Two teams allowed to shave edge of spoilers

Daytona notebook

2nd time around for Ford, though benefit uncertain

February 16, 2002|By Sandra McKee | Sandra McKee,SUN STAFF

DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. - "A work in progress" is the favorite slogan of NASCAR officials as they continue to tweak the rules for tomorrow's 44th Daytona 500.

With Ford and Dodge teams still complaining they were at a major speed disadvantage after the twin qualifying races, the sanctioning body said early yesterday that those teams could cut a quarter-inch from their rear spoilers.

It was the second time in less than a week that Ford had been given a quarter-inch cut, as NASCAR tries to find parity for its race teams.

The teams practiced with the new spoilers, but it was difficult to tell what the impact will be in a race. The Ford contingent didn't seem to find the extra quarter-inch helpful.

"It doesn't make a difference at all," said Rusty Wallace, who will start 36th after taking a champion's provisional to get into the 500. "I thought it did. The problem is we're getting so much rear spoiler it's starting to drive funny [loose] now, and the competition is loving that because their cars are hauling and driving good."

Yates scare

Car owner Robert Yates, 58, took his wife, Carolyn, out to dinner at an expensive French restaurant here for Valentine's Day, came home and then, around 5 a.m. yesterday, felt discomfort in his chest and drove himself to Halifax Medical Center.

He underwent a cardiac catherization, which revealed his heart was not the problem. He is being held for observation.

Yates owns the Fords driven by Dale Jarrett and Ricky Rudd.

A happy loss

Veteran driver Robert Pressley and his Dodge Motorsports car won the Florida Dodge Dealers 250 Craftsman Truck Race yesterday.

Maryland's Donnie Neuenberger, who started next to last in the 36-car field, finished 25th. But a happy 25th.

Neuenberger moved up to as high as fourth at the halfway mark before a bad restart heated his tires and forced him back to 15th. An unscheduled pit stop then put him back in the pack, where his IHOP Dodge was rear-ended in a wreck that broke his fuel pump.

"We had a Petty engine and it was a great engine," Neuenberger said. "We're really very happy. ... We were able to drive to the front, passing quality cars."

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