3.88x3.41 in., 98.4x86.7 mm, 386hp @7800rpm, 287 cu in, 3.55:1, opt 3.73:1, 345ib-ft, 8.1:1, 3.88x3.41 in., in, 3.55:1, cu in, 3.55:1, 345ib-ft, 8.1:1, 3.88x3.41 in., 98.4x86.7mm, 386hp@7800rpm, 287 cu in, 3.55:1, opt 3.73:1, 345ib-ft, 8.1:1, 3.88x3.41 in., 98.4x86.7mm, 386hp@7800rpm, 287 opt 3.73:1, 345ib-ft, 8.1:1, cu in, 3.55:1, 386hp@7800rpm, 287 cu in, 3.55:1, opt 3.73:1, 345ib-ft, 8.1:1, 3.88x3.41 in., 98.4x86.7mm, 386hp@7800rpm, 287 cu in, 3.55:1, opt 3.73:1, 345ib-ft, 8.1:1
Plus!NASCAR 2000* Winston Cup Schedule* Web Sites* Brett Favre's Driving Adventure
Inside:Ones to WatchThe Movers and Shakers of 2000
Car CombatWinston Cup Race-car Comparisons
Cockpit AnatomyWhat's Inside a Cup Car?
Ones To WatchWinston Cup's Kings Of Speed For 2000As NASCAR Winston Cup racing enters 2000, it has forged a link between its hell-raising past and its rapidly growing future. What was once considered a sport suitable only for rednecks is the only major sport to have achieved growth every year in the last decade of the 20th century.
As speedways expand, television rights fees increase and souvenir sales soar, the key to NASCAR is its competition and drivers, many of whom have forged a hero status among their many fans. Perhaps no other sport in America can boast fans with as ravenous an appetite for their sport as NASCAR fans.
The Winston Cup schedule starts in February and doesn't end until a few days before Thanksgiving, a 10-month soap opera with more twists and turns than a Stephen King novel. Who will be the men to watch in 2000? Well, read on and get up to speed. The following men will be part of a season-long story that will culminate with the crowning of the Winston Cup champion, rapidly becoming one of the most prized titles in all of sports. Here are several of the most interesting drivers and team owners to watch.
Dale JarrettHis Winston Cup championship in 1999 was one of the most popular in NASCAR Winston Cup history for the longtime driver who has excelled with team owner Robert Yates. He returns to defend that championship in 2000 with the addition of Jeff Gordon's former pit crew, the Rainbow Warriors. Jarrett dominated the second half of the '99 season and notched an incredible 29 top-10 finishes. This team is a model of consistency that will be tough to beat.1999 Final Standing: 1st Place
Bobby LabonteThe quiet Texan, who is the younger brother of two-time NASCAR Winston Cup champion Terry Labonte, speaks loudly on the racetrack. He enjoyed his best season in NASCAR Winston Cup history (five wins) and was the runner-up to Jarrett in the battle for the Winston Cup title.
He returns with Joe Gibbs Racing in the Interstate Batteries Pontiac to provide a powerful 1-2 punch with teammate Tony Stewart.1999 Final Standing: 2nd Place
Mark MartinAlthough his victory total dipped dramatically from 1998 to 1999 (from seven to two), Martin was still in the top three in NASCAR Winston Cup points. In fact, Martin hasn't been out of the top five in the points standings since 1992. The longtime driver for Roush Racing longs to give team owner Jack Roush his first Winston Cup title.1999 Final Standing: 3rd Place
Tony StewartJust how good is this 28-year-old driver from Rushville, Ind.? Perhaps Ricky Rudd puts it best. "Tony Stewart comes along once in a million drivers," Rudd says. "I think Tony Stewart will definitely be a threat to win a championship."
In 1998, Winston Cup racing salivated over the prospect of Dale Earnhardt Jr. and Matt Kenseth being the drivers to challenge Jeff Gordon in the future. Somehow, Tony Stewart was overlooked.
It didn't take Stewart long to make fans realize just how talented he really is. He started on the front row of the Daytona 500 at his very first Winston Cup race. He would go on to run up front and contend for victory nearly every weekend, and he won three races in his rookie season to break the record set by Davey Allison, who won two as a rookie in 1987. Stewart also finished a stunning fourth in the Winston Cup standings. Could a championship in 2000 be next?
"I'm not even worrying about the title right now," Stewart says. "The team is capable. We had a lot of luck this year and had a good string when we didn't have any problems. You never know what this year may bring. We may get in a lot of wrecks.
