NASCAR BGN Series All Pro Bumper to Bumper 300: Pre-Race Report
4 October 1997CONCORD, NC - Today's All Pro Bumper to Bumper 300 marks the 27th (of 30) races on the 1997 NASCAR Busch Series Grand National Division 1997 schedule.
Last year's fall event at Charlotte Motor Speedway proved to be the turning point in the championship title battle. David Green entered the weekend with a 58-point lead over Randy LaJoie but a crash on lap 63 sidelined Green. LaJoie finished sixth and headed to Rockingham with the lead and a 50-point cushion between himself and Green. LaJoie went on to claim his first series title while Green finished in the runner-up position.
This time around won't result in such a dramatic turnaround as LaJoie currently enjoys a 231-point advantage over Todd Bodine. The most that Bodine can gain with a 43-car field is 146 points but that will only happen if Bodine goes to victory lane and LaJoie is the first to retire from the event.
Both championship contenders were forced to take provisionals to make today's field. Lajoie will start the No. 74 FINA Chevrolet 29th while Bodine will line up right next to him in the 30th starting position.
Steve Park, who has already clinched the series rookie title, sits third in the overall point standings, 373 markers behind LaJoie. Park will start the No. 3 ACDelco Chevrolet 19th. Park is riding a streak of five consecutive top-five finishes. Park finished sixteenth in the May event at this 1.5-mile superspeeday.
Glenn Allen was the 28th and final driver to make the field on time but after failing to qualify for the first event at Charlotte Motor Speedway this season he's just happy to be invited to the party this time around. "After missing the first race of my life last May, I feel like I have something to prove to everyone," said the driver of the No. 99 Luxaire Chevrolet. "This team has grown up so much since that earlier race, we have some new personnel, a new crew chief (John Monsam), and a new attitude on this race team. Our test at Charlotte last week gave the team a lot of confidence."
The green flag is scheduled to drop at 1:10 pm (EDT). WTBS will provide live television coverage with radio duties handled by PRN.
Lori Vizza -- The Auto Channel