IROC: IROC at Talladega

22 April 1999

PRE-RACE FACT SHEET/NEWS RELEASE: RACE 2, TALLADEGA, APRIL, 24

WHAT: The 23rd running of the True Value International Race of Champions (IROC Series) race two of four.

WHERE: Talladega Superspeedway, 2.66-mile high-banked oval.

WHEN: Saturday, April 24, 1999 12:00 p.m. (Local Time).

BROADCAST: (Live) ESPN- Saturday, April 24, 1:00 p.m. (Eastern Time)

WHO: 12 of the world's top drivers, representing different types of auto racing, competing at the invitation of IROC race organizers. The field includes defending IROC Champion, Mark Martin /NASCAR Winston Cup Series, Greg Moore/ FedEx Championship Series, Dale Earnhardt/ NASCAR Winston Cup Series, Dale Earnhardt Jr./NASCAR Busch Series, Kenny Brack/Pep Boys Indy Racing League, Bobby Labonte/NASCAR Winston Cup Series, Rusty Wallace/NASCAR Winston Cup Series, Eddie Cheever Jr./Pep Boys Indy Racing League, Dale Jarrett/NASCAR Winston Cup Series, Adrian Fernandez/FedEx Championship Series, Jeff Gordon and Jeff Burton/ NASCAR Winston Cup Series.

DISTANCE: 101.08 Miles, 38 laps (Yellow flag laps do not count.) No pit stop required.

PURSE: Total $760,000 with $225,000 awarded to the Championship based on points standings at the end of the fourth race.

LINE UP: Starting order determined by reverse finish of Race 1 at Daytona. (See grid at end of news release.)

WEBSITE: http://www.irocracing.com

LAST RACE: IROC returns to Talladega after a two-year absence. April 27, 1996 was the day Al Unser Jr. stood in Victory Lane in a race that was historical and marred by wreckage. The history; the first one-two-three finish being comprised of all CART drivers. Al Unser, Jr., followed by Robby Gordon, and Scott Pruett. The wreckage; on the sixth lap Dale Earnhardt and Stirling Marlin made contact, triggering an accident that eliminated half the field.

SCHEDULE: Race 3 Race 4 June 11, 1999 August 6, 1999

Michigan Speedway Indianapolis Motor Speedway

2.0 mile high-banked oval 2.5 mile oval

100 miles (50 laps) 100 miles (40 laps)

Broadcast:(Next Day)ESPN Broadcast:(Next Day) ABC

June 12, 1999 August 7, 1999

Time: 3:00-4:00 p.m. Time: 4:30-5:30 p.m.


Driver Quotes

Dale Earnhardt Jr.: (IROC Rookie Season)

Quotes on IROC - "I am looking forward to getting in an IROC car again. I had a real good time in Daytona meeting the guys from the other series. The thing I learned at Daytona about these cars is to have patience; you can't win the race on the first lap. My first outing was a little rough and I am looking forward to redeeming myself in an IROC Car."

Kenny Brack: (IROC Rookie Season)

Quotes on the significance of IROC in today's racing world-"Way back, drivers from different series used to do all types of racing. But, today they are so specialized and busy in their respective series' they don't do other types of racing on the side. IROC makes a nice exception, and is the only organization that every year manages to bring together the "cream of the cream" from the biggest racing series to go head-to-head with each other in equal equipment. It's good for the fans, drivers, and their respective series. If you look through the "IROC history book of drivers" you find that close to every one of the worlds greatest drivers have participated."

Adrian Fernandez: (IROC Rookie Season)

Quotes on the significance of IROC in today's racing world-"I Think IROC is very significant because you are racing against the best, especially in NASCAR with big names like Dale Earnhardt and Jeff Gordon, and the rest. Being able to combine the top drivers from each series, to race each other, is a very, very strong way of showing to the public, and the world how significant the IROC series is. It is very intriguing, at least in my country, everyone has been following IROC very closely, everyone has been paying more attention to NASCAR now and to the way those cars work and the way the races are because, it is very different than our series in CART. So, (IROC) is very significant in the world - I am very proud to be part of it and to have been invited and hopefully we can do very well in the next few races and squeeze in a good result for our fans around the world."

Quotes on IROC rule of reversing the finishing order from race 1 at Daytona for the start of race 2 at Talladega: "I think it is a good way, it makes it more interesting for the fans and drivers. I still think the starting position is not that important after my experience at Daytona. The cars are identical to each other and the drafting is so big that it doesn't really mean too much where you start, and it makes it interesting for the fans and for everyone else. It is fair to say that the guy who won the race has to start last so, he has to work a little bit harder. But, in any regards, the different starting position in this type of race doesn't mean too much. It may at the other tracks. Indianapolis may be different because I don't think the passing will be as easy as it was in Daytona. Until I get there, and practice-- then I will be able to see how it will be. In places like Michigan, Daytona, and Talladega it doesn't mean so much, in my opinion."