"I'm not going out at the beginning of the year thinking I'm running for a championship. I'm going out to run the best I can each week, and if it comes down to that at the end of the year, great. I'm concentrating on one race at a time."
Stewart did well on all types of racetracks in his rookie season. The driver of The Home Depot Pontiac, owned by former Washington Redskins coach Joe Gibbs, was part of the top two-car team in Winston Cup racing last year. 1999 Final Standing: 4th Place
Jeff BurtonAfter Burton led the Winston Cup point standings for much of the early season, inconsistency kept him from contending for the Winston Cup title. But only Jeff Gordon won more races than Burton in 1999, and Burton is ready to contend for the championship in 2000.
"We lacked the consistency we needed to contend for the title," Burton says. "Going into 2000, we have a really clear picture that you can't have bad races. Bad finishes really hurt us a lot in the points. Trying to prevent those bad finishes is what we've got to do. That's hard to do. Knowing what you need to do and knowing how to do it are two different things. We have to run as well as we did in 1999, and we have to run even better than in the second half of the season, but we can't afford those poor finishes.
"What we have learned is speed didn't win out. You have to win races, you have to run up front, you have to earn those bonus points, and the bad finishes kill you." 1999 Final Standing: 5th Place
Jeff GordonTalk about expectations. Gordon won seven races and seven poles and finished in the top five in 1999, yet he's coming off the most disappointing season of his career. That's the position in which Gordon found himself after winning 13 races and his third Winston Cup title in four years in 1998.
After spending his entire Winston Cup career with Ray Evernham as his crew chief and mentor, Gordon will be the first to admit his team had become stale. Evernham's departure to head Dodge's return to Winston Cup racing in 2001 has given Gordon a new challenge. In October, he responded by winning his first two races with Brian Whitesell as his crew chief. More turmoil was ahead when his Rainbow Warriors' pit crew left en masse to join Robert Yates Racing, where it will serve as Dale Jarrett's pit crew in 2000.
Gordon looks at the new season as a challenge. After all, the 28-year-old driver had made his stunning success look much too easy. "My goal is to get that Winston Cup title back," Gordon says. "We have a lot of things we are looking forward to. We have a new Monte Carlo, and that will get us closer to the Pontiacs and the Fords. We're excited about that. We have a lot of things in the works."
Gordon admits his attitude has been rejuvenated because he is building a team back up rather than maintaining one that had already achieved excellence. "Every once in a while, you need these sparks and these things that keep you motivated," Gordon says. "I always like to say I'm always motivated, and when I'm in the car behind the wheel, I am. But there are a lot of distractions and things that are out there that take your focus away. I think right now this is going to allow me to put 90 percent of my focus back into the team.
"There are some things more important than racing, but my focus will be working with Brian and Rick Hendrick and this team to get them everything they need to win and get me everything I need to win," Gordon says. 1999 Final Standing: 6th Place
Dale EarnhardtAfter winning three races in 1999 -his first multiwin season since 1996-it was easy to conclude that Dale Earnhardt was back. But in the words of the seven-time NASCAR Winston Cup champion, "I never went anywhere. I have always been here. I'll be here until I'm gone.
"Right now, the plan is to sign a new three-year deal with Richard and Goodwrench and be here until 2003 and probably look at retirement after that. I'm not going to make any bones about it or set a time deal on it. I'm sure at age 50-whatever, it will be time to go to the racetrack and watch Dale Jr. and Steve Park and those guys race and win and hopefully be a championship owner."
Look for Earnhardt to continue his upward trend in 2000, giving the sport a significant link to its illustrious past. 1999 Final Standing: 7th Place
Ricky RuddOpportunity comes along at the strangest times. Just ask Ricky Rudd, who in just a few short months lost his major sponsor, Tide, and was faced with the decision of whether or not to close his racing team. When team owner Robert Yates decided Kenny Irwin Jr. would not be back as his driver in 2000, Yates approached Rudd, who jumped at the opportunity.
"If this team had been available seven years ago, I wouldn't have become a team owner," Rudd says. "That's one of the reasons I did what I did, because at the time, I was leaving Hendrick Motorsports and Robert Yates was having great success with Davey Allison.
"Those rides were not around, so I started my own team. Life would have been simpler if that ride had been available then. Things happened for a reason, and this opportunity popped up."
The #28 Texaco/Havoline Ford Taurus is annually one of the top rides in Winston Cup racing, but it hasn't been driven to Victory Lane since Ernie Irvan was the driver in 1997. Rudd gladly accepted the challenge of putting it back into Victory Lane.
