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THE RACE: Mountain Dew Southern 500

Winston Cup Race #25 of 36 for the 2003 Winston Cup season
Updated: often, leading up to the race

  • Race: Sunday, August 31, 2003 in Darlington, SC

  • TV: NBC - 1:00pm/et

  • Pre-Race Show: NBC - 12:30pm/et - hosted by Bill Weber

  • Scheduled Race Re-Air: NOTE: Speed Channel has changed their lineup starting in August - so there will be a one-hour recap [called Fast Forward] of the race on Wednesday, September 3rd at 7:00pm/et and again on September 4th at 1:00am/et; a full three-hour race show will re-air at 12:00pm/et on Thursday, September 4th

  • Pay Per View/NASCAR In Demand:

  • Announcers: Allen Bestwick, Benny Parsons, Wally Dallenbach

  • Pit Reporters: Bill Weber, Matt Yocum, Marty Snider, Dave Burns

  • War Wagon: Bill Weber and many guests

  • NASCAR on TV

  • Purse/Race Awards: $4,695,345 (was $4,074,660 in 2002)

  • Entry List Links: at or Entry List for the race from

  • 2002 Race Winner: Jeff Gordon, 118.617mph, started 3rd

  • Track Race Record: Dale Earnhardt, Mar 1993, 139.958mph

  • Event Race Record: Jeff Gordon, Sept 1998, 139.031mph

  • Slowest Race Record: Fonty Flock, Sept 1952, 74.512mph

  • Oldest Winner: Harry Gant, 51 years, 7 months, 22 days, Sept 1991

  • Youngest Winner: Terry Labonte, 23 years, 9 months, 16 days, Sept 1980

  • Most Laps Led: Johnny Mantz, Sept 1950, 351 laps

  • Most Cautions: 15, March 1995

  • Most Caution Laps: 101, Sept 1974

  • Race Won from the Top 10: 88 of 100 [88%]

  • Race Won from the Top 15: 95 of 100 [95%]

  • Other Winning Starting Spots [5]: 23rd - 1; 31st -1; 37th - 2; 43rd - 1

  • Worst Starting Spot to Win: Johnny Mantz, Sept 1950, started 43rd [75 started, 3 abreast]

  • Track/Race Length: 1.366 egg-shaped oval, 367 laps, 501.3 miles

  • Pit Road Speed: 45mph


  • Practice: Friday, August 29th, 11:20am - 1:20pm/et; and Saturday, 10:30 - 11:15am/et

  • Happy Hour Practice: Saturday, August 30th, 12:10 - 12:55pm/et on TV-Speed Channel Live.


  • Qualifying Draw: Friday, August 29th, 10:20am/et

  • Qualifying Order: and/or

  • First Round Qualifying: 2 laps for positions 1-36, Friday, August 29th at 3:05pm/et, TV-Speed Channel live, re-air on Friday, August 29th at 9:30pm/et and Saturday, August 30th at 2:30am/et. And live via MRN radio/internet (link below) and XM Satellite - NASCAR Radio (Subscription Required).

  • NASCAR Online will have live lap-by-lap coverage of Cup qualifying via the web (NOTE: this is a paid subscription service).

  • Second-Round Qualifying: there is no longer a 2nd round of qualifying (since the 2001 season)

  • Race/Event Qualifying Record: Kenny Irwin Jr, September 1999, 170.970mph

  • Track Qualifying Record: Ward Burton, Mar 1996, 173.797mph

  • Last Year's Pole Sitter: none - rained out.

    Track Specs:
    Banking: Turns 1/2 - 25 degrees, width 79 ft; Turns 3/4 - 23 degrees, width 62 ft; Front - 3 degrees, Back - 2 degrees.
    Frontstretch 1,229 ft long, 90 ft wide;
    Backstretch - 1,229 ft long, 90 ft wide
    Pit Road: Length: 2,025 feet, Width: 46 feet
    Track Repaved in late 1995
    Grandstand Seating: 65,000

  • Track Homepage: Darlington Raceway

  • March's Race: see my 2003 March Darlington Race Info page

  • Last Year: see my 2002 August Darlington Race Info page


    Tire: Goodyear Eagle Speedway Radials

    Number of Tires Required:
    Winston Cup: Left - 1,300, Right - 1,300;
    Busch Series: Left - 500, Right - 500

    Tire Codes:
    Left - D-6340;
    Right - D-6342

    Tire Circumference:
    Left - 87.3 in.;
    Right - 88.6 in.

    Technical Inspection Inflation:
    Left Front - 26 psi; Left Rear - 26 psi;
    Right Front - 40 psi; Right Rear - 38 psi

    Minimum Recommended Inflation:
    Left Front - 20 psi; Left Rear - 20 psi;
    Right Front - 36 psi; Right Rear - 33 psi

    Estimated Pit Window: Every 62-66 laps, based on fuel mileage.

    Notes: This is the same combination of left- and right-side tires Goodyear has brought to Darlington since March 2001 . . . both the NASCAR Winston Cup and Busch Series will compete on the same tires this weekend . . . this is the second straight week and the sixth time this season Winston Cup teams have run on this combination . . . NASCAR tracks where teams have run these tires in 2003 are Rockingham (February 23), Las Vegas (March 2) and Darlington (March 16), and Bristol (March 23 and August 23) . . . as on all NASCAR ovals longer than one mile, teams are required to run inner liners in all four tire positions at Darlington . . . inner liner inflation should be 12-25 psi higher than that of the outer tire.

    Goodyear Quote -- Mark Keto, Lead Engineer, Stock Car Tire Development: "This particular tire set-up is perhaps the most versatile in the 2003 Goodyear lineup.. It is used at a high-speed, concrete short track (Bristol), a relatively new one-and-a-half-mile speedway (Las Vegas) and two older, more abrasive speedways (Rockingham and Darlington).. The rough track surface at Darlington causes a lot of wear on tires and results in significant time give-up over the course of a full fuel run.. Because of this, we will have four-tire stops throughout this weekend's races.. The top teams at Darlington will be those that have the best chassis set-ups and the drivers who best save their tires for late in a run."


