Jack Roush Looks for a Perfect Road Course Season with Watkins Glen Win
10 August 1997As we head into today's event Jack Roush has an enviable record that he, I'm sure, would like to maintain . . . winning every road course race he's entered in a season.
As you may know, yesterday Tommy Kendall broke the decades old record for consecutive wins in the Trans Am series . . . 9 for 9, which ain't too bad. Kendall, who drives for Jack Roush, got the record breaking win at the track that almost ended his career and his life. Kendall's tangle with fate was at the end of the long straightaway, that is now broken up with the 'inner loop', when his Nissan GTP car went straight at the time the road took a hard right. The nose of Kendall's car was torn off and Kendall's legs, among other things, were injured severely. That injury to this day still shows as TK walks with a pronounced limp from the ordeal.
But back to Jack Roush . . . Mark Martin won the SaveMart 300 at Sears Point and Joe Ruttman won, in the Craftsman Truck series, at Topeka. This makes "Jumpin' Jack's" record eleven for eleven on the road courses.
Yesterday, during happy hour practice, Team Sabco was umm . . . "putting on a show." Robby Gordon sailed his car into the sand trap after the first lap of practice . . . Robby "I did nothing wrong" Gordon blamed new brakes for the off track excursion. Next up from the Team Sabco stables was Wally Dallenbach. Dallenbach's First Union Chev had an oil line come lose and sprayed the track down with oil. Dallenbach, a threat to win today's event, limped back to the shop and got things repaired and rejoined the crowd in no time flat. It wasn't 15 minutes later when Robby Gordon revisited the litter box after he wheel hopped off the course.
Oh, by the way, Robby Gordon had the fast time for happy hour practice.
Dale Earnhardt, looking to break the 0 for 46 streak he has going will head off third today. You have to wonder if DE can finally break the long dry streak and get to Watkins victory lane.
Another hard luck story on the Winston Cup trail is Rusty Wallace. His '97 records show that he is a go big or finish in the cellar kinda guy. The problem for the Miller Lite pilot are engine related DNF's. Rusty, though, has to have some hope today, even with his 13th place starting place. Wallace started the 1989 event in 13th and went on to win. The 13th starting position also payed off one other time @ WGI.
Dick Trickle, king of the short track, has decided that he'd better let someone who can drive a road course handle the #90 ride this weekend. Junie Donlavy, Trickle's car owner, sits 32nd in owner points and needs a good finish for the owners provisionals. With that in mind, Dorsey Schroeder (pronounced Schrader) has been called upon to wheel the Heilig-Myers Ford this weekend. He'll roll off 19th when the green waves.
The workingest guy in Winston Cup - Dave Marcis - loaded up and went home early, after he posted the slowest speed in qualifying at the Glen. Marcis, who is now out of the top-40 in car owner points, doesn't qualify for provisionals any longer. Dave can only sit and watch as he slips further and further out of the car owners points making his tough job even tougher. We love Dave to death, but you have to wonder how much longer he can go on with his program.
In other news around the circuit......
The car owner of WGI pole sitter's car, Frank Cicci is looking to be a force to be reckoned with in his regular Busch series surrounds next year. Cicci currently fields cars for Todd Bodine and Mike 'magic shoes' McLaughlin in the Busch series - both cars solidly in the top-ten in the series points with Bodine in second place - 150 points behind Randy LaJoie.
Cicci looking to replace BACE motorsports as 'the' team in BGN will go with a FOUR car effort next year. His stables will include, McLaughlin and Mike Cope as confirmed entries with the rumor mill (well perhaps a bit more than that) putting Andy Santerre in Todd Bodine's seat (Bodine goes full time Cup next year) and adding Hermie Sadler bringing Cicci's Team 34 to an unprecedented 4 car effort.
A little birdie has whispered that Cicci is taking this seriously and plans on doing things that Cup teams do. Look for the addition of a full time engineer to be added as well as a shock specialist.
Ron Hornaday became the winningest driver in the Craftsman truck series yesterday when he won the event at Flemington NJ. Hornaday knocks Mike Skinner out of the record books.
In other Bodine news..... Andy Evans has bought a 50% stake in the #11 Winston car owned by Brett Bodine. The team is now the Scania - Bodine effort and brings Evans into the happy family that is Winston Cup ...something Evans has wanted for a while now.
Can't get enough Bodine news? Well we got more for you..... It appears that the interview Lee Morse did with us last week was the last thing that he did with Geoff Bodine Racing. News filtered out shortly after we talked to Morse that he was leaving the #7 car camp. It depends on who you talk to on whether Morse was fired or quit but I'd lean towards the former as Morse was bullish on GBR when we talked leading me to believe this was an unexpected turn of events for the retired Ford czar.
Bodine sites the Indy race as a turning point and that changes - wholesale changes - need to be made to get ready for the 1998 season.
Speaking of Bodine (man - ya can't turn around and not hear the name Bodine these days), the sponsor of his (Geoff's) #7 Craftsman Truck series entry, Lovables Ladies wear (or similar), driven by Tammy Jo Kirk, filed for bankruptcy last week leaving Geoff sponsorless in the truck division. TJK hopes to have a one race sponsorship package for the Nashville race in the form of a Country Music interest. We'll have to wait and see what happens there.
Rich Bickle, who crashed hard late in the Indy Cup race, drove in yesterday's truck race at Flemington. Bickle, driving with broken ribs and injured spleen, had a respectable 3rd pace finish. Pain was evident as he got into and exited the #17 Die Hard truck.
And last, but not least, Sterling Marlin will be leaving the #4 Kodak car at the end of the year. Marlin, who has been less than impressed with the Morgan McClure team, wants out and things like blown motors on the second lap of the Indy race do nothing to make him want to hang around. The rumor mill has him in the car that Robby Gordon is driving now, with Runt Pitman coming along and joining back up with Tony Glover. The trio was of course the dominant factor in plate racing with 2 Daytona 500s as well as Dega victories under their combined belts.
Mike Snow -- The Auto Channel