"I don't see pressure; I see an opportunity to win," Rudd says. "Pressure is trying to figure out how to be competitive on $4 million a year. Being able to step into a car when you don't have to worry about horsepower or whether this team had enough aerodynamic help at the wind tunnel-you don't have to worry about that. You have the best equipment going in."
Rudd can also benefit from having Dale Jarrett, the '99 Winston Cup champion, as his teammate. "I have a lot of respect for Dale and the way he handles himself on and off the racetrack," Rudd says. "I see a great opportunity there where we have two experienced drivers who can help each other and the team." 1999 Final Standing: 31st Place
Dale Earnhardt Jr. and Matt KensethAfter dueling each other the past two seasons for the NASCAR Busch Series title, Dale Earnhardt Jr. and Matt Kenseth will renew that rivalry in the battle for the NASCAR Winston Cup Rookie of the Year award. Earnhardt will be in a Chevrolet Monte Carlo, Kenseth in a Roush Racing Ford.
"There is going to be a lot of attention placed on them. It'll be tough for those guys to stay focused and do their jobs, because when you're a rookie, you feel like every eye is on you," says Jeff Gordon. "It really comes down to the equipment they get. If they get the equipment, those guys will do well."
Don't expect too much out of either driver, though, because unlike Tony Stewart in 1999, most rookies experience ups and downs.
"I think they'll do well," Ricky Rudd says. "They'll have their good days and their bad days."
Says Roush Racing teammate Jeff Burton, "Matt Kenseth will come in and bring a youthful energy, along with a lack of experience. That's OK for a smart guy, and he's a smart guy. Matt Kenseth and Dale Earnhardt Jr. will bring a mix to it. I think the rookie battle next year between Matt and Junior will be really neat." 1999 Final Busch Standings: - Dale Earnhardt Jr.: 1st- Matt Kenseth: 3rd
A.J. FoytOK, so he's a team owner and not a driver, but Foyt's full-time participation in NASCAR Winston Cup racing is another indication of the popularity of the series. Foyt is the first four-time winner of the Indianapolis 500 and continues as a team owner in the Pep Boys Indy Racing League. Foyt enjoyed tremendous success in a limited NASCAR Winston Cup driving career in which he won seven races, including the '72 Daytona 500, driving for the Wood Brothers. Now, as a full-time team owner in NASCAR Winston Cup racing, Foyt has his team preparing Pontiacs driven by rookie driver Mike Bliss, a former USAC open-wheel racer who has spent the past four seasons in the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series.
It's likely this colorful team owner will overshadow Bliss. "As long as A.J. doesn't want to fight me, we're OK," Jeff Burton says. "A.J. Foyt is a name synonymous with American motorsports. His involvement will hopefully help us. He hasn't been in this side of racing in a long, long time, and it will be interesting to see how he adapts."
Darrell WaltripThere are many who think "Ol' DW" can still drive ... especially Darrell Waltrip. One of the most popular Winston Cup drivers of all time is calling the year 2000 his last.
Waltrip has won the series title three times: in 1981, 1982 and 1985. Waltrip stands one victory away from sole possession of third place in all-time NASCAR Winston Cup wins with 84. He is seventh in all-time superspeedway victories with 37 and fourth in all-time Winston Cup poles with 59.
Waltrip will be going out in style with the much-hyped "Victory Tour 2000." Driving the #66 Route 66/Big Kmart Ford Taurus, the NASCAR legend vows to score one more victory before he hangs 'em up. He's definitely one more to watch in 2000.
Choose Your Sheet MetalChevrolet Monte CarloThe Monte Carlo has maintained its stock look by keeping the race-car profile much the same as its production version. Other distinctive shapes have been incorporated to keep the aura of a stock Chevrolet in the race car.
Viewed from the front, the grille shape and headlight decals proclaim it's a Monte Carlo. The hood carries the stock-type crisp accent lines that run from the headlights to the windshield. Of course, to make sure you know it's a Chevy, the famous Bow Tie logo is prominent in the center of the nosepiece.
Ford TaurusThe Taurus is the biggest hybrid among the three, because the street production model of Taurus comes in a high-roof four-door version only. The stock profile is substantially altered in the race version, but other characteristics are maintained to imply a stock look.
Among the lines on the car, hinting at a stock appearance is the unique undulating hood shape. When you add in the grille, which has the oval shape like its street cousin, the Ford look comes through. Topping it off are the Taurus eye headlight decals and the corporate logo. When the race car is viewed from this angle, the look is unmistakably Ford Taurus.
