race.  It's the in place for the
motorsports crowd.  Next Sunday it's the Spanish GP on the big screen,
plus 82 smaller screens at the pub.

Back to NASCAR we see that injured Steve Park, still recuperating from a
crash at Atlanta, says he will be ready for the Brickyard 400  on August 1.

In the meantime the "mouth of the South" Darrell Waltrip is giving the
Pennzoil Monte Carlo a pretty good ride, with a 5th place finish at
the Cal 500 last Sunday.

If you don't understand drafting NASCAR style, then you were bored
with Saturdays International Race of Champions.  But if you dig
drafting, you loved watching Mark Martin hold off CART star Al Unser,
Jr. for 38 laps as he twisted and turned, went high and low keeping
Little Al at bay.  After the race Mark said, "My car was good through
the corners, but he (Al) would get runs at me on the straightaway.  I
just made sure I was in his way. He did a great job and made it a
heckuva race. If I had been behind him, I could never have passed him
. . . I didn't think I could hold him off."

Bill Maloney -- The Auto Channel

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