This is Bobfoolery. Blame it all on Y2K.
Before another feeble stab at picking the 2000 Winston Cup cham-pion and the top 20 in points, hence Bobfoolery, let's belatedly wave the final checkered over the '99 season and the 20th century through superlatives.
Our awards are positive in deference to those that didn't measure up, or went backward-always the plight of Bobfoolery. Some of the choices are obvious, lacking only Bobfoolery's authentication.
Driver of the Year: Champion Dale Jarrett. DJ's season of four wins, 24 top fives, 29 top 10s, and $6.649 million in earnings should be a clinic on how to win a championship and an inspiration to those who have not.
Crew Chief/Team/Engine Builder: Todd Parrott, Robert Yates Racing's #88, backed by Ford Quality Care and Doug Yates. Parrott, a second-generation blue blood, soared from rookie to champion as crew chief of the team in four years. Doug Yates has enhanced his father's reputation as the sport's tower of power.
Car Owner: Robert Yates. After near misses and uncommon tragedy and sorrow in 11 years as a car owner, Yates finally got the grand prize.
Manufacturer: Ford Motor Company. Ford teams drove the first-year Taurus to a season-high 13 victories and the company's first manufacturer's title since 1992.
Man of the Year: Joe Gibbs. The coach's spiritual, moral, and family values are inspiring, not to mention the two championship caliber teams he has put together.
Story: NASCAR's revolutionary $2.4 billion television contract with NBC, Fox, and TBS, effective in 2001. Honorable Mentions: Dodge to return to Winston Cup; Ray Evernham leaves Jeff Gordon and Hendrick Motorsports.
Track: Texas Motor Speedway. Problems with configuration and water seepage have been corrected. The Primestar 500 Winston Cup race in March, which drew about 200,000 fans, was, the track boasts, the biggest sports event in Texas-in the 20th century.
Race: The Winston 500 at Talladega Superspeedway. Dale Earnhardt, the grand master of restrictor plates, held off Dale Jarrett by one tenth of a second to complete a sweep of the Winston Cup events at the 2.66-mile monster. There were 32 lead changes among 16 drivers.
Improved Driver/Team: Ward Burton and Bill Davis Racing's #22. Burton, led by crew chief Tom Baldwin Jr., didn't win, but he advanced from 16th in points in 1998 to ninth as the only driver for a single-car team to finish in the top 10.
Comeback: Dale Earnhardt. Looking like the Intimidator of old at age 48, the seven-time champion improved from one to three wins and from eighth to seventh in points.
Surprise: Tony Stewart. The rookie of the year sensation rewrote the record books with three wins and finished fourth in points.
Courageous: Mark Martin (for the second straight year). Chronic back pain, compounded by crash injuries in practice at Daytona, forced Martin to drive in distress much of the season, but he still won twice and finished third in the point standings.
Magic Moment: Joe Nemechek's first Winston Cup victory, at New Hampshire, and the ensuing celebration. To borrow Front Row Joe's favorite line, "It was awesome."
Touching Moment: Ernie Irvan's tearful retirement as a Winston Cup driver at Darlington.
Top NASCAR Official: Mike Helton. Winston Cup and NASCAR haven't missed a beat since the big guy was promoted to executive vice president and chief operating officer, assuming day-to-day responsibilities from President Bill France in February. In December, France announced that he has treatable cancer.
In Memoriam: Martinsville Speedway founder H. Clay Earles-a true NASCAR pioneer-and car owners Harry Melling and Harry Ranier.
Special Honors: Morris Metcalfe and Ned Jarrett. Metcalfe, NASCAR chief scorer and timer since 1982, has scored more than 3,000 races since his first in 1952. He was to retire after the Daytona 500. Jarrett, a two-time champion, father of Dale, a gentleman, a splendid ambassador for the sport, and motorsports television's best analyst, has retired from the booth.
Oddity: Pfizer Inc., touting Viagra, its relatively new drug for treatment of erectile dysfunction, signed as primary sponsor of the #27 Eel River Pontiac, driven by Jeff Fuller and led by veteran crew chief Barry Dodson. Although the unique sponsorship has given rise to one-liners, Pfizer is serious about an additional program involving Rusty Wallace, Mark Martin, and Bobby Labonte to raise awareness of men's health issues.
Feat: Rick Mast was running at the finish of all 34 races. Mast logged only two top 10s and finished 32nd in points, but no driver had finished them all since his Ford owner, Cale Yarborough, in 1977.
Promising Newcomers: Two-time Busch Series champion Dale Earnhardt Jr. and Matt Kenseth, third in '99 points.
Quotes: "I'd rather drink a bottle of laxative than go to Dover." -Car owner Felix Sabates.
"I'm not a barber, but I did stay at a Holiday Inn Express last night." -Tony Stewart, preparing to cut the lengthy locks of a photographer who lost a bet on Stewart's first Winston Cup victory."
"It's (Winston Cup racing) boring ... It's a homogenized sport where everybody looks the same, does the same, talks the same, and gives the same answers." -Kyle Petty.
"I just wanted to rattle his cage a little bit." -Dale Earnhardt, after bumping leader Terry Labonte out of the way to win at Bristol.
Certain that no one saved last year's compilation, the '99 Bobfoolery is reprinted and the official Winston Cup standings offered for comparison and ridicule-at no charge.
It doesn't take an Einstein to figure out that Bobfoolery and the correct standings defy comparison. Typically, almost everything is wrong-a hallmark of Bobfoolery. Hey, wait, we say that out of habit. We did pick Jeff Burton to finish fifth and named five of the first six in the point standings, although the others are out of position. We can't fathom such accuracy any more than we can understand the Pokmon craze. We cheated runner-up Bobby Labonte four spots, gave Rusty Wallace six, and Terry Labonte four. The most glaring travesty was omitting Fourth-Place Tony Stewart from the top 20.
