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NASCAR Winston Cup Series Hanes 500 Preview: #31, Mike Skinner

24 September 1997

 #31 Mike Skinner, Lowe's Chevrolet Monte Carlo
 NASCAR Winston Cup Series
 Hanes 500 Advance
 Martinsville Speedway
                   MIKE SKINNER NOTES & QUOTES: HANES 500
MARTINSVILLE, VA - Mike Skinner made his NASCAR Winston Cup debut at
Martinsville Speedway in 1986. He started 27th and finished 22nd in
the Sovran Bank 500. "That was the first time I met Richard
Childress," says Skinner. "He helped us out, loaned us a
gear. Chocolate Myers (a long-time RCR employee) was a big help that
weekend. I think we made a good impression when we made the field in
our first try." Skinner was owner and driver at the time.

 - Skinner's second Winston Cup start was also at Martinsville in the
fall of 1986. He lasted only 34 laps before being sidelined by engine
failure.  "That year just about broke us," says Skinner. "I found very
quickly that I couldn't afford to go Winston Cup racing. I had to quit
and go back to short-track racing. It took me a long time to get out
of the (financial) hole that one year of trying to go Winston Cup
racing put me in."

 - In the first race this year at Martinsville, Skinner encountered
engine problems moments after the start of the Goody's 500. He was
forced to pit on the second lap as he had no fuel pressure. It took
the Lowe's team eight laps to correct the fuel filter problem. As a
result, Skinner was eight laps down by lap 10. "We didn't have that
bad a car, but we never got a chance to show it," says Skinner, who
finished 32nd. "After our early problems, we just tried to run as many
laps as possible and learn as much as we could for the fall race."

 - Skinner believes if he can qualify as well as he did in April
(16th), "and run the whole race without any problems, we can have a
good day. I really feel Martinsville can be one of our better tracks."

 - With only six races left in the 1997 NASCAR Winston Cup season,
Skinner knows his hopes of a top-15 finish in the Winston Cup
standings is unrealistic. But he feels that "with a real strong
finish, we can still finish in the top 20. We've got to get us two or
three top-10s to do it, but this Lowe's team is very capable of doing
that. And we haven't given up on trying win one." Entering Sunday's
Hanes 500 at Martinsville, Skinner stands 29th in the points
standings, 290 points back of Darrell Waltrip, who is 20th.

 - In the race for the Rookie of the Year title, Skinner continues to
hold a comfortable lead over Robby Gordon and David Green. Skinner,
who has been the top-finishing rookie in 14 of the 26 races, has
earned 212 rookie points compared to 181 for Gordon and 173 for Green.

 - Skinner's 19th-place finish at Dover last week was his first top-20
finish in six races. In the last nine races, he has two top-10s and
four top-20s.

By Sports Marketing Enterprises