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New Braunfels Herald Zeitung (Newspaper) - April 17, 2005, New Braunfels, Texas 24*^ Banking in turns I 4 ccEBasBLaassra Elliott won only All-Star race not in Charlotte Bill Elliott won the only edition of The Winston (now known as the Nex tel All Star Challenge) held a track other than Lowe's Motor Speedway. It was on Mother's Day weekend, 1986, in Darlington, and while Elliott was im pressive, the crowd wasn't. NASCAR never scheduled another major race on that weekend until this season. Darlington’s Carolina Dodge Dealers 500 is scheduled for Saturday night, May 7. rnmmm Where are all the foreign cars In NASCAR? Why are there no Honda, Toyota or other foreign cars in the NASCAR circuit? I notice the Indy Racing League uses a lot of Hon da engines and (Honda) wins a lot of races. Robert E. Ware Carroll, Iowa Stay tuned. Toyota has been com peting in the Craftsman Truck Series for the past two seasons and is likely to join Nextel Cup within a few years. Defending Gordon not a difficult thing to do This letter is ... in regards to (a) letter in the March 30, 2005, edition of "NASCAR This Week.” For your information ... that is what teammates are for: to help their teammates when they don't have the car to win. "Pretty boy” Gordon (as you call him) does not cry nearly as much as some of the other drivers ... ... Because Gordon is such a good competitor, no one wants him to say a word about anything. But what he does say is always said in a nice ... professional manner. ... Juanita Enlow Hodgenville, Ky. Page 4E — Herald-Zeitung — Sunday, April 17, 2005 All times Eastern Nextel Cup    IMW Samsung/Radio Shack Ifffi.W 500, 12:30 p.m.. April 17 Buech Series    IfAM O’Reilly 300,    CSbI 2 p.m., Saturday ThwkSerlw____ Dodge Ram Tough 200, 2 p.m., April 30 ► Jeff Gordon's Martinsville victory was his sixth at the track, but more importantly, it was the 71st of his career. That leaves him five shy of the late Dale Earnhardt and sixth place all time. e Gordon was three laps behind early in the race and only took advantage of a free pass (NASCAR’s so-called lucky dog rule) once. » Teammates Tony Stewart and Bobby Labonte were both con tenders until they fell victim to attrition late in the race. Stewart led 247 laps, more than three times as many as anyone else. Gordon led only the final 36. * In both of Gordon's victories so far, Stewart led the most laps. Gordon became the season's first repeat winner. » Labonte won the Craftsman Truck Series race, and here s an amazing note: Not only has Labonte won races in all three of NASCAR's national touring se ries, but he's won races in all three series at Martinsville Speedway. * Gordon's victory was No. 133 for Hendrick Motorsports. and that total includes all 71 of Gor don's career victories. Gordon has produced six of Hendrick's 12 victories at Martinsville. » Gordon is 33 years old and will turn 34 in August. All six races so far have been won by drivers 34 and younger. * Ricky Rudd and Joe Nemechek produced their first top IO fin ishes of the year. ► Kasey Kahne still hasn't won a race, but Martinsville marked his sixth second place finish in two seasons of Nextel Cup racing. » Victories in the past two races have lifted Chevrolet to an eight point edge (48-40) over Ford in the manufacturer standings. Dodge has 26 points. CLttJPTiXTZUL MKH a Nextel Cup I. Jimmie Johnson 977 2. Greg Bittie - 160 3. Elliott Sadler - 182 4. Mark Martin - 198 5. Tony Stewart - 203 6. Jeff Gordon 205 7. Rusty Wallace - 206 8. Ryan Newman - 224 9. Hurt Busch - 231 IO. Dale Jarrett - 245 Busch Series I. Carl Edwards 1,106 2. Reed Sorenson -81 3. Clint Bowyer - 151 4. Kevin Harvick -231 8. Martin Truex Jr. - 242 6. Ashton Lewis -243 7. Kenny Wallace -271 8. Denny Hamlin -292 9. Shane Hmiel -357 IO. Jon Wood -380 Craftsman Truck Series I. Bobby Hamilton 525 2. Ted Musgrave -65 3. Ricky Craven -86 4. Jimmy Spencer -87 8. Ron Hornaday -103 8. Dennis Setzer - Ill 7. Matt Crafton -124 Johnny Benson -124 8. David Starr -136 IO. Robert Huffman - 147 ► lf you have a question or a comment, write: NASCAR This Week, c/o The Gaston Gazette, PO. Box 1893, Gastonia, NC 28053 TI ~-4zIt ai -4 SS. Race Samsung/Radio Shack 500 Where: Texas Motor Speed way, Justin (1.5 miles), 334 laps/501 miles. When: Sunday, April 17 Last year’s winner Elliott Sadler Qualifying record: Bill Elliott, Dodge, 194.224 mph, April 5, 2002. Race record Terry Labonte. Chevrolet, 144.276 mph, March 28. 1999. Last week Jeff Gordon be came the season’s first two time winner, capturing the Ad Vance Auto Parts 500 at Mar tmsville (Va.) Speedway by .593 of a second over Kasey Kahne. Kahne has never won THU ML TJD a Cup race but has now fin ished second six times. Gordon, in winning for the sixth time at Martinsville, led only the final 36 laps and chalked up career victory No. 71. Mark Martin finished third, Ryan Newman fourth and Rusty Wallace fifth. Points leader Jimmie Johnson fin ished eighth. Perhaps the only reason Gordon didn't dominate the Advance Auto Parts 500 from start to finish was the fact that he fell three laps down before some of the fans had settled into their seats. A vibration from a loose right front wheel sent Gordon limping to the pits on the 47th lap. Race: O'Reilly 300 Where Texas Motor Speed way, Justin (1.5 miles), 200 laps/300 miles. When: Saturday, April 16 Last year's winner Matt Kenseth Qualifying record Jeff Green, Chevrolet, 193.483 mph, April 5, 2002. Race record Mark Martin, Ford, 127.417 mph. March 27. 