  • The NASCAR Winston Cup Leader Bonus is $250,000 at Darlington for leading the points and winning the race (Sterling Marlin last won the award, $20,000 at Darlington on March 17, 2002). The $360,000 annual award is paid at $10,000 per race to the point leader at the end of each event if the driver is also the winner. The award increases by $10,000 each week the it goes unclaimed. If the point leader is not the race winner at the end of the year, the balance of the award is distributed among the top-10 finishers in the drivers point standings(8-23-2003)

  • 55 Races since...: Leader bonus has been won. It's been 55 races since the NASCAR Winston Cup points leader won a race and took home the NASCAR Winston Cup Leader Bonus. #17-Matt Kenseth leads the series points and has the only shot at claiming the bonus at Darlington. Should a driver win the bonus at Darlington would bypass the largest payout in the history of the program. #18-Bobby Labonte collected the biggest paycheck, $190,000, with a win at Indianapolis in 2000. The $10,000 bonus is available following every NASCAR Winston Cup Series race. If the point leader does not win the race, the bonus rolls over to the next week. Sterling Marlin last won the award, $20,000 at Darlington on March 17, 2002, it was NOT won by #15-Waltrip at Daytona, it rolled over to Rockingham.(8-23-2003)

  • MBNA Mid-Race Leader Bonus: is $45,000 at Darlington. The MBNA Mid-Race Leader Award is $10,000 to the Winston Cup driver who leads the race at midway. If the driver wins the race they receive a $5,000 bonus. If the MBNA Mid-Race Leader fails to win the race the $5,000 bonus rolls into the next week (Jeff Gordon last won the bonus, $25,000 + $10,000 at Martinsville on Apr 13, 2003). No word on if a driver gets the award if the halfway is under yellow at the time or if the award is given out if the leader is not participating in the program and if it would go to the next place car at the time. The 2003 MBNA Mid-Race Leader Winners:
    Daytona: Michael Waltrip, $15,000* (plus $5,000 bonus)
    Rockingham: Rusty Wallace, $10,000
    Las Vegas: Dale Earnhardt Jr., $10,000
    Atlanta: Bobby Labonte, $25,000* (plus $15,000 bous)
    Darlington: Mark Martin, $10,000
    Bristol: Jimmy Spencer, $10,000
    Texas: Matt Kenseth, $10,000
    Talladega: Matt Kenseth, $10,000 (Jimmie Johnson led at halfway, assume the team does not participate in the program)
    Martinsville: Jeff Gordon, $35,000* (plus $25,000 bonus)
    California: Jamie McMurray, $10,000
    Richmond: Bobby Labonte, $10,000
    Charlotte: Bobby Labonte, $10,000
    Dover: Ryan Newman, $30,000 (which includes the $20,000 bonus)*
    Pocono: Elliott Sadler, $10,000
    Michigan: Sterling Marlin, $10,000
    Sonoma: Robby Gordon, $25,000 (which includes the $15,000 bonus)*
    Daytona: Dale Earnhardt Jr., $10,000
    Chicago: Jeff Gordon, $10,000
    New Hampshire: Kevin Harvick, $10,000
    Pocono: Tony Stewart, $10,000
    Indy: Tony Stewart, $10,000
    Watkins Glen: Dale Earnhardt Jr., $10,000
    Michigan: Jimmie Johnson, $10,000
    Bristol: Sterling Marlin, $10,000
    (* won race and bonus)(8-23-2003)


Radio Coverage:
Motor Racing Network(MRN) and

Satellite/Backhaul Listing's:
Satellite/Backhaul Listing's: Stutzman Computer Service/Sales - Racing Feed Locations

Scanner Frequencies:
are linked on my Scanner Freq/Equipment Links Page
Sponsored by Racing Electronics

Local Newspaper and other Sites that cover the Darlington, SC Area:
The State
The Myrtle Beach Sun News
Morning News Online
GoUpstate - Spartanburg Herald Journal
Charleston Post-Courier

Weather Forecast:
The Weather Channel
Accuweather - Current Radar
Intellicast - NASCAR weather
National Weather Service
Weather Underground

ARS Racing Outlet - Darlington Review
ARS Racing Outlet - Darlington review with pictures

any I know of are listed on my Driver Appearances/Chats page with info and links

TV Coverage/Info/News Pages:
Race Fan TV


news and links

  • WOW - Texas Terry wins the Southern 500! #5-Terry Labonte won the Mountain Dew Southern 500 at Darlington Raceway, his first win in 156 races [Texas in 1999] at age 46. Labonte stopped and asked for the checkered flag from the flagman, and took a lap around with it. Some of his crew climbed the fence on the frontstretch. #29-Kevin Harvick was 2nd for the third straight race in a row. The rest of the top five were #48-Jimmie Johnson, #42-Jamie McMurray and #9-Bill Elliott. Labonte has won the Southern 500 twice, his first career win on September 1, 1980 and today. It was Labonte's 22nd career win. All four Hendrick Motorsports teams have won a race this year [#24, #25 and #48]. The UNOFFICIAL Top Ten (start pos in parens), lap leaders, cars out, cautions and some notes:

    #5-Labonte (3) (33 laps led) THE WINNER
    #29-Harvick (18) (14 laps led)
    #48-Johnson (2) (17 laps led )
    #42-McMurray (17) (21 laps led)
    #9-Elliott (22)

    #19-Mayfield (15)
    #18-Labonte (5)
    #32-Craven (8)
    #38-Sadler (4)
    #16-Biffle (9) (70 laps led)

    Cars on the lead lap: 16 (of 43 starters)

    Off track/out of race (7): #43-Fittipaldi (out-accident); #74-Raines (out-accident); #02-Sadler (out-electrical); #10-Benson (out-accident); #49-Schrader (out-accident); #37-Cope (out-?); #31-Gordon (out-accident);

    Laps Leaders Unofficial (12 with 24 lead changes): #12-Newman (120 laps led, led halfway); #7-Spencer (1); #17-Kenseth; #99-Burton; #48-Johnson; #29-Harvick; #45-Petty; #16-Biffle; #4-Lepage; #21-Rudd(1); #42-McMurray; #5-Labonte;

    Cautions: 10 for 55 laps

    Caution 10 - Laps 333 - 337: #31-Gordon had a flat and smacked the right side, then spun a bit coming into the pits.
    Caution 9 - Laps 311 - 315: Debris on the track.
    Caution 8 - Laps 274 - 278: #23-Wallace lost something off the car, debris on the track.
    Caution 7 - Laps 239 - 246: #49-Schrader hit the wall after his hood opened up, a lot of damage.
    Caution 6 - Laps 227 - 232: #25-Nemechek got tapped by #7-Spencer and got loose and spun and slid down the backstretch and flattened the tires.
    Caution 5 - Laps 167 - 175: Six cars in a wreck after #24-Gordon and #41-Mears got together, causing the #24 to spin and three other cars stacked up with those two, #49-Schrader, #10-Benson and #77-Blaney, plus #23-Wallace, tried to go low to avoid Gordon and clipped Gordon's nose.
    Caution 4 - Laps 148 - 153: Debris on the track, metal on the groove between turn 1 and 2.
    Caution 3 - Laps 100 - 103: #01-Skinner lost a tire or something broke and smacked the wall hard, drove off to the garage.
    Caution 2 - Laps 71 - 76: Debris on the track.
    Caution 1 - Laps 5 - 13: A pretty large wreck with six cars involved in turn 4, #43-Fittipaldi, #0-Leffler, #74-Raines, #2-Wallace, #74-Raines and #88-Jarrett. Interviews with drivers seem to indicate the #43 and #0 got together.

