ARA RaceFacts bulletin (07/12/98)
13 July 1998
AUTO RACING ANALYSIS RACEFACTS BULLETIN JULY 12, 1998 Jeff Burton's victory (Exide Batteries Roush Ford Taurus) in Sunday's New Hampshire Jiffy Lube 300 NASCAR Winston Cup event was the first 1998 Winston Cup win for Jeff, the fourth Winston Cup win of his career, and his second consecutive in the event! The victory was the 30th Winston Cup win for the Roush Racing team, 26 by Mark Martin, four by Burton. Five of Burton's fellow "breakthrough" winners in 1990s Winston Cup competition have thus far failed to take any further Winston Cup wins following their breakthrough win(s) seasons: John Andretti (1997), Brett Bodine (1990), Ward Burton (1995), Derrike Cope (two wins in 1990) and Jimmy Spencer (two wins in 1994). Ron Hornaday, Jr.'s (NAPA Brakes Earnhardt Chevrolet) win in Nazareth's NASCAR Craftsman Truck event was his fourth victory of the 1998 NCTS season and marked the second consecutive season Ron has been the first driver to reach the four-victory mark! In 1995, Mike Skinner was the first four-time winner, achieving the feat in the eighth race of the season; Mike was also the first four-time winner in 1996, achieving the total in race #13. Hornaday was the first four-time winner in 1997, also reaching the figure in race #13. His fourth victory in 1998 came in race #11 and moved Chevrolet to within one victory of Ford, 6 to 5. Bill Saunders (Autolink Rocketsports Chevrolet Corvette) won Cleveland's Medic GP SCCA NTB Trans-Am Series race Saturday over Brian Simo (Valvoline Racewerx Ford Mustang Cobra), scoring Saunders' career-first Trans-Am win while Simo earned his fifth Trans-Am runnerup finish without a win! The Cleveland win by Bill Saunders set a new record; Saunders took his first Trans-Am win in his 69th Trans-Am start, a new record for the "latest into a career" victory for a first-time Trans-Am winner. Paul Miller set the previous mark, not winning until start 38 of his Trans-Am career, September 9, 1984 at Mosport Park. Miller made his first start on April 15, 1973 at Road Atlana. Brian Simo's fifth runnerup finish without a victory is still two short of tying the record for most runnerup finishes before a win! Tom Kendall achieved seven runnerup finishes (1987 Long Beach, Kendall Mercury Capri; 1989 Long Beach, Cleveland, Des Moines, St. Petersburg and 1990 Sears Point and Dallas (Addison) in C&C Chevrolet Berettas before winning in his 21st start, July 7, 1990 at Cleveland! The all-time Trans-Am record for MOST RUNNERUP FINISHES WITHOUT A WIN IN A COMPLETED CAREER is held by Ed Leslie; he posted six runnerup finishes in a 25-start Trans-Am career spanning the 1967 through 1970 seasons. Saunders' 0.193 second victory margin over Simo ranks sixth all-time on the Trans-Am Closest Victory Margins list and was the CLOSEST EVER on a Trans-Am "street or temporary circuit" venue, eclipsing the 0.204 second victory margin of Tom Kendall's July 16, 1994 Toronto win! Chris Neville led the rookies with a fourth-place finish (ARCO Derhaag Chevrolet Camaro), tying his career-best achieved in the 1998 Long Beach race. First-time polesitter Michael Lewis (Red Line Oil Ford Mustang Cobra) finished third as three models (Corvette, Mustang, Camaro) finished in the top four positions! With Leighton Reese's Pontiac Grand Prix ninth, three marques and four models finished in the Top Ten; Don Sak's Oldsmobile Cutlass was eleventh, the final car on the lead lap, as four marques and five models posted lead-lap finishes! While Paul Gentilozzi (Autolink Rocketsports Chevrolet Corvette) led the race at the point his engine blew, retiring him with 35 of 42 laps completed, Paul set a new Trans-Am record! Gentilozzi has "opened" the 1998 SCCA NTB Trans-Am Series season with SEVEN consecutive Fastest Lap honors, a new Trans-Am Fast Lap streak! This Fast Lap streak has replaced the previous record, George Follmer's "season-opening" Fast Lap streak of six races, the first six races of 1972! During that streak, Follmer "shared" the Fast Lap in the first race of the streak. Rocketsports scored its 18th Trans-Am win, tied for sixth-ranking all-time in Entrant Wins with Brumos Racing and ranking fifth all-time on the "top class" Entrant Wins list! Randy Lajoie (FINA BACE Chevrolet Monte Carlo) won Saturday evening's Myrtle Beach NASCAR Busch Grand National event, scoring his first win of the 1998 BGN season! Randy, whose first major pro racing victory took place on July 2, 1983 in an American-Canadian Tour (ACT) event at Catamount, won five BGN races in each of his 1996 and 1997 championship seasons. In 1996, he had achieved three wins by July 12 while in 1997 he had four wins by July 6. Luiz Garcia, Jr. (Brian Stewart Racing) became the fourth consecutive first-time Dayton Indy Lights winner with his victory at Cleveland! Garcia, the 1991 Formula Ford 1600 Champion of Brazil, moved to England in 1992 to contest the British Formula Vauxhall Lotus series. He ranked eleventh in 1992 points for the Seikel team. In 1993 he scored two victories in the series, on July 25 at Knockhill and on September 19 at Silverstone, en route to third in points for the LJR team; the 1993 series champion was current CART driver Dario Franchitti! Garcia moved on to British Formula 3 in 1994, driving a Vauxhall-powered Dallara for the Edenbridge team; he finished eleventh in points with a best finish of second on April 10 at Donington Park, setting Fast Lap en route to losing by 2.35 seconds to former Stewart F1 driver Jan Magnussen. In 1995 he drove a Mugen Honda-powered Dallara for David Sears Racing, placing fifteenth in points. Luiz joined the Super Nova British Formula 2 (Formula 3000 cars) team in 1996, partnering Gareth Rees. Rees and Garcia finished 1-2 in the championship, with Garcia winning on October 13 at Brands Hatch and on October 27 at Donington Park. His ten starts in the 1996 series produced two wins, five runnerup finishes, one third (eight "podium" finishes) and two accident-caused retirements. In 1997 Garcia came to North America for the Indy Lights series, ranking 13th in the point standings. He achieved one Top Five finish, a fourth at Savannah, and six Top Ten finishes.