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NASCAR-BGN: Pikes Peak International Raceway Preview

9 June 1998

Fact Sheet for June 12-14 250 and the NASCAR Busch Grand National Weekend 250
WHAT: 250, NASCAR Busch Grand National series
WHEN: qualifying Friday and Saturday; championship race 2 p.m. Sunday (ESPN, live)
DISTANCE: 250 laps, 250 miles
POSTED AWARDS: $912,009 (1st - 62,250; 2nd - 47,375; 3rd - 33,725)
FIELD: 43 (maximum including provisionals)
CONTACTS: Tim Sullivan, NASCAR (904-947-6773) or Jeff Wolf, PPIR (719-382-4303)

WHAT: Cornwell Tools 150; RE/MAX Challenge Series, race 5 of 18
WHEN: qualifying Friday; championship race 1:10 p.m. Saturday
DISTANCE: 150 laps, 150 miles
FIELD: 40 (fastest 36 through time trials; four provisionals)
CONTACTS: Dean Strom, NASCAR (414-328-0773) or Jeff Wolf, PPIR (719-382-4303)

WHAT: Western Super Modified Racing Association
WHEN: qualifying Friday and Saturday; championship race 4:30 p.m. (approximate)
DISTANCE: 25 laps, 250 miles
FIELD: 18 pre-entered
CONTACTS: Dan Hayes, WSMRA (425-392-5722) or Jeff Wolf, PPIR (719-382-4303)



The NASCAR Busch Grand National Series comes to Pike Peak International Raceway this weekend, and the points race is heating up for the inaugural LYCOS.COM 250.

Last Friday in the Hardees 250 at Richmond (Va.) International Raceway, it took a slip by Dale Earnhardt Jr. late in the race, to allow Jeff Burton to cruise to a relatively easy victory.

Earnhardt was tight on Burton's bumper when he slipped up the race track in Turn 4 at lap 244. After that, Burton had an easy time of it and beat Earnhardt to the finish line by a little more than six-tenths of a seconds. Earnhardt, who led three times for a total of 171 laps, said his car simply washed up the track a bit.

"The car pushed up a little bit in the center of the corner," Earnhardt said. "I didn't want to give up a little bit of speed in the center of the corner. I let him go. I was out there losing my rhythm. I know we picked it back up, and sure enough, we were faster. I just couldn't get by him."

Team Lycos driver Matt Kenseth finished third and took a huge chunk out of Mike McLaughlin's lead in the NASCAR Busch Series point standings. Kenseth went from 113 out of first place to just nine after McLaughlin suffered mechanical problems and a spin.

"That's respectable," Kenseth said. "We just never hit it right all night, to tell you the truth. I've got to hand it to the guys. They really gave me great pit stops. The car was prepared really well. It was a good, solid third-place car.

McLaughlin was credited with a 34th-place finish, seven laps down to Burton.

"Everybody has their misfortune," McLaughlin said. "We've had some pretty good luck. We were due for some bad, I guess. ... We were running better here than we have in a long time. There's a long way to go. We'll see what happens (at Pikes Peak)." NASCAR Craftsman Trucks limp into PPIR Monday

Texas Motor Speedway showed its horns to the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series drivers Friday night in the Pronto Auto Parts 400, as multiple-truck accidents claimed drivers early and often before Tony Raines led the final 21 laps and to score his second victory in three races.

Jack Sprague, who took a wild, bounding ride through the infield after he was tapped and spun out of the lead coming off turn four on lap 135, recovered to finish sixth in the 1-800-MARROW-2 Chevrolet. Rick Carelli was ninth in the RE/MAX International Chevrolet.

Sprague, who was frustrated after leading 96 of 167 laps, maintained a 77-point lead over Ron Hornaday, who suffered engine failure in the No. 16 NAPA Brakes Chevrolet and finished 24th.


URGENT: Please note ... current construction on the southbound lanes of Interstate 25 between Colorado Springs and the Fountain exit will be stopped Thursday night and will not resume until Monday following the NASCAR Busch Grand National Weekend.



Six of Chevrolets top NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series drivers tested Monday at Pikes Peak International Raceway.

Ron Hornaday, who drive the NAPA Brackes Craftsman Truck, will also compete in this weekends LYCOS.COM 250 Busch Grand National Series race.

Any time you can get extra laps on a track itll help prepare you better, said Hornaday, who will drive the Kingsford/Matchlight Chevrolet in the Busch race.

Hornaday, of Palmdale Calif., says he lobbied to get a ride in the Busch race is so hell know what to expect when he races in the July 25 NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series event at PPIR.

It will give me some more seat time to figure out what to do and what not to do in the trucks, Hornaday said.

In his NAPA Chevrolet, Hornaday completed several successful test laps. His team made subtle adjustments on the vehicles aerodynamic set-up between runs.

Were trying to figure out what aerodynamic package gets us into the corner the best, Hornaday said. This is a momentum track. The trick is to round off the corners and keep the RPMs up on the motor.

Hornaday is currently second in NCTS season point standings with 1,223. He trails defending champion Jack Sprague by 77 points. In the PRONTO Auto Parts 400 Friday at the Texas Motor Speedway Hornaday finished a disappointing 24th after starting 16th.

Sprague also tested at PPIR Monday in his Hendrick Motorsports Chevrolet.

The biggest thing well get (from the testing) is well get close on the set up, said Sprague, of Spring Lake, Mich.

Sprague praised PPIRs driveabliliy and passer-friendly corners.

The track is so sticky and the corners are so wide, its tough to get loose, Sprague said.

His only lament was that even with the pedal to the floor, he still felt he could go faster coming out of the turns.

It feels like I could use about 500 more horsepower, Sprague said. Going into the turns theres a limit (to how fast you can accelerate, but coming off the turns they can take everything you put at it. I think therell be some good two-wide racing here.

At Texas Motor Speedway, Sprague finished sixth after gaining the pole position.

Also present was Jay Sauter in his GM Goodwrench Service Plus Chevrolet.

Sauter, who is currently in fifth place in NCTS points with 1,118, agreed with Sprague about PPIRs speed.

The way this track is made, you can flat-foot (the accelerator) down to the floor in a hurry, said Sauter, who is from West Salem, Wisc. I dont think therell be a problem racing side-by-side. We should put on a good show for the people and thats whats important.

Also present were Rick Carelli of Arvada in his RE/MAX International Chevrolet, Ron Fellows in his AER Manufacturing Chevy, Randy Tolsma in his IWX Motor Freight Chevy and Chris Horn.

During their test laps the drivers were running at speeds of approximately 130 miles per hour, which is one lap every 27.9 seconds. Come race-week though, Sprague predicts it will take a lap of about 26.8 seconds to take the pole. That converts almost 134 miles per hour.

Craftsman Trucks and Busch Grand National cars can attain relatively the same speed, but they do so in completely opposite ways.

Craftsman Trucks have got horsepower and no body, Sprague said. Busch cars got body, but no horsepower.

Craftsman trucks have about 150 more horsepower (about 700 H.P.) than Busch cars, which average about 550 horsepower, but Busch cars can generate more down force, which makes them able to corner at higher speeds than the Craftsman trucks.

Therefore, Craftsman trucks will likely record higher speeds down the straightaways at PPIR, but the Busch cars will be able to enter corners without braking so much and will go through corners quicker than the trucks.