1999. Last race Kevin Harvick won the Sharpie Professional 250 at Bristol (Term.) Motor Speedway on April 2. Race Dodge Ram Tough 200 Where: Gateway International Raceway, Madison, III. (1.25 miles), 160 laps/200 miles. When: Saturday, April 30 Last year's winner: David Starr Qualifying record:    Jack Sprague, Chevrolet. 133.227 mph, 2004. Race record Jack Sprague, Chevrolet, 113.726 mph, May 7. 2000. Last race: Bobby Labonte, in a Chevrolet, won the Kroger 250 at Martinsville Speed way. •r -    '.'J    wr-mr—»-rT7~^c-p W'rr^‘wW"S* I hi fawn rn *■ » ~w- -    *    m rn rn USD Jeff Burton    No.    31    Cingular    Wireless    Chevrolet Samsung/RadloShack    Dickies 500 500 -April 17    Nov.    6 Waiting on a Win It’s been a long time - 118 races - since Burton’s last victory By Monte Dutton NASCAR This Week Jeff Gordon vs. Kurt Busch Gordon’s victory in Martinsville came a bit at Busch's expense, since the two clashed late in the race and the incident removed the Nextel Cup champion from contention. "We fin ished 19th, but that's the way it goes," said Busch. ‘ We ll bounce back from it.” Gordon replied: "The last thing I wanted was to intentional ly get into somebody. I would hope Ku-t would realize that ifs hard racing and ... ifs just us two racing for position." NASCAR This Week's Monte Dutton gives his take "Gordon had gotten his car under Busch's going into turn three, and when Busch dove into the corner, the two got together. Sure, maybe Gordon could've backed out, but backing out might have cost him a lot of ground late in the race. Ifs hard to assign blame. Alterca tions like this one are almost impos sible to avoid on a short track." Distance:....................1.5    mile oval Length of frontstretch: 2,250 ft. 50    Length of backstretch: 1,330 ft. ^tra.gms'1 Miles/Laps: 501 mi. - 334 laps MARTINSVILLE, Va. — Jeff Burton, a former Raybestos Rookie of the Year who has 17 career victories, hopes to return to the form that had him competing for championships just a few years ago. Now an established veteran, 37-year-old Burton moved from Roush Racing to Richard Childress Racing last season. According to teammate Kevin Harvick, Burton has been a constructive presence since joining the organization last summer. A span of 118 races has passed since Burton’s most recent victory, which occurred on Oct. 28, 2001, at Phoenix International Raceway. He finished 16th in the Advance Auto Parts 500 at Martinsville Speedway, which is only about an hour’s drive from Burton’s hometown, South Boston, Va. He has four top-20 finishes in the season’s first six races and ranks 22nd in the Nextel Cup points standings. Burton has seen the framework of stock-car racing change during his career, with a number of young drivers moving almost immediately into topnotch rides. “When you were a young driver in the past, you didn’t drive cars good enough to stand your ground,” he said. “The way you stood your ground was that you got the heck out of the way, because they were so much faster. Your team knew you didn’t have a good car; your sponsor knew you didn’t have a good car. When I was a rookie, they said, ‘Look, we know you’re not going to win, we don’t expect you to win, and if we can finish in the top 25 in points, it will be great.’ You earned respect in a different way. “You do have to come into this sport and earn respect. There’s a right way and wrong way to do that. ... The way you race and conduct yourself on the race track is what gains you respect. That’s what makes the veterans and the younger guys know what kind of driver you are, who you are and what you’re about. Ifs not about what you say.” Burton considers himself a student of the sport’s history. His older brother Ward, currently inactive, is a former Daytona 500 winner. Jeff talks with conviction when he speaks glowingly of the level of competition in the sport today. “I love the past of our sport,” he said, “but if you want to compare the racing and the competitiveness today versus 20 years ago, 20 years ago John Clark/NASCAR This Week Jeff Burton has won 17 races on NASCAR senior circuit, but his last victory was in 2001. doesn’t stand up. If you want to talk about how close the cars are and how competitive the cars are, if you put 43 cars at Bristol and separate them by three-lOths of a second, you’re going to have wrecks. There’s no way around it. “The drivers are responsible for those wrecks. Not a single race car caused a wreck at Bristol. Not one race car. Drivers caused those wrecks, but you get into such a mindset that when you get a fender up on a guy, you’d better pass him right now, because if you don’t pass him right now, it will be 30 laps from now before you get a chance to pass him. The cars are so competitive. There are no junk cars in there. They’re all good cars with good drivers, and that creates competitiveness on the track, and that creates close racing action, and that creates the wrecks.” Contact Monte Dutton at [email protected] Jeff Gordon Hurt Busch ;