Other than Jeff Burton's fifth, Bob-foolery stumbled and bumbled. The remaining 19 are out of position and four-Bill Elliott, Chad Little, Ricky Rudd, and Johnny Benson-didn't make the official top 20. That resulted in snubbing Stewart, Steve Park, Wally Dallenbach, and Kenny Irwin. Ward Burton, 9th, and Mike Skinner, 10th, made Bobfoolery look like the NASA guys in charge of the Mars Polar Lander. Did Burton really say Bobfoolery couldn't pick his nose?
Among the 13 drivers Bobfoolery selected to win a race, four didn't. All win totals, save Jarrett's four and John Andretti's one, are incorrect.
Bobfoolery has no clinically tested system for arriving at the 2000 champion and attendants. We've tried everything over the years: gazing at a crystal ball filled with motor oil, flipping coins, drawing names from a hat, wearing dirty underwear, checking the astrological alignment of the stars and planets, and reading the horoscope. Nothing has worked. And there is no reason to believe 2000 will be any different.
A drum roll, please ... Bobfoolery chooses Mark Martin to celebrate the first championship of the new century, also his and Roush Racing's first. That's probably an automatic jinx. Martin, 41, is everybody's sentimental favorite after finishing in the top six for 11 straight years, including runner-up twice and third three times.
A showdown between Martin, healthy now, and Jeff Burton, his esteemed Roush Racing teammate, is anticipated. We warn, however, that all of Bobfoolery's top seven are deemed championship contenders, especially third-picked Bobby Labonte, Jarrett, and Stewart, whom we expect to cool a bit from 1999. Also, we're uncomfortable picking Jeff Gordon as low as sixth, but he has a new crew chief, Robbie Loomis, and there are simply too many questions surrounding his team.
|BOBFOOLERY 1999 |
|Driver ||Car ||Wins |
|1. J. Gordon ||#24 Chevy ||8 |
|2. R. Wallace ||#2 Ford ||4 |
|3. D. Jarrett ||#88 Ford ||4 |
|4. M. Martin ||#6 Ford ||5 |
|5. J. Burton ||#99 Ford ||3 |
|6. B. Labonte ||#18 Pontiac ||2 |
|7. J. Mayfield ||#12 Ford ||1 |
|8. T. Labonte ||#5 Chevy ||2 |
|9. B. hamilton ||#4 chevy ||1 |
|10. D. Earnhardt ||#3 Chevy ||1 |
|11. J. Andretti ||#43 Pontiac ||1 |
|12. K. Schrader ||#33 Chevy ||0 |
|13. S. Marlin ||#40 Chevy ||0 |
|14. B. Elliott ||#94 Ford ||0 |
|15. C. Little ||#97 Ford ||0 |
|16. R. Rudd ||#10 Ford ||1 |
|17. J. Spencer ||#23 Ford ||0 |
|18. J. Benson ||#26 Ford ||0 |
|19. M. Skinner ||#31 Chevy ||1 |
|20. W. Burton ||#22 Pontiac ||0 |
|OFFICIAL ’99 STANDINGS |
|Driver ||Points ||Wins |
|1. D. Jarrett ||5262 ||4 |
|2. B. Labonte ||5061 ||5 |
|3. M. Martin ||4943 ||2 |
|4. T. Stewart ||4774 ||3 |
|5. J. Burton ||4733 ||6 |
|6. J. Gordon ||4620 ||7 |
|7. D. Earnhardt ||4492 ||3 |
|8. R. Wallace ||4155 ||1 |
|9. W. Burton ||4062 ||0 |
|10. M. Skinner ||4003 ||0 |
|11. J. Mayfield ||3743 ||0 |
|12. T. Labonte ||3580 ||1 |
|13. B. Hamilton ||3564 ||0 |
|14. S. Park ||3481 ||0 |
|15. K. Schrader ||3479 ||0 |
|16. S. Marlin ||3397 ||0 |
|17. J. Andretti ||3394 ||1 |
|18. W. Dallenbach ||3367 ||0 |
|19. K. Irwin ||3338 ||0 |
|20. J. Spencer ||3312 ||0 |
|BOBFOOLERY 2000 |
|Driver ||Car ||Wins |
|1. M. Martin ||#6 Ford ||5 |
|2. J. Burton ||#99 Ford ||5 |
|3. B. Labonte ||#18 Pontiac ||4 |
|4. D. Jarrett ||#88 Ford ||4 |
|5. T. Stewart ||#20 Pontiac ||3 |
|6. J. Gordon ||#24 Chevy ||4 |
|7. D. Earnhardt ||#3 Chevy ||2 |
|8. W. Burton ||#22 Pontiac ||1 |
|9. R. Rudd ||#28 Ford ||2 |
|10. R. Wallace ||#2 Ford ||1 |
|11. T. Labonte ||#5 Chevy ||1 |
|12. M. Skinner ||#31 Chevy ||1 |
|13. J. Mayfield ||#12 Ford ||1 |
|14. S. Park ||#1 Chevy ||0 |
|15. S. Marlin ||#40 Chevy ||0 |
|16. J. Andretti ||#43 Pontiac ||0 |
|17. D. Earnhardt Jr. ||#8 Chevy ||0 |
|18. M. Kenseth ||#17 Ford ||0 |
|19. J. Spencer ||#23 Ford ||0 |
|20. B. Elliott ||#94 Ford ||0 |