    RACE NOTES: (as noted on TV or MRN Radio)
    On lap 353, #40-Marlin smacked the wall but was able to make it to the pits/garage with no caution.
    #31-Gordon had more problems and came back into the pits on lap 341. #12-Newman got very loose and almost smacked the wall but recovered, the car is very loose.
    During the 10th caution and Robby Gordon's pitstop, he sped down pit road and had to come back in for a penalty.
    Around lap 327, 316-Biffle, who was in 5th, slowed dramatically and fell back a few spots, then regained speed and seemed ok.
    #16-Biffle is reporting that his clutch is not working as of lap 310.
    MRN reports that #45-Petty is possibly having engine problems and the engine sounds weird. Down a cylinder.
    As of lap 242, #21-Rudd has no power steering.
    After the 6th Caution stop, #12-Newman stalled after hitting the kill switch and the team tried to push it and get it restarted, but ran out of room, tried multiple times, finally got started and back on the track, many laps down. He came into the pits leading the race.
    #24-Gordon us back on the track after the team made repairs from the caution 5 wrack.
    #15-Waltrip, slowing for the wreck, got slighly hit in the rear by #48-Johnson, who slammed on the brakes while heading to take the yellow flag. #8-Earnhardt Jr. was on the outside of Waltrip and Johnson had no place to go.
    #97-Busch had a flat tire on lap 164 and had to pit.
    #8 came back out on lap 163.
    #42-McMurray and #97-Busch got together, but both recovered and drove on.
    Just before the green flag was gonna be dropped after caution 4, #8-Earnhardt Jr. stopped on the track, supposedly has a gear problem.
    Everyone on the lead lap in during the 4th caution to pit and get those new tires.
    On lap 108 while leading, #17-Kenseth slapped the wall and got a Darlington Stripe, fell back a few spots and is now up to speed.
    As of lap 100, #88-Jarett, #2-Wallace and #15-Waltrip are back on the track, many laps down.
    On the caution 1 restart, #24-Gordon checked up when cars in front of him slowed and #6-Martin rear-ended him hard, lots of damage to the hood and nose of the #6. Other cars had problem too, #40-Marlin also got into someone and has a broken radiator.
    Just about everyone on the lead lap came in to pit during the first caution.

    To the back:
    so far only two drivers will have to go to the rear of the field before the drop of the green flag on Sunday at Darlington Raceway: #7-Jimmy Spencer who wrecked in qualifying; and per, #19-Jeremy Mayfield [was to start 15th] slapped the wall during his qualifying lap and the team decided to go to a backup car.(
    #40-Marlin had engine problems, similar to MIS, and may have to change engines, but after running about halfway, the problem went away, so the team will probably not have to change engines.
    Also add #88-Jarrett and #37-Cope due to engine changes, NBC pre-race coverage.(8-30/21-2003)
    No for Mayfield: FSN's NASCAR This Morning reports that the #19 team was able to repair the #19 Mountain Dew Dodge and Mayfield will NOT go to a backup car.(8-31-2003)

    Race Re-air: NOTE: Speed Channel has changed their lineup starting in August - so there will be a one-hour recap [called Fast Forward] of the race on Wednesday, September 3rd at 7:00pm/et and again on September 4th at 1:00am/et; a full three-hour race show will re-air at 12:00pm/et on Thursday, September 4th

    Race Results at
    Jayski's Darlington Results

  • TOP FIVE [unofficial] DRIVERS POINTS after Darlington:
    #17-Matt Kenseth, 3718
    #8-Dale Earnhardt Jr., 3329, -389
    #29-Kevin Harvick, 3303, -415
    #48-Jimmie Johnson, 3233, -485
    #24-Jeff Gordon, 3127, -591
    See full standings at Drivers/ Owners Points (after Darlington), or

  • StockCarFans.Com - Rumblings - Darlington: Score one for the Old Guys!!! Sure, we were wondering if Terry was gonna win another one before he got his AARP card, but after today he's just another young gun. Texas Terry led the final 33 laps at Darlington Raceway to capture his second Mountain Dew Southern 500 (he won here way back in 1980) and 22nd career victory. He's now in sole possession of 25th place on the all-time win list (breaking a tie with Benny Parsons, btw) and snaps a 156 race losing streak. Terry's last win was at Texas Motor Speedway in March of 1999!
    This was win #114 for Hendrick Motorsports, and marks the 16th different winner this season.
    Kevin Harvick was the bridesmaid again....thats three in a row and four out of the last seven races he's claimed that spot.
    Jeremy Mayfield (6th) had his best finish since he was 5th at Richmond in May of 2002!
    Bobby Labonte (7th) had his best finish since he was 5th at Daytona in July.
    Elliott Sadler (9th) had his best finish since he was 9th at Chicagoland in July.
    Kevin Lepage (15th) had his best finish since he was 10th at Talladega in October of 2001! (only 12 races)
    Jeff Green (18th....and unemployed) had his best finish since he was 16th at Chicagoland in July.
    STREAKIN....Kevin Harvick has 5 Top-5's in a row.
    The Rookie Report: Jamie McMurray (4th) captures this honor for the 11th time this season (he's the leader of the pack). He was followed by Greg Biffle (10th), Casey Mears (35th), and Tony Raines (42nd). Larry Foyt was a DNQ this week. For a long time there today it looked like we could have another rookie winner....both McMurray and Biffle had strong cars this afternoon.
    This Week's Elevator...UP: The Operator of the Week is a lonely Kevin Lepage (+26). DOWN: The Big Dropper was Johnny Benson (-29), followed by Mark Martin (-26), Ryan Newman (-22), Dave Blaney (-20), and Christian Fittipaldi (-20). Certainly was a down day in the "shaft".
    Kevin Lepage led today for the first time since he led once for 3 laps at Atlanta in November of 2001! He's the 43rd different driver to lead a lap this season....last year's number was 46.
    Matt Kenseth's still got it on cruise control. He tacked another 38 points onto his lead over Dale Earnhardt's now 389. His "Magic Number" grew as's at 6 vs Little E as well as Kevin Harvick. Bill Elliott gained 3 spots (17th to 14th) while Ward Burton lost 4 spots (18th to 22nd) as they were the big movers in the points today.(StockCarFans.Com Wcup Newsletter)(8-31-2003)

