Marcis Misses Michigan Race Again
BROOKLYN, Mich. (AP) _ Dave Marcis is lucky he earlier became the all-time Winston Cup leader in competitive miles, laps and races at Michigan Speedway because lately he hasn’t been able to qualify for a race at the superspeedway.
Marcis failed to qualify for Sunday’s Pepsi 400, the third consecutive Winston Cup event he’ll miss at Michigan Speedway.
``We tried our best and came close,″ said Marcis, who has logged 17,552 miles, 8,776 laps and 55 races at the speedway. ``I had a good lap in the morning (practice), but I couldn’t repeat it.
``But it’s not this place’s fault. It’s NASCAR’s fault, them and their rules. They don’t give provisionals to the ones who need them, but they give plenty to everyone else. I guess if NASCAR’s happy with that, that’s all that matters.″
Seven provisional starts for the race were granted by NASCAR. They went to Dale Earnhardt, Johnny Benson, Kevin Lepage, Chad Little, Brett Bodine, Steve Grissom and Darrell Waltrip.
Each driver is allowed four provisional starts per quarter of the season. Marcis was denied because he already has used his four this quarter.
Earnhardt was upset following his second qualifying attempt Saturday. He was unable to get his car out on the track during Friday’s first round of qualifying because the oil pump failed on his car. Earnhardt made it onto the track Saturday but was unable to clock a time suitable to move into the top 36.
``The car was not great,″ Earnhardt said. ``We were a little loose in turns one and two, but we’ll be there Sunday.″
During the June NASCAR race, Earnhardt was forced to start in his backup car at the back of the field after an accident with Rusty Wallace during Saturday’s final practice. He went on to finish 12th.
GOOD START: A week after running his last race with Rousch Racing, Ted Musgrave qualified for the Pepsi 400 with Robinson-Moore Motorsports.
Musgrave, who will start from the 16th row, was replaced by Rousch Racing with Kevin Lepage following the Aug. 9 Bud at the Glen.
``We’re in the show,″ Musgrave said. ``That was the first goal, to get the thing in the race and now we can get prepared for it and see how well we can do for a 500-miler versus a one-lap situation.″
Musgrave is still under contract with Rousch. He was permitted to drive for Robinson-Moore under a one-race deal. However, there is a possibility that he may run other races for Robinson-Moore this season.
The Robinson-Moore team is attempting a comeback after missing all of 1997 because of a lack of sponsorship. This is the first race that the team has qualified for since the season-ending NAPA 500 at Atlanta in November 1996.
``It’s great to be back, especially to have Ted Musgrave behind the wheel,″ Bud Moore, car owner, said. ``He’s put us back on the right road, getting back to where we can go racing.″
ON THE REBOUND: Jeremy Mayfield has high hopes the Pepsi 400 will jump-start his season, which through the first 15 races was impressive.
After flirting in the top spot of the Winston Cup point standings four times this season, Mayfield has dropped in the points from first to sixth over the past five races. He has finished no better than 18th twice over that stretch.
Mayfield will start from the fourth row in the Pepsi 400 after turning in the eighth-fastest qualifying lap Friday.
``It’s something we needed,″ Mayfield said of the qualifying. ``Our luck hasn’t been exactly the best over the past few weeks and we needed something to give us a boost for this weekend.
``It’s not the pole, but it’s our best start in a while. We know that the winners of races here almost always come out of the top 10 starters. So it’s obviously important to start near the front.″
During the Miller Lite 400 at Michigan Speedway in June, Mayfield finished fifth after starting 15th.
``Michigan Speedway’s been good to me and it’s one of my favorite places,″ Mayfield said. ``This year, these types of tracks have worked well for us. Here in June, we moved to the front, had a solid run and finished fifth.″