New Braunfels Herald Zeitung (Newspaper) - April 3, 2005, New Braunfels, Texas
Page 4E — Herald-Zeitung — Sunday, April 3, 2005
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All times Eastern
Food City 500,
12:30 p.m., Sunday
Sharpie Professional 250, 2 p.m., Saturday
► lf you have a question or a comment, write: NASCAR This Week, c/o The Gaston Gazette, PO. Box 1893, Gastonia, NC 28053
I p.m.. April 9
CHM M AT f I
► They're not getting any older. Nineteen-year-old Reed Soren son, a product of Chip Ganassi's development program, dominated the Busch Series race at Nashville Superspeedway.
► How impressive was Sorenson's victory? “I can't remember any time when a field got beat that bad,” said second-place finisher Kenny Wallace. "It was merciless. ... I was hoping the kid would run out of gas.”
► Quote of the week comes from the third-place finisher, Shane Hmiel, who said of Sorenson: “He must be one heck of a driver. He’s so smart, lf I was 19. I'd run over somebody." Hmlel, by the way. is 24.
► NASCAR officials supposedly don't have any plans for holding a Nextel Cup race in Nashville. What a shame. It s a great fan destination. In terms of what the city offers the sport’s fans, it may be second only to Las Ve gas.
► Kudos to the Stock Car Racing Commission, which rescinded the suspensions handed down to crew chiefs Chad Knaus and Alan Gustafson. It's always re freshing when judges actually use judgment.
► NASCARs method of penalizing teams calls the sport’s integrity into question, lf something happened to a car in the normal course of racing, don't penalize the team, lf what happened was out and-out cheating, take the win away.
► So much for new rules benefit mg veteran drivers. The winners of the first four Nextel Cup races are, by age, 33, 35. 29 and 25. Of course, in this age. 25 35 may be the “veteran” class.
► Kurt Busch is going for four straight victories in Bristol Motor Speedway's spring race. He's won the August night race only once.
► Bristol, of course, could be one place where the veteran drivers make a stand. Rusty Wallace has won nine times there and is almost always a factor in the outcome.
1. Jimmie Johnson
Greg Bittie Carl Edwards Kurt Busch Mark Martin Ryan Newman
Tony Stewart 166
Elliott Sadler 198
Rusty Wallace 203
IO. Jamie McMurray 205
Martin Truex Jr.
Craftsman Truck Series
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Race: Food City 500 Where: Bristol (Tenn.) Motor Speedway (.533 miles), 500 laps/266.5 miles.
When: Sunday. April 3
Last year’s winner Kurt
Qualifying record: Ryan New man. Dodge, 128.709 mph, March 21, 2003.
Race record: Charlie
101.074 mph. July ll, 1971. Last week: Superman could n’t have plucked the Golden Corral 500 from the brink of disaster better than Carl Ed wards, who made up for three hours and 20 minutes of tedium with a dazzling fin ish that will go down in histo ry. Chevrolet driver Jimmie
Johnson and Ford’s Greg Bittie, winners of the previous two races, had turned the Atlanta Motor Speedway race into a private affair. Then along came Edwards, who had never won a Nextel Cup race and competed in only 17. At the white flag, John son led by three car lengths. Off turn two. Edwards had halved the margin. In turns three and four, he squeezed his Ford between Johnson and the wall. Between turn four and the finish line. Ed wards pulled alongside. The bumped ever so slightly. Somehow Edwards got the momen tum and slid by. The margin at the strip was .028 of a second, perhaps a foot.
Race: Sharpie Professional 250
Where: Bristol (Tenn.) Motor Speedway (.533 miles), 250 laps/133.25 miles.
When: Saturday. April 2 Last year's winner: Martin Truex Jr.
Qualifying record Greg Bif fie. Ford, 127.132 mph, March 26. 2004.
Race record: Harry Gant, Buick, 92.929 mph, April 4, 1992.
Last week: Reed Sorenson, in a Dodge, won the Pepsi 300 at Nashville Super speedway.
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Race: Kroger 250 Where: Martinsville (Va.) Speedway (.526 miles), 250 laps/131.5 miles.
When: Saturday. April 9 Last year’s winner: Rick Crawford
Qualifying record: Mike
Bliss. Ford, 94.275 mph, April 16. 1999.
Race record Jimmy Hensley, Dodge, 74.294 mph, April 17, 1999.
Last race: Ron Horr.aday, in a Chevrolet, won the World Financial Group 200 at At lanta Motor Speedway.
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Food City 5OO
Distance:..................533 mile oval
length of frontstretch:........650 ft.