    Jayski's Southern 500 Qualifying / Starting Grid page

  • Happy Hour practice is over at Darlington Raceway for the Southern 500. Fastest: #40-Marlin at 164.101mph and #25-Nemechek at 164.084, rest of the top 10 are #'s: 88,12,17,24,19,6,48,77. Slowest were #37-Cope at 151.027 and #45-Petty at 157.585. #02-Hermie Sadler didn't practice.
    See speeds at or

  • Saturday AM Practice at Darlington Raceway is over, fastest: #48-Johnson at 164.821mph and #17-Kenseth at 164.584, rest of the top 10: #'s 8,77,40,6,88,12,25,24. Slowest were #37-Cope at 156.821 and #02-Sadler at 157.762. No word on any incidents.
    See speeds at or - practice 2.(8-30-2003)

  • Newman once again wins the pole: #12-Ryan Newman won the pole at Darlington Raceway for the Mountain Dew Southern 500 with a speed of 169.048mph, his 6th Bud Pole of 2003 and his 13th of his 69 race career. #48-Jimmie Johnson is on the outside pole with a speed of 168.862. #5-Terry Labonte will start 3rd, nice run. Missing the race was #50-Larry Foyt. #43-Christian Fittipaldi, the onlt team who WAS out of provisionals, qualified 23rd. Three teams used up their last provisional until Martinsville, #49-Ken Schrader and #4-Kevin Lepage [that is unless only 43 or less teams show up to qualify at a race before]. #37-Derrike Cope is now out of provisionals until he attempts his 24th race [he has attempted 18].
    Re-Air: qualifying will re-air on Speed Channel at 9:30pm/et and on Sat. August 30th at 2:30am/et.
    See my Jayski's Southern 500 Qualifying / Grid / info page for the unofficial lineup, compare with practice speeds, provisional rank, who used provisionals and missed, and other starting lineup links.(8-29-2003)

  • - Ramblings - Darlington: The incredible pole machine that is Ryan Newman continued to roll this afternoon at Darlington Raceway. Ryan captured the Bud Pole for Sunday's Mountain Dew Southern 500 (the final Labor Day edition) with a time of 24.090 (169.048 mph)....besting Jimmie Johnson for his 6th pole of the year and 13th of his career.
    Newman's pole percentage is now at .188 (13 poles in 69 events)....not too shabby.
    Terry Labonte (3rd) has his best starting spot since he had the pole at Richmond in May.
    Ricky Craven (8th) has his best starting spot since he lined up 6th at Rockingham in February.
    Johnny Benson (11th) has his best starting spot since he lined up 10th at Lowe's Motor Speedway in May.
    STREAKIN....Bobby Labonte has 6 Top-10 starts in the last 7 races. Ryan Newman has 5 Top-10 starts in the last 6 races.
    Only 44 cars this week....the Trouble Train is a lonely one for #50-Larry Foyt. He can take solace in the fact he was quicker than all the provisional- seekers, however.
    The provisional picture looks like this: Michael Waltrip uses his first [actually his third, he also used one at Texas and Richmond] of the season (and it's the lone non-charged one this weekend). Jimmy Spencer (Busch's Best Buddy is Back!!!), Ken Schrader, Kyle Petty, Kevin Lepage, Derrike Cope, and Hermie Sadler all used charged provisionals. Schrader, Petty, Lepage, and Cope (the #49, #45, #4, and #37 cars) join the #43 of Christian Fittipaldi on the OOP list (Out Of Provisionals). With the exception of the #37 of Cope, the aforementioned other four drivers will receive their next provisional at Martinsville in October (race 32). For Cope, he's only made 18 attempts this season.....his schedule will dictate when he gets another freebie. He'll receive that one when he attempts his 24th race.
    Gonna be kind of sad this weekend. Labor Day and Darlington have been together since Johnny Mantz steered his Plymouth around this old joint in 1950. When you look down the list of winners at the Track Too Tough to Tame it reads like a who's who of our sport. California is nice, but you just don't build tradition in 7 years....and tradition used to be worth something.(StockCarFans.Com Winston Cup Newsletter)(8-29-2003)

  • Practice is over at Darlington Raceway for the Southern 500. The fastest: #17-Matt Kenseth at 168.319mph and #19-Jeremy Mayfield at 168.158, the rest of the top 10: #'s 16,48,12,29,24,7,5,10. Slowest were:#02-Sadler at 157.017 and #37-Cope at 161.085. Track records look safe as it is 173.797mph [March 1996 by Ward Burton], event record is from 1999, 170.970 by the late Kenny Irwin Jr.
    For speeds see - practice 1.(8-29-2003)

  • Qualifying Order links are up. 44 cars/drivers for 43 spots. First driver due out is #29-Kevin Harvick, last due out is #2-Rusty Wallace. See the links above.(8-29-2003)

  • Entry List UPDATE 2 - now 44: link is up for the Mountain Dew Southern 500 at Darlington Raceway. On 43 cars/drivers are listed on the Entry List for the race, the 42 full time teams and #37-Derrike Cope. #11-Brett Bodine was supposed to enter and name his new sponsor, so that may take it up a notch later in the week. For the link(s), see above.(8-26-2003)
    UPDATE: been told #11-Brett Bodine will not be entering or racing at Darlington. If the count stays at 43, no team will be charged to use a provisional, teams without one can use one.(8-27-2003)
    UPDATE 2: #02-Hermie Sadler has been added to the entry list, so that makes it 44 cars and provisionals could come into play now, as #43-Christian Fittipaldi is out of provisonals, and Sadler has more attempts the Larry Foyt does in the #50 car.(8-28-2003)

  • Top 10 Championship Comebacks: see the whole list compiled by NASCAR on PAGE 2 of the News or my Stats and Stats Links page

  • Best 25 Over Last Six Races from

  • Jayski's - 2003 Winston Cup Race Results Page

  • How to Calculate Track Speeds: use the formula Speed = Distance divided by Time. Distance is Track Length, and Lap Time into Hours. Once hour is 3600 seconds, so the calculation for a 48 second lap at Daytona(2.5 miles) would be: Speed = 2.5 x (3600/48), = 2.5 x 75 = 187.500mph. For a 19 second lap at Bristol(.533 miles): Speed = .533 x (3600/19), = .533 x 189.474 = a speed of 100.990mph

  • How to break a tie during qualifying?(same speed/time) When drivers are tied for a starting spot during qualifying, it is broken by owners points standings(not drivers). For provisionals standings see the Jayski's Provisional Status page


    • just curious so. . .weather info for Darlington, SC in Aug/Sept compared to Nov (1972-2000):
      August: Ave High Temp = 88.9F; Low = 69.8F; Precip = 5.35"
      September: Ave High Temp = 84.4F; Low = 64.3F; Precip = 4.11"
      November: Ave High Temp = 67.4F; Low = 43.7F; Precip = 2.91"
      So the weather in November sure looks a lot better for the Southern 500 then in late Aug/early Sept.