Pontiac Grand PrixCertain parts of the Pontiac Grand Prix race-car body shape set the stock-like tone, and from a longitudinal silhouette, you can see that Pontiac has roughly maintained the stock profile. The most distinctive part of the stock look with the Grand Prix is the unique stock grille shape. This trademark of Pontiac is at the center of the looks-like-stock nosepiece. The race car's hood shape is also like that of the street version and possesses distinctive accent through lines to the right and left of center. To make sure it's recognized as a Pontiac, the race car's nosepiece also bears the recognizable Pontiac triangular logo. Capping off the stock look is a set of wraparound headlight decals that unmistakably say Grand Prix.
Three KingsWhether a Ford, Chevrolet or Pontiac lover, each fan has some bragging rights. All three cars had a tremendous season in 1999. Here's how the win count flushed out.
Ford: 13 Wins* Dale Jarrett (4) in the Robert Yates Quality Care Service/Ford Credit #88* Mark Martin (2) in the Jack Roush Valvoline #6* Jeff Burton (6) in the Jack Roush Exide Batteries #99* Rusty Wallace (1) in the Roger Penske Miller Lite #2
Chevrolet: 12 Wins* Jeff Gordon (7) in the Rick Hendrick Dupont #24*Dale Earnhardt (3) in the Richard Chil-dress Mr. Goodwrench #3* Terry Labonte (1) in the Rick Hendrick Kelloggs Cornflakes #5 *Joe Nemechek (1) in the Felix Sabates Bell South #42
Pontiac: 9 Wins*Bobby Labonte (5) in the Joe Gibbs Interstate Batteries #18*Tony Stewart (3) in the Joe Gibbs Home Depot #20*John Andretti (1) in the Richard Petty STP #43
Favre's Got The Fever (NASCAR Fever)NFL star and lifelong NASCAR fanatic Brett Favre put his money where his mouth is and became a car owner back in 1998 when he paired up with Winston Cup Series champion Dale Jarrett on Jarrett's Busch Series racing team. Favre's participation in racing didn't stop there, however, and in July 1999 the Jarrett/Favre Driving Adventure opened at North Carolina Speedway in Rockingham.
The driving adventure is designed to give the fantasy race-car driver a realistic NASCAR racing experience. "There's nothing like the thrill of racing the tracks at high speeds in a car that's made specifically for testing your abilities to the limit," Dale Jarrett says. Nothing, that is, except for maybe being the QB of the winning Super Bowl team.
For more information call 888.GO.RACE.1.Circle Track Surfing
Following are a few of our choices for speed freaks on the net:
www.nascar.comNASCAR Online, NASCAR's official Web site, has tons of information on every NASCAR racing series, especially Winston Cup, the Busch Series and the Craftsman Truck Series. You'll also find links to your favorite drivers, racing collectibles and other racing sites here.
www.irocracing.comThe True Value Firebird International Race of Champions Series (better known as IROC) is auto racing's All-Star game. It's the sport's version of The Masters and is only open to the world's best race drivers. Who is the world's best driver? Follow this series (which runs on selected Winston Cup weekends) to find out.
www.fantasycup.comFantasy Cup Auto Racing is a great way to belly up to Winston Cup racing. With a mythical $10 million, you can draft your dream team and then tune in on race day to see how your drivers do. You'll be surprised how emotionally attached you can get to guys like Bobby Labonte and Mark Martin.
www.jeffgordon.comYou either love him or hate him, but everyone wants to know more about him. Die-hards will want to check this site out.