Cheever Jr.: (IROC Rookie Season)

Quotes on IROC - "IROC is really an interesting series because it puts all of the best racing drivers in the same type of cars and every driver has to fend for himself. There isn't one driver in the series who is willing to sacrifice a win for a second place. Even though I crashed early on in Daytona, I must admit it was the most fun I have had in a very long time."

Quotes on Talladega- " If drafting in Talladega is anything like Daytona where you start isn't going to mean much. I went from the front to the back and to the front again in no time flat at Daytona. All I have to work out is how to finish."

Greg Moore: (IROC Rookie Season)

Quotes on the IROC rule of reversing the finishing order from race 1 at Daytona for the start of race 2 at Talladega: "The method of determining starting positions for IROC is extremely fair. By drawing for the first race and then reversing the order of finish, it makes for very exciting and enjoyable racing for the fans. My strategy will be to team up with some of the NASCAR guys and see how we are running toward the end of the race and then follow whoever looks the strongest."

Jeff Gordon: (5th Series)

Quote on IROC - "I really enjoy racing in the IROC series. To be able to race against guys that you watch win races and championships in other series and then be able to compete against them in identically prepared cars is pretty exciting," said Gordon. "I hope to do better at Talladega than I did in the first race at Daytona. Maybe I'll have more drafting partners at Talladega than I did at Daytona."

Mark Martin: (8th Series)

Quote on racing in the IROC - "To me the IROC series is really important. It has been a source of pride in my racing career, and winning four championships has been the greatest racing accomplishment for me.

Quote on IROC at Talladega - "Racing at Talladega will certainly be interesting, it always is. Running at Daytona and Talladega is always exciting. I am looking to score a bunch of points at Talladega, but so are the other 11 drivers. That makes for some intense racing. I'll be looking forward to Michigan and Indy more than Talladega. Those are more my type of tracks."

Jeff Burton: (2nd Series)

Quote on IROC at Talladega- " Daytona was a wild race so, I'll go into Talladega hoping it's not that wild. Certainly I need a much better finish. For that matter, I need to have three great finishes if I'm to have any chance at the championship. That certainly puts added importance on the Talladega race."

Rusty Wallace: (8th Series)

Quote on IROC at Talladega-"After the way we got started off with the first IROC race this year, I'm really anxious to get a chance to vindicate myself at Talladega. At Daytona, there I was taking the lead and wound up getting crashed out of the thing. I really think that I could have won that race and it was a big letdown to have that opportunity taken away like that. Now, Talladega should be a lot of fun. If they get the cars set up as good as they had them at Daytona, it's going to be a heck of a show, I guarantee you that. The big deal there is going to be hanging on to the leaders. If you're lucky enough to start up front, you'll hope that they'll take off and get single-filed as soon as possible. That's the only way you're going to shake loose of the other cars. If you get to racing three and four abreast and there are two guys up front smart enough to team up, they're gonna' be able to just take off. I just hope I'm fortunate enough to be one of the guys up front."

Quotes on his IROC involvement-"The IROC Series represents the absolute best drivers in the world and to be a participant is one of the biggest honors a driver can receive. I know that when I won the '91 IROC Championship, it was a great, great accomplishment. It's a feather in your cap that they always remember. The best example is that on any bio done on me, there's always mention of winning the '89 NASCAR Winston Cup Championship. But, you don't have to look much further to see where they always include that I won the '91 IROC Championship, too. It's a big, big deal that I'll always be super proud of."

Dale Jarrett: (4th Series)

Quotes on IROC rule of reversing the finishing order from race 1 at Daytona for the start of race 2 at Talladega: "Overall I think the way it is decided right now is fine. Except maybe at Daytona and Talladega because I think you have more of an advantage to starting in the rear at those tracks. A driver can get more of a run off the draft in the rear instead of being bottled up towards the front."

Quotes on the IROC series - "IROC gives the fans a chance to see the best drivers in the world competing against one another in the same arena. The fans really don't have that opportunity in any other type of competition.

Bobby Labonte: (Rookie Season)

Quotes on the IROC Series: "I think what makes IROC significant is that it is the only series that lets drivers from many different series race against each other. All the drivers are used to driving a car different than the IROC cars, so I think that levels the playing field enough to where all the races are competitive. And with the IROC cars all having the same setup, we just go out, race, and don't have to focus on trying to change the car to make it better. I guess it shows who can take what they've got and make the most out of it on the race track."

Fast Facts:

Daytona, Feb. 12th, race one, winner -- Dale Earnhardt is the only driver in the series this year to have competed in the first IROC event at Talladega in 1984. Darrell Waltrip won the inaugural event, with Earnhardt placing third. He has two Talladega IROC victories, 1990 and 1995.

Talladega Superspeedway, April 27, 1996: For the first time in IROC history Indy car drivers finished one-two-three (Al Unser, Jr., Robby Gordon, Scott Pruett) in IROC 20, Race 2.