    • Could Be Record Crowd at Darlington: Darlington Raceway Track president Andrew Gurtis on Thursday stopped just short of saying the Southern 500 will be sold out for the first time since before the track was expanded to about 60,000 seats in 1998. "I can say without question we'll have the largest attendance in Darlington Raceway history by a few thousand," Gurtis said. Gurtis would not say how many tickets had been sold for this weekend's race, and he wouldn't put a hard number on past attendance. In the past, Darlington crowds have reached an estimated 75,000, including infield tickets and grandstand seats.(The State)(8-29-2003)

    • Parade: The following National Motorsports Press Association (NMPA) Hall of Fame members are scheduled to participate in the Mountain Dew Southern 500 parade, to be held in downtown Darlington [SC] on Saturday morning, August 30: Sam Ard; Jerry Cook; Ned Jarrett; Jack Ingram; Dale Inman; and all-time Darlington Raceawy champion David Pearson. The parade, a 50-year tradition in Darlington, will begin at 10:00am/et.(Darlington Raceway {PR)(8-29-2003)

    • Free Shuttle Service at Darlington: Sunday morning, August 31 at Darlington Raceway is stuffed as full as a holiday turkey with pre-race activities for the 54th running of the Mountain Dew Southern 500. You won't want to miss anything, so why worry about fighting the traffic? The Pee Dee Regional Transportation Authority (PDRTA) is offering free shuttle service to and from Darlington Raceway for the Mountain Dew Southern 500. Fans wishing to take advantage of this service have two options “ be picked up, or park and ride. Pickups will be available at various hotels in the area beginning at 8:15 a.m. on August 31. Hotels on Highway 52 which offer shuttle pickup service include Holiday Inn and Suites; Motel 6; Guesthouse Inn; Comfort Inn; Econo Lodge; Microtel; Country Inn and Suites; Ramada Inn; and Sleep Inn. The following hotels on David McLeod Blvd will also have shuttle pickup service:. Fairfield Inn; Red Roof Inn; and Affordable Suites. The park-and-ride shuttle service will also begin at 8:15 a.m. Departure point in Florence is the Florence Civic Center, located at the intersection of I-95 and I-20. Both the park-and-ride and hotel pickup shuttles are free. Return service from the track will begin immediately following the conclusion of the Mountain Dew Southern 500. For more information contact PDRTA at 843.665.2227.(Darlington Raceway PR)(8-28-2003)

    • SI to feature Darlington: Sports Illustrated will make a stop at this weekend's Southern 500 festivities. The magazine, which is celebrating its 50th anniversary, is visiting one sporting event in 25 different states and will feature that event in an upcoming issue. The issue featuring Darlington Raceway will hit newsstands Sept. 8.(Morning News)(8-26-2003)

    • Southern 500 Program: A 54-year tradition ends in 2003 with the final Labor Day weekend running of the legendary Mountain Dew Southern 500 at Darlington Raceway, which moves to November in 2004. The first superspeedway stock car race, this historic event quickly became the NASCAR Winston Cup Series standard. Only the top drivers can succeed on the track “Too Tough to Tame.” The 2003 Mountain Dew Southern 500 Event Program will feature this on their cover, more at the Darlington Raceway site.(8-26-2003)

    • Smashmouth Concert at Darlington: Smash Mouth will bring a carefree, fun-in-the-sun attitude to Darlington Raceway on Sunday, August 31. The band will perform a pre-race concert on the track's start/finish line at approximately 11:30a,/et, prior to the 54th running of the Mountain Dew Southern 500. Smash Mouth will return to the stage to open NBC's pre-race broadcast at 12:30pm/et with a live performance of their current hit single, "You Are My Number One," from the band's latest CD, Get the Picture?. Smash Mouth's performance is included in the price of a race ticket to the Mountain Dew Southern 500. For more information on upcoming events at Darlington Raceway, including The Pantry Pole Day on Friday, August 29, the Winn-Dixie 200 presented by PepsiCo NASCAR Busch Series race on Saturday, August 30, and the final Labor Day running of the legendary Mountain Dew Southern 500 on Sunday, August 31, contact the Raceway ticket hotline at (843) 395-8499, or visit

    • Winn Dixie to sponsor Busch race at Darlington: Winn-Dixie and PepsiCo will jointly sponsor the August 30, 2003 NASCAR Busch Series event at Darlington Raceway. The race will be called "The Winn-Dixie 200 presented by PepsiCo." PepsiCo's major brand families include Gatorade, Pepsi-cola, Tropicana, Frito-Lay and Quaker. The company has sponsored the Mountain Dew Southern 500 at Darlington Raceway since 1992. Gatorade, sponsor of the fall 2002 NASCAR Busch Series race at Darlington, the Gatorade 200, recently expanded their long-time relationship with the track to include naming rights to the track's most coveted parking spot. Gatorade Victory Lane made its Darlington debut during the spring 2003 race weekend.(Darlington Raceway PR)(8-25-2003)

    • Special Pole Ticket for Darlington: The collectible pole day ticket for the final Labor Day running of the Mountain Dew Southern 500 features two great Darlington champions with a common bond, Cale Yarborough and Jeff Gordon. When South Carolina native Cale Yarborough won an unprecedented fifth Mountain Dew Southern 500 in 1982, many thought it was a feat that would never be duplicated. The record stood for 20 years. Then, in 2002, Jeff Gordon took the checkers to earn his fifth win in NASCAR's most historic race. The most successful active driver on the Winston Cup Series circuit and the only driver to ever win four consecutive Mountain Dew Southern 500's. Eight years ago, in March of 1995, the first collectible ticket produced for pole day at Darlington Raceway featured the track's all-time winner, David Pearson. The first collectible ticket available for the Mountain Dew Southern 500 weekend, in September of that same year, showcased Yarborough. Now in its 18th version, Yarborough is once again the focal point of the pole day collectible, along with the man whose eye is set on breaking his record, Jeff Gordon. For more information on upcoming events at Darlington Raceway, including The Pantry Pole Day on Friday, August 29, the South Carolina 200 NASCAR Busch Series race on Saturday, August 30, and the 54th running of the Mountain Dew Southern 500 on Sunday, August 31, call the Raceway ticket hotline at 843.395.8499, or visit

    • Lights slowly going up at Darlington: Stakes around Darlington Raceway denote the locations of 74 light poles that will eventually encircle the track. Gurtis said officials from Musco Lighting are already on site doing preliminary work, although the heavy infrastructure work will wait until the summer of 2004.(Charleston Post and Courier)(8-24-2003)

