Originally created 08/01/98

Brickyard notes: Florida to get race



INDIANAPOLIS -- Florida will be getting a third Winston Cup race in 1999, according to media reports and insiders.

The Miami Herald and Winston Cup Scene have reported that Miami-Dale Homestead Motorsports Complex will receive a race on either Nov. 7 or Nov. 14 that will be held in conjunction with the Busch Series finale.

NASCAR spokesmen Tim Sullivan confirmed Friday that there are ongoing talks between the sanctioning body and south Florida track, but he said nothing has been finalized.

Sources who didn't want to be named said the deal is done except for a few specifics.

There has been speculation for two years that Homestead would receive a race in 1999. The track is partially owned by International Speedway Corporation, which is majority owned by NASCAR president Bill France and his family.

Florida already is host to two Winston Cup points races -- the Daytona 500 in February and Pepsi 400 at Daytona in July. Georgia, Alabama and South Carolina each host two races annually.

The addition of Homestead would grow the schedule to 34 points races, two epecial races and one exhibition since no track is expected to lose a race next year. It wold also push the season finale at Atlanta Motor Speedway to Nov. 21.

Few changes are anticipated on the rest of the schedule, which should be released this month. The only firm date announced so far is the Prime Star 500 at Texas Motor Speedway March 28.

AMS officials have lobbied hard to have their "spring" race moved from early March to April or a summer month. But the '99 race is tentatively set for March 14, track spokesman Scott Anderson said by phone Friday. Anderson said track owner Bruton Smith would consider moving the race to night if it were to be scheduled during the summer.

BRICKYARD FIELD: Three of the seven drivers who attempted second-round qualifying for today's Brickyard 400 crashed. None of the three -- Derrike Cope, Gary Bradberry and Don Pardus -- were injured, and, of course, none made the race. Pardus lives in Daytona Beach.

Also missing the field was Indy 500 veteran Robby Gordon, who was making his first superspeedway appearance since his acrimonious split with car owner Felix Sabates last season. Gordon drove the No. 19 Yellow Freight Ford of Roehrig Motorsports, a fringe team that puts its strongest effort into the Craftsman Truck series.

Provisional starting position were assigned to Bill Elliott, Ted Musgrave, Johnny Benson, Brett Bodine, Jerry Nadeau, Rick Mast and Darrell Waltrip.

ETC., ETC.: Goodyear held a press conference Friday to promote its new NASCAR rain tire, which will be available for the road race at Watkins Glen next week. Driver Dale Jarrett is opposed to the use of a rain tire, going so far as to call it ridiculous. "I don't like driving on the highway in the rain,' he said. Racing legend Mario Andretti, who enjoyed much of his success on road courses, believes it's a positive step. "In road racing, you can put on a hell of show in the wet," he said. ... The Brickyard 400 will pay at least $66,530 to the last-place finisher. That's more than Lee Petty earned in all of 1959, when he won the inaugural Daytona 500, 10 other races, and the series title. ...

Only two drivers have completed have completed all 1,600 miles of Brickyard 400 competition, and neither is named Jeff Gordon. They are Bill Elliott and Ken Schrader. ... Jarrett was asked about the prospect of Chevy bringing out a new Monte Carlo next year that might be better than the Ford Taurus, and whether that might put Jeff Gordon in a different zone. "He's pretty much there now," Jarrett said. "The NBA doesn't stop Michael Jordan. Jeff's an exceptional talent with a really good team, and if they give him something better yet, that's gonna create a problem for us. But it's one we'll have to deal with." ...

Ford officials credit a 10-percent increase in Taurus sales this year to the fact the model is being raced in NASCAR. "We're seeing younger buyers come in," said Torrey Galida, Ford's global motorsports manager. ... Jarrett on whether he has ever wanted to run an Indy car at 230 mph: "I think when I was in my late 20s early 30s, yeah, that was something that really intrigued me. But not anymore. I've got four kids, a good wife, and a good ride here that I'll just be satisfied with going the speeds that we do."