1994 Steve Kinser became the first representative of short track and sprint car racing to compete in IROC and at Talladega, he scored a victory being the first driver outside the NASCAR, Indy Car, or road racing categories.

Fastest - Davey Allison, IROC 16, Race 2, Talladega Superspeedway, Talladega, Ala., May 2, 1992 . . . 191.722 MPH.

Rusty Wallace started his record three consecutive wins at Talladega, Race 2, 1991. Consecutive wins followed at Michigan and Watkins Glen, resulting in his 1991 IROC Championship.

The IROC series first came to Talladega when the series was reborn in 1984. Darrell Waltrip emerged the victor over Cale Yarborough by eight inches. Waltrip had not led the race until coming through turns three and four on the last lap. Between the "tri-oval" turn and the start/finish line, four cars swept past then-leader Benny Parsons to race door-to-door to the finish. Parsons wound up fifth, despite driving with a severely sprained shoulder.

Six IROC rookies will compete this year for the title: Kenny Brack, Dale Earnhardt Jr., Eddie Cheever Jr., Adrian Fernandez, Bobby Labonte and Greg Moore.

Three drivers offer International appeal: Kenny Brack, Karlstad, Sweden, Greg Moore, Maple Ridge, B.C., Canada, and Adrian Fernandez, Mexico City, Mexico.


THE "OTHER" IROC EQUALIZER

TALLADEGA, AL - At Talladega Superspeedway, Dale Earnhardt, winner of the IROC opener at Daytona last February, will start round two of the True Value International Race of Champions from the 12th row - dead last! Why? Because, the IROC rules say so! Earnhardt, with 21 points, commands an 18-point lead over Jeff Burton, who was credited with three points for his last place (12th) finish. Burton was the victim of a multi-car wreck that also involved Rusty Wallace, Eddie Cheever Jr., and Dale Earnhardt Jr. However - the IROC rules provide Burton an opportunity to regain some ground - literally; he'll start from the pole (first place). The formula is simple; reverse the order of finish from the first event. For the first race, the drivers draw for starting position. The rules are the non-mechanical element of equalization that IROC utilizes to level the field. (See Talladega starting lineup at the end).

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.

Point standings following the first two events determine the starting order for Race 3, with the driver having the most points beginning last and the driver having the least amount of points on the pole. The same method is used to determine the grid for the Race 4 finale. The driver with the most points starts last, while the driver with fewest points starts on the pole.

IROC President Jay Signore explains; "You don't want a runaway from the first race, so between the reverse order starts and points system we've managed to keep the run for the Championship interesting to the end. You have to do all of this without discouraging either end of the spectrum. We want to keep the level of drama high throughout the four races."

The Indy 500's reigning champion, Eddie Cheever Jr., representing the Pep Boys Indy Racing League, will start on the front row next to Jeff Burton. How does he feel about starting his second IROC race on the outside pole?

"If drafting in Talladega is anything like Daytona where you start isn't going to mean much. I went from the front to the back and to the front again in no time flat at Daytona. All I have to work out is how to finish."

The key to winning the IROC Championship is no different then in any other championship series, consistency.

The IROC Talladega race is this Saturday, April 24th and will be broadcast live on ESPN at 1:00p.m. (Eastern Time). After Talladega, IROC will resume on June 11 at Michigan Speedway. The finale will be 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.

Media Note: The IROC web address is http://www.irocracing.com.


STARTING LINEUP - TRUE VALUE IROC RACE 2 -TALLADEGA

ROW ONE: 1. No. 12. Jeff Burton (NASCAR/Winston Cup), 3 points 2. No. 11. Eddie Cheever Jr. (Pep Boys Indy Racing League), 4 points

ROW TWO: 3. No. 10. Dale Earnhardt Jr. (NASCAR/Busch Series), 5 points 4. No. 9. Rusty Wallace (NASCAR/Winston Cup), 6 points

ROW THREE: 5. No. 8. Dale Jarrett (NASCAR/Winston Cup), 7 points 6. No. 7. Adrian Fernandez (FedEx Championship Series), 8 points

ROW FOUR: 7. No. 5. Jeff Gordon (NASCAR/Winston Cup), 12 points 8. No. 6. Greg Moore (FedEx Championship Series), 10 points

ROW FIVE: 9.. No. 4. Kenny Brack (Pep Boys Indy Racing League), 12 points 10. No. 3. Mark Martin (NASCAR/Winston Cup), 19 points

ROW SIX:

11. No. 2. Bobby Labonte (NASCAR/Winston Cup), 19 points 12. No. 1. Dale Earnhardt (NASCAR/Winston Cup), 21 points

Note: Starting order determined by reverse of finish of Race 1 at Daytona. Car numbers reflect driver's current position in IROC point standings.
Tie-breaker: Higher finishing position in most recent event.

Editors Note: To view hundreds of hot photos and racing art, please visit The Racing Image Galleries and The Visions of Speed Art Gallery

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