    • Lights at Darlington UPDATE: Track officials are expected to formally announce on Thursday that Darlington Raceway will install a facility lighting system for next season. The system is expected to be in place and ready for testing by early fall 2004. No information is currently available regarding specific events to be run under the lights at Darlington. NASCAR is expected to release its 2004 event schedules later this month.(Darlington Raceway PR)(8-6-2003)
      UPDATE: Darlington Raceway is expected to be equipped for night racing by fall 2004, track officials announced today. Specific event information will be forthcoming, pending NASCAR's release of its 2004 event schedules later this month. "The addition of lights dramatically expands the flexibility of our facility," said Andrew Gurtis, president of Darlington Raceway. "Inclement weather becomes less of an issue, and television audiences as well as ticket buyers are certainly always receptive to prime time racing, regardless of the event. We fully expect the first race run under the lights at Darlington to be one of the most exciting spectacles of the 2004 season." Darlington will host two race weekends next year, in March and November. Track officials estimate the lighting system will be installed and ready for testing in early fall 2004. The announcement comes on the heels of the grand re-opening of the Darlington Raceway Stock Car Museum and National Motorsports Press Association (NMPA) Hall of Fame. Both attractions were opened to the public in July following a major renovation and expansion project, including the addition of several new motorsports exhibits. "We are very excited about Darlington's ˜bright" future, and about International Speedway Corporation's continued commitment to this venerable track and its place in both the past and the future of stock car racing," Gurtis said. For more information about upcoming events at Darlington Raceway, including the final Labor Day weekend running of the legendary Mountain Dew Southern 500, August 29-31, contact the Raceway ticket hotline at (843) 395-8499, or log onto Raceway PR)

    • Special Commemorative Ticket for final Labor Day Southern 500: No, it isn't the final autumn race weekend at Darlington, but it is the finale of one of racing's most long-standing traditions. The August 31, 2003 running of the Mountain Dew Southern 500 will mark the last time that legendary event is held on Labor Day weekend. The race will move to November in 2004. To commemorate this landmark day in the history of racing, Darlington Raceway has commissioned a special commemorative ticket for the final Labor Day weekend running of the Mountain Dew Southern 500. Designed by graphic artist John O. Holmberg, the ticket pays homage to Darlington Raceway's past, and to its present. The sepia-toned background features an action shot from the inaugural Mountain Dew Southern 500 in 1950. An array of photos at the top showcases winners through the decades, from Johnny Mantz to Buck Baker to Dale Earnhardt to Jeff Gordon, and includes the slogan, "An American racing tradition since 1950." People often save their tickets from significant sporting events," said Darlington Raceway president Andrew Gurtis. "We wanted to give fans attending the final Labor Day running of this very special race a piece of memorabilia they can take home and treasure for years. Someday, fans can show this ticket to their children and say, ˜I was there." Every 2003 Mountain Dew Southern 500 ticket purchaser will receive the commemorative ticket. For information on upcoming events at Darlington Raceway, including the Mountain Dew Southern 500 weekend, August 29-31, 2003, contact the Raceway ticket hotline at 843.395.8499, or log onto Raceway PR)(7-25-2003)

    • True Music Competition 2003: Budweiser, Cumulus Broadcasting to sponsor statewide music competition at Darlington Raceway. You’ve started a band, practiced long and hard, and now your dream is to have the chance to play for thousands of enthusiastic fans during a race weekend at Darlington. A unique new promotion could make that possible. More info at the Darlington Raceway site: True Music Competition 2003 and Complete Rules.(7-21-2003)

    • Southern 500 Grand Marshal: On Sunday, August 31, Admiral Vern Clark, the Chief of Naval Operations for the United States Navy, will serve as Grand Marshal and will give the command to start engines for the final Labor Day weekend running of the Mountain Dew Southern 500 at Darlington Raceway. Born in Sioux City, Iowa, and raised in the midwestern states of Nebraska, Missouri and Illinois, Admiral Clark graduated from Evangel College and earned a Master's Degree of Business Administration (MBA) from the University of Arkansas. He attended Officer Candidate School and received his commission in August 1968. Admiral Clark has served as the Deputy and Chief of Staff, United States Atlantic Fleet; the Director of Operations (J3) and subsequently Director, of the Joint Staff. He became the 27th Chief of Naval Operations on July 21, 2000. Admiral Clark's personal decorations include the Defense Distinguished Service Medal (three awards), the Distinguished Service Medal (two awards), the Legion of Merit (three awards), the Defense Meritorious Service Medal, the Meritorious Service Medal (four awards), the Navy Commendation Medal, and various service and campaign awards. For more information on the legendary Mountain Dew Southern 500 weekend, August 29-31 at Darlington Raceway, contact the Raceway ticket hotline at 843.395.8499. (Darlington Raceway PR)(7-18-2003)

    • Darlington Raceway Stock Car Museum and NMPA Hall of Fame ribbon-cutting scheduled for July 9th: On Wednesday, July 9, Darlington Raceway will host an official grand opening and ribbon-cutting ceremony at the Darlington Raceway Stock Car Museum and National Motorsports Press Association (NMPA) Hall of Fame, located adjacent to the track on Hwy. 151 in Darlington, SC. The event will begin at 12:00noon/et. The Museum and Hall of Fame were closed for the month of June while undergoing significant expansion and renovation. The result can truly be described as a virtual transformation. While the popular exhibits formerly featured in the Museum remain “ including the Plymouth Johnny Mantz drove to victory in the inaugural Mountain Dew Southern 500 in 1950 and Bill Elliott's "Million Dollar Bird“ they have made room for some new neighbors. Mural-sized artwork on the walls guides visitors through the amazing story of racing's past, and carries them forward into the present. The NMPA Hall of Fame Theatre features state-of-the-art audio and video equipment, and a new film produced by the Motor Racing Network (MRN) and narrated by the familiar voice of award-winning broadcaster Eli Gold. New pylons and memorabilia have been added to the Hall of Fame, featuring recent inductees such as Dale Earnhardt, A.J. Foyt and Bill France, Jr. The Wednesday, July 9 ribbon-cutting is open to the public. Museum and Hall of Fame admission will be offered free of charge on that day, between the hours of 12:00noon and 2:00pm/et. For more information on the grand opening and ribbon-cutting ceremony for the Darlington Raceway Stock Car Museum and NMPA Hall of Fame on Wednesday, July 9, call (843) 395-8892.(Darlington Raceway PR)(7-3-2003)

    • Past track news: posted in the past at Jayski's Past Track News/Rumors - Darlington Raceway