Length of backstretch:........650 ft.
Miles/Laps:..266.5 mi. - 500 laps
No. 02 Copaxone Chevrolet
A tough ‘Kelly girl’
Sutton overcomes multiple sclerosis, female stereotypes
By Monte Dutton
NASCAR This Week
HAMPTON, Ga. — It’s not uncommon for a young woman blessed with the name Kelly to be dubbed “Kelly girl.”
If that moniker carries with it a certain connotation of “up and at ’em," then there is no woman more aptly nicknamed than Kelly Sutton. At age 16, doctors diagnosed Sutton with something called RRMS, which stands for “relapsing-remitting multiple sclerosis.” Suffice it to say that it’s not an ailment that would normally allow one to race in the Craftsman Truck Series.
In 1998, Sutton began taking a medication called Copaxone. She had already begun racing, but the medication enabled her to advance in two ways. First of all, the medication itself greatly aided her ability to lead a productive life in general. Secondly, the fact that she became quite a success story led Copaxone to come on board as a sponsor for her race cars, beginning in the Goody’s Dash Series.
What better spokesperson could a product have than an embodiment of its benefits?
“I haven’t had a relapse in over six years,” said the driver of the No. 02 Copaxone Chevrolet.
A 17th-place finish in the season’s opening race at Daytona was a career best for Sutton. Her truck ran with the lead draft for most of the night, but a bad break — Sutton pitted just before a caution flag, losing a lap as a result — cost her a better showing.
Sutton says the support of other drivers in the series is “150 percent.”
“Earning the respect of all the other drivers is very important to me,” she added. “That would be true in any series. I don’t know why or how, but I’m just one of the guys. I’m a female and a mom, but when I put my helmet on, I’m just a driver. I ask the veterans for advice and help, and they couldn’t have been more cooperative.
“This is very difficult, very competitive. One of our goals is to make (the field for) every race. Last year we had a lot of DNFs (‘did not finish’). I hope this year we can complete 85 to 90 percent of the laps, which we didn’t do last year.”
Sutton tries to work out three times a week with a personal trainer. She
Special to NASCAR This Week
Kelly Sutton was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis at age 16. Now, with the aid of the drug Copaxone, she’s able to live a relatively symptom-free life and is able to compete in the Craftsman Truck Series
said fatigue is the only issue related to the disease that has an impact on her racing career.
“When I was diagnosed, my dream of racing kind of went downhill,” said Sutton, now 33. “I didn’t want to be around racing, really, but I wasn’t the kind of kid who said, ‘Dad, I want to go racing. Let’s go.’ I come from a modest home. My dad worked his butt off to support our family. But when
my dad asked me, I said, ‘Of course I do.’
“As much as I wanted it, I didn’t think I should ask him. If I’d had a lot of money, that would’ve been something else. Not having the money, I waited on him, and he helped me do what I always wanted to do.”
Contact Monte Dutton at [email protected]
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NASCAR vs. Dodge
Four races into the season, it seems that Dodge officials have concerns with the nose for the new Charger, which was approved in co operation with NASCAR officials last year. Supposedly the Charger's nose tends to suck up debris from the track, leading to overheating, and some drivers feel the car is a bit un stable in traffic.
NASCAR This Week's Monte Dutton gives his take: "Don't expect any changes, at least not for now. NASCAR's position is probably that it gave Dodge what it wanted and now Dodge has to live with it."
Earnhardt’s first win came on first try at Bristol
The late Dale Earnhardt won at Bristol Motor Speedway in his very first (then) Winston Cup race there, on April I, 1979. It was also the first of Earnhardt's 76 Cup victories. He was 28 years old and making his 16th start in NASCAR's premier divi sion. After starting ninth, he took the lead for the first time on lap 139 (of 500) and led the final 126. Earn hardt's final margin, over Bobby Allison, was approximately three sec onds. Darrell Waltrip finished third. Earnhardt went on to be named Rookie of the Year and won the first of his seven championships the following year.
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OUR HI Amirs
Gordon benefits from teammates most of all
Before you put pretty boy Jeff Gor don on the king’s throne, realize he drives for a car owner who has more than one car. He can use the others as blockers. It isn't about who's the better driver or who has the better, faster car.
"Pretty boy's” blocker is Jimmie Johnson. Earnhardt has Waltrip. The faster car will never win as long as he's getting blocked, that's a fact.
(Gordon) always cries when he’s pushed or bumped. But ifs all right for him to do the same. He'll never be a Richard Petty or Dale Earnhardt — he couldn't be a pimple on their butt, if you ask me.
This is what makes NASCAR unique among American sports.