|2000 NASCAR Winston Cup Series Schedule |
|Date ||Race ||Track ||TV |
|Feb. 13 ||Bud Shootout* ||Daytona International Speedway ||CBS |
|Feb. 20 ||Daytona 500 ||Daytona International Speedway ||CBS |
|Feb. 27 ||Dura-Lube/Kmart 400 ||North Carolina Speedway ||TNN |
|March 5 ||Carsdirect.com 400 ||Las Vegas Motor Speedway ||ABC |
|March 12 ||Cracker Barrel 500 ||Atlanta Motor Speedway ||ABC |
|March 19 ||Transouth Financial 400 ||Darlington Raceway ||ESPN |
|March 26 ||Food City 500 ||Bristol Motor Speedway ||ESPN |
|April 2 ||DirecTV 500 ||Texas Motor Speedway ||CBS |
|April 9 ||Goody's Body Pain 500 ||Martinsville Speedway ||ESPN |
|April 16 ||DieHard 500 ||Talladega Superspeedway ||ABC |
|April 30 ||NAPA Auto Parts 500 ||California Speedway ||ABC |
|May 6 ||Pontiac Excitement 400 ||Richmond International Raceway ||ESPN |
|May 20 ||The Winston* ||Lowe's Motor Speedway ||TNN |
|May 28 ||Coca-Cola 600 ||Lowe's Motor Speedway ||TBS |
|June 4 ||MBNA Platinum 400 ||Dover Downs International Speedway ||TNN |
|June 11 ||Kmart 400 ||Michigan Speedway ||CBS |
|June 18 ||Pocono 500 ||Pocono Raceway ||TNN |
|June 25 ||Save Mart/Kragen 350K ||Sears Point Raceway ||ESPN |
|July 1 ||Pepsi 400 ||Daytona International Speedway ||CBS |
|July 9 ||Jiffy Lube 300 ||New Hampshire International Speedway ||TNN |
|July 23 ||Pennsylvania 500 ||Pocono Raceway ||TBS |
|Aug. 5 ||Brickyard 400 ||Indianapolis Motor Speedway ||ABC |
|Aug. 13 ||Global Frontier at the Glen ||Watkins Glen International ||ESPN |
|Aug. 20 ||Pepsi 400 ||Michigan Speedway ||ESPN |
|Aug. 26 ||Goracing.com 500 ||Bristol Motor Speedway ||ESPN |
|Sept. 3 ||Southern 500 ||Darlington Raceway ||ESPN |
|Sept. 9 ||Chevrolet Monte Carlo 400 ||Richmond International Raceway ||ESPN |
|Sept. 17 ||New Hampshire 300 ||New Hampshire International Speedway ||TNN |
|Sept. 24 ||MBNA Gold 400 ||Dover Downs International Speedway ||TNN |
|Oct. 1 ||NAPA Autocare 500 ||Martinsville Speedway ||ESPN |
|Oct. 8 ||UAW-GM Quality 500 ||Lowe's Motor Speedway ||TBS |
|Oct. 15 ||Winston 500 ||Talladega Superspeedway ||ESPN |
|Oct. 22 ||Pop Secret 400 ||North Carolina Speedway ||TNN |
|Nov. 5 ||Checker Auto Parts/ ||Phoenix International Raceway ||TNN |
| ||Dura Lube 500K |
|Nov. 12 ||Pennzoil 400 ||Homestead-Miami Speedway ||NBC |
|Nov. 19 ||NAPA 500 ||Atlanta Motor Speedway ||ESPN |
|*non-points events |
2000 True Value IROC Series ScheduleRace OneFeb. 18: Daytona International Speedway, ABC (March 12, 5 p.m. EST)
Race TwoApril 15: Talladega Superspeedway,ABC (April 16, 5 p.m. EST)
Race ThreeJune 10: Michigan Speedway, ESPN (Live, Noon EST)
Race FourAug. 4: Indianapolis Motor Speedway, ABC (August 5,4 p.m. EST)
It's Not The Car Your Mama DroveComparing and Contrasting the Winston Cup CarsThe evolution of race cars during the last 50 years has been nothing short of incredible. Cars that roll out on the speedways today bear virtually no resemblance to their yesteryear ancestors that churned up sand on the beaches of Daytona. Due to higher speeds and safety requirements, auto racing has made changes in designs that have resulted in the race cars we see today-and what changes they have been.
Today's racing stock cars are truly a revolution of evolution, and although we fawn over our favorite, whether it's a Ford Taurus, a Chevrolet Monte Carlo or a Pontiac Grand Prix, none has much in common with the stock cars we drive on the street. Look closely at a NASCAR Winston Cup car and you'll see that most of what's inside can't be ordered as optional equipment on your street car. Sure, the engine powering each brand is patterned after the stock engine, but the similarities end there.
While the exterior of the race car also is quite different from its stock car sibling, that's where you'll find the most similarities between the two. The race car's body represents the effort of stock-car approximation, and in an attempt to retain brand recognition, Ford, Chevrolet and Pontiac have incorporated certain design elements to make us feel like we see our favorite brand on the track.
In one sense, it's hard to miss your favorite if you're looking at the race car's front end, because each brand has its name emblazoned on the nose of the car. Yet in addition to the name, other features, such as grille configuration, character lines (hood, trunk and side), headlight decals and window shapes provide the stock look.