    • Victory Lap tribute continues at Darlington: Only one driver in NASCAR Winston Cup history has won more than two consecutive series championships. That driver, Cale Yarborough, holds the record with three, capturing consecutive championships from 1976-78. On Sunday, Yarborough's achievement will be honored at Darlington Raceway as part of the Victory Lap tribute to longtime series sponsor R.J. Reynolds and the NASCAR Winston Cup era (1971-2003), prior to the start of the Mountain Dew Southern 500. Darlington is one of many tracks Yarborough ruled during his 31-year career. But it also happens to be the only NASCAR Winston Cup track just down the road from his Sardis, S.C. home. Growing up in his native South Carolina as a boy, Yarborough would sneak under the Darlington Raceway fence to catch a glimpse of the first heroes of the sport. It was there he became captivated by stock car racing and, later, earned his reputation as one of the greatest drivers to wheel around the 1.366-mile egg-shaped oval known as the track too tough to tame. But tame it he did, scoring five victories between 1968, his first Darlington win, and 1982, his fifth and final win. Fans of the sport will have a chance to salute Yarborough on Sunday, as he once again takes the wheel of the No. 11 car he helped make famous for a special Victory Lap around Darlington Raceway. It will be a fitting tribute to one of NASCAR's 50 Greatest Drivers and a three-time NASCAR Winston Cup champion.
      AND On Friday at Darlington Raceway, 1983 NASCAR Winston Cup champion Bobby Allison, long-time leader of the racing "Alabama Gang," will unveil a special "Victory Lap" tribute car honoring his NASCAR Winston Cup Series championship and four career victories at Talladega Superspeedway. Allison will be joined at an 11:00am/et press conference by Talladega Superspeedway President Grant Lynch for the unveiling, and will participate in pre-race festivities prior to the start of the EA Sports 500 at Talladega on Sept. 28.(NASCAR PR) - note: unless things change, I am told NBC/TNT will not cover the Victory Laps.(8-27-2003)

    • No Carrot Top on the #49 at Darlington or Atlanta: #49 driver Ken Schrader is revved up about the new 1 800 CALL ATT national consumer promotion. Indeed, it’s unique, a NASCAR fan will be the face on the hood of Schrader’s #49 1 800 CALL ATT Dodge in the Sunday, Oct. 26, race at Atlanta (Ga.) Motor Speedway. The face will belong to winner of a national consumer promotion that began Monday, August 25th. "Carrot Top is a nice guy but it will be nice to have somebody else looking back at me during the race," he laughed. Schrader’s 1 800 CALL ATT Dodge at Darlington, S.C., this weekend will carry a paint scheme announcing the promotion, with “Your Face Could Be Here” emblazoned on the hood. "I can’t think of a cooler deal than having your face on the hood of a NASCAR Winston Cup car in front of 150,000 fans," Schrader said. "Atlanta is a perfect place for it too. A Darlington or Bristol, well, it could put a few wrinkles in you." Every collect call made with 1 800 CALL ATT beginning August 25th and continuing through October 8th, is a chance for fans to be entered for the promotion. Other prizes include Ken Schrader autographed collectible cards. 1 800 CALL ATT for collect calls is AT&T’s automated service that lets you make collect calls from any phone. For more information about the service or the sweepstakes, visit Company PR)(8-27-2003)

    • Lepage in the #4 for Darlington: Morgan-McClure Motorsports announced Kevin Lepage as the driver for the upcoming Mountain Dew Southern 500 at Darlington Raceway. Tim Brewer will serve as crew chief. Lepage returns to the #4 Kodak Pontiac after driving for the Abingdon, Va.-based team for 21 races in 2001. The 41-year old Shelburne, Vermont-native has 131 career NASCAR Winston Cup starts to his credit with two top-fives, eight top-10s and one pole position. Lepage has seven starts at Darlington Raceway with four top-10 starting spots and three top-10 finishes. His best start at the famed 1.366 egg-shaped oval is an outside pole in the spring 2000 event. His best finish there is fifth in the 1999 fall race.(Morgan-McClure Motorsports PR)(8-25-2003)

    • See the 2003 Team Chart which has links to past news for each team and info on each team.


      Car#/Driver Sponsor/Scheme/Promo Race/Date Image?
      #17-Matt Kenseth Smirnoff Ice Triple Black Darlington - Aug
      Richmond - Sept
      Atlanta - Oct
      Car #'s 0-23 page
      #18-Bobby Labonte Advair (hood) Darlington - Aug
      Kansas - Oct
      Phoenix - Nov
      Car #'s 0-23 page
      #19-Jeremy Mayfield Mountain Dew Darlington - Aug Car #'s 0-23 page
      #32-Ricky Craven Give Kids the World/Tide Darlington - Aug none...yet
      #43-Christian Fittipaldi Cheerios Heart Health Bristol Cars #'s 24-99 page

    • Special Scheme for the #43, starting at Bristol: Christian Fittipaldi will be driving a special Cheerios Heart Health Dodge for the three races beginning with Saturday night's event at Bristol. The car is being used as the kickoff to a special consumer promotion by Cheerios Racing, which will bring a race fan closer to the sport than ever before.(Williams Company PR)
      AND A marriage proposal on the No. 43 car? It’s possible with a new sweepstakes announced today by Petty Enterprises and Cheerios Racing. To celebrate more than 60 years as a heart healthy breakfast favorite, the Cheerios #43 car is offering auto racing fans an opportunity to win space on the hood of the car as the official engine sponsor. The contest is called the “Tune Your Engine Sweepstakes.” The term “engine” is used analogously with “heart,” which serves as the body’s “engine.” Instant Winner Sweepstakes details are now featured on Cheerios boxes in grocery stores in the Southeastern and Southwestern United States. Each of the three Grand Prize winners will be awarded space on the car for their names, their sweetheart’s name, their kid’s name, the name of their favorite charity or whatever they choose that will fit in the space provided and is appropriate. The Cheerios No. 43 car will feature a new design to kick-off the sweepstakes. The design change will include a giant heart on the car’s hood and big red heart behind the “43” to replace the usual red oval. The new heart health Cheerios car design will be introduced to fans at the August 23 race in Bristol, Tenn. As official engine sponsors, the grand prize winners of the Tune Your Engine Sweepstakes will have their engine sponsorship decal appear on the car at races in the spring of 2004. The three total grand prize packages include a trip for two to a race in the spring of 2004 or autumn of 2004 (the complete sweepstakes details appear on Cheerios packages). Ten first prizes will include one of the engine’s pistons that has been used in an actual race and mounted in a display box. Fifty second prizes of an autographed 1:24 die cast No. 43 car are also included in the sweepstakes. Instant Winner Sweepstakes certificates will be placed inside specially marked Cheerios boxes or entries can be made without purchase through the mail (sweepstakes details appear on Cheerios packages).(8-21-2003)

    • Give Kids the World: Ricky Craven's #32 Tide Pontiac will run a special Give Kids the World paint scheme at Darlington Raceway's Southern 500 on August 31st.(PR), more info on my Racing Charities page about this.(7-31-2003)

