NASCAR BGN Series ACDelco 200: Pre-Race Notebook
25 October 1997
NASCAR Busch Series Grand National Division Pre-Race Notes ACDelco 200 North Carolina Motor Speedway October 25, 1997 ROCKINGHAM, NC - FIRST TIME AT THE ROCK ARCA regular Perry Tripp will be making his first Busch Series start in today's ACDelco 200. Tripp, who moved his own racing operation to Charlotte, NC in the spring of this year to pursue a career in NASCAR, was chosen by car owner Ed Whitaker to pilot the No. 7 Manheim Auctions Chevrolet this weekend. The Fredericktown, MO native qualified the No. 7 Manheim Auctions Chevrolet 37th in the field of 42 starters. WINNING THE WAR Todd Bodine is on a mission today. With a 200 point deficit between himself and points leader Randy LaJoie, Bodine must finish ahead of the defending series champion in order to stay alive in the chase for this year's title. But it's not quite that simple as the Team 34 pilot must also gain at least 21 points on LaJoie if he wants a shot at the whole enchilada in the season finale at Homestead Motorsports Complex. Bodine garnered a fourth-place start for today's 200-mile event while LaJoie will start from deep in the field -- 33rd. PARK LOOKING FOR SECOND Although he has been mathematically eliminated from winning the title, Rookie of the Year Steve Park is 105 points behind Todd Bodine giving him a reasonable shot at the runner-up position. Putting his No. 3 ACDelco Chevrolet in winner's circle this afternoon would go a long way toward allowing Park to achieve that goal. "I'd really like to win for the ACDelco folds at Rockingham," said Park. "We really wanted to have a shot at the title, but finishing second would sound better than third. No matter what happens in the final two races, it's been a great season. I've been to a lot of tracks for the first time and learned a lot about racing. I'll never forget my rookie season on the Busch circuit." WHOSE CAR? It was announced some time ago that Tony Stewart will be driving a full Busch schedule in 1998 for car owner Joe Gibbs and primary sponsor Shell Oil. But with Stewart taking the wheel of the #44 Shell Pontiac at The Rock, Bobby Labonte, who fielded and drove that car on a limited basis this season, was asked, "So who does the car belong to?" "That's a technical question," explained Labonte. "He's (Joe Gibbs) got some cars and I've got some cars. It's Joe's car, but it's my number." Labonte made it very clear that he is still searching for a sponsor to run a limited '98 Busch schedule. "I sold him (Gibbs) my stuff and I'm looking for a sponsor to drive Terry's stuff in case nobody knew that," said Bobby. "I'm still looking for sponsors. Terry's going to drive a few races...not very many but we're still looking for a sponsor for that. We're in the sponsor-hunting business right now. We're looking for a deal to run about 14 races for me and about five for him." He was then was asked if he and Terry would drive the same car if the right sponsorship deal was signed. Labonte, in an effort to set the record straight, laughed and replied, "We might drive a car in some of the same races together but not in *the* same car."