    • New Assoc for Gibbs UPDATE: Joe Gibbs Racing has signed a deal with GlaxoSmithKline, which makes Advair, an asthma maintenance treatment, an associate sponsor on the team's #18 and #20 cars. Driver Bobby Labonte, who has asthma, will be a spokesman for the program and will encourage fans to visit an educational trailer to be located trackside at NASCAR events.(
      UPDATE: Bobby Labonte's car will switch from green to purple for the Food City 500 at Bristol next month. The color-scheme change is being used to promote Advair, an asthma treatment that Labonte has started using. Labonte's primary sponsor, Interstate Batteries, is taking its name off the car for that race to let him promote the medication. "It's helping me get off the quick-relief (inhalers)," Labonte said of Advair. "I was racing a car at Martinsville, Va., and saw a guy beside me that had quick-relief taped to his helmet in case he had to use it. I thought, 'Oh, my gosh, that guy's got it worse than I do.'" Part of Advair's season-long promotion includes testing for lung problems at most of the race tracks. Stan Hull, a representative of GlaxoSmithKline, which makes the product, said that more than 1,400 people underwent lung testing during Speed Weeks.(Fayetteville Observer) AND the #18 Chevy will also have Advair on the hood for the races at Rockingham, Atlanta, The Winston, Dover, Chicago, Pocono, Darlington, Kansas and Phoenix. See images of both schemes on on the 2003 Cup page.(2-22-2003)

    • #19 and Mountain Dew: the #19 Dodge Dealers Dodge will once again run a Mountian Dew scheme at the Mountain Dew Souther 500 at Darlington Raceway on August 31st.(1-31-2003)

    • Rusty and Harley ride again in 2003 UPDATE 2 um..nope: hearing #2-Rusty Wallace will run a Harley Davidson scheme in 2003, a 100th Anniversary scheme, not sure where...yet.(12-18-2002)
      UPDATE: hearing the scheme will run at the Brickyard 400 in Indy.(12-19-2002)
      UPDATE 2: been told that Rusty Wallace will NOT be driving a Harley 100th paint scheme in 2003.(1-27-2003)

    • Kenseth and Smirnoff Ice? UPDATE: hearing #17-Matt Kenseth will race either 8 Cup or 8 BGN races with Smirnoff Ice as the sponsor, the BGN thing makes sense, since he is running 15 races with Bayer/Alka Seltzer, not sure about the Cup part of the rumor.(1-25-2003)
      UPDATE: hearing this is for 8 Cup races, with at least one Richmond race to be part of it.(1-27-2003)
      UPDATE 2: Smirnoff Ice Triple Black will sponsor Roush Racing driver Matt Kenseth's #17 Ford in a limited program of 2003 Cup races, beginning with The Winston all-star race in May at Lowe's Motor Speedway. The program includes at least co-primary sponsorship of Kenseth's Ford Taurus, whose five wins in 2002 led the series, for eight races and secondary status for the balance of the season. The partnership includes driver appearances, the use of show cars and image rights, a large hospitality program and an extensive social responsibility agenda. A Smirnoff spokesperson said an advertising program was in the works featuring Kenseth, who said that was one of the "coolest" aspects of the program. Kenseth will drive the Smirnoff Ice car at The Winston, Pepsi 400 at Daytona, Brickyard 400, Southern 500, Richmond (Sept), Talladega (Sept) and Atlanta (Oct). The race at Texas on March 30 is a co-primary event with Dewalt Tools.(, see an image of the car there - do NOT email it to me)(2-8-2003)

    • More Paint Scheme news can be found on Paint Schemes Gallery


    • Elliott hot at Darlington: #9-Bill Elliott has scored four top-10 finishes in the last four races at Darlington, the only driver to do so. Elliott has a 9.04 finishing average in 50 races at Darlington, the best among active drivers with more than three starts at the track. Elliott has five victories and five poles at Darlington; both numbers are fourth-best all-time.(NASCAR PR)(8-27-2003)

    • Gordon good at Darlington: #24-Jeff Gordon has scored 13 top-10 finishes in the last 16 races at Darlington, including six victories. His 5.95 starting average at Darlington is the best of all drivers. Gordon is tied with Cale Yarborough for the most Mountain Dew Southern 500 victories, each with five.(NASCAR PR)(8-27-2003)

    • NASCAR to require Cup, Busch, Truck teams to add fuel cell area fire extinuisher: NASCAR officials announced today that all vehicles in the NASCAR Winston Cup Series, NASCAR Busch Series and NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series will require an additional fire-extinguishing cylinder solely dedicated to the fuel cell area, effective Aug. 13 but recommended immediately. An automatic, thermally activated discharge nozzle recommended by the manufacturer for this application must activate the cylinder, which is required to be made of DOT-approved metal. The automatic system may have a manual and/or pneumatic override from the driver-activated system. The cylinder must be mounted in the driver's compartment and will attach to a steel bracket welded to the frame and/or roll cage of the vehicle. When discharged, the extinguisher releases Halon in the area of the fire. Halon, a proven and extremely effective fire suppressant, is a liquefied compressed gas that stops the spread of fire by chemically disrupting combustion. A minimum of 10 pounds of fire extinguishing agent is required in the cylinder for the fuel cell area. In addition to the fire extinguisher cylinder being added for the fuel cell area, NASCAR has enhanced its requirements and specifications for the current on-board driver protection system as well as the fuel cell vent area. The cockpit extinguisher, a manually controlled push or pull knob that activates a fully charged fire-extinguishing pressurized cylinder, now must contain a minimum of five pounds of extinguishing agent. Should the cylinder also be used for fire extinguishing in the engine compartment, it must contain a minimum of 10 pounds of extinguishing agent. The cylinder also must be securely mounted to the frame and/or roll cage, and hose clamps, worm drive clamps and cable ties are not permitted. In addition, all discharge lines and fittings for the cylinders must be steel or steel-reinforced hose although the nozzles may remain aluminum. A maximum length for the neck of the fuel cell check valve vent hose has been set at three inches. By limiting length, it will make the component more impact resistant. The neck connects the fuel cell to the fuel cell vent hose and is located inside the trunk area of the vehicle. To accommodate the maximum neck length standard, fuel cell vent hoses will increase in length from 60 inches to a maximum of 66 inches.(NASCAR PR)(7-30-2003)

    • New Gas Can Rule: Beginning with the July 13 race at Chicagoland Speedway, NASCAR will prohibit teams from throwing or tossing gas cans or gas catch cans over the pit wall during a pit stop. The change was announced in Sunday's prerace drivers' meeting. If a violation happens under caution, the driver will have to restart at the end of the longest line. If it occurs under green-flag conditions, the driver must return to pit road to serve a 15-second penalty. The change is being made to reduce the liklihood of gas spills during pit stops.(



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