Author Topic: First Fridays In June  (Read 2603 times)

Texas16

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First Fridays In June
« on: June 01, 2008, 01:12:58 PM »
What was Tony Stewart doing on Friday, June 6th, 1997 and then again on Friday, June 5th, 1998?  Well, he was doing just about the same thing that Bobby Hamilton was doing on that day in 1997 and what Jeff Gordon was doing in 1998, just in a different location and with a little different equipment.  They were winning poles.  Bobby Hamilton won the pole position for 1997’s Pocono 500, Jeff Gordon nabbed the P1 starting spot at the Pontiac Excitement 400 at Richmond in 1998, and Tony Stewart was putting his Glidden / Menard’s IndyCar Series racecar on the pole for the True Value 400K at Texas Motor Speedway in both 1997 and 1998.

Those two days didn’t end in victory for any of those three pole-winning drivers.  Bobby Hamilton ran just a little over half the race at Pocono, wrecked, finished an abysmal 39th, and watched Jeff Gordon take the checkered flag that year.  On that weekend one year later, pole-winner Jeff Gordon got caught up in an accident and finished 37th, while Terry Labonte took home the big paycheck at Richmond.  Tony Stewart’s luck on both of those weekends wasn’t much better than Hamilton’s and Gordon’s.  In 1997, Stewart finished 5th after having led four times for 100 laps of a 208-lap race. Official stats indicate that he had some sort of engine problem and hit the wall on lap 206.  The following year, Smoke led seven times for 57 laps but equipment woes sent him to the garage after 176 laps, and he finished 14th. 

At first glance, it would seem that winning a pole on the first Friday in June may not be a lucky thing for pole-winners’ chances in the race.  For all of the numerologists who’re concerned about this alarming first-Friday-in-June trend when they see their favorite driver on the pole (Greg Biffle, Dover, DE, June 1st 2008), it’s good to know that Bobby Labonte won from the pole at the MBNA Platinum 400 at Dover, DE on June 6th, 1999.

Let’s go back and fill out some more stats on Tony Stewart’s IRL career at TMS.  When the IRL/CART split occurred in 1996, the nascent IndyCar Racing League ran less than a  handful of races (3) in 1996 and a slightly larger handful (10) in 1997.  The races for both of those years were combined into one “season”, and at the end of 1997, a Champion was named:  Tony Stewart.  The following year—in 1998—Tony and the IRL visited TMS twice, and in Stewart’s 3rd and final start at TMS in an IndyCar, he started on the front row in P2 and was officially scored at the end of the race in 20th after having led twice for 51 laps only to see his engine give out before the halfway point in the race.  Just for the record, Stewart finally visited TMS’s Victory Lane—or rather the chain-link catch fence across from Victory Lane—in April 2006 when he won the Crown Royal IROC series race, and again in November of that year when he won the Dickies 500 NASCAR Cup race.

The Bombardier Learjet 550k IndyCar Series race will be run at TMS next Saturday.  This will be the 19th IRL race at the track.  Billed from its inception as the America’s Original Nighttime Indy Car Race, the green flag waves as the sun is going down and the lights are coming up.  Who’ll be the IRL pole winner on Friday, June 6, 2008?  Will Helio Castroneves add to his two-pole tie with Tony Stewart?  Will the hottest-new-thing, Marco Andretti, get his first one at Texas and make it two weeks in a row?  TK?  Danica?  Dixon?  The questions won’t be answered for about five days, plus there’s always the race at the Milwaukee Mile (and that little event at Dover) to get through before the IRL drivers start thinking about Texas.

For the two months that I’ve been working on preparations for next weekend’s races at TMS, I’ve always thought of the date as being “the first weekend in June”.  It wasn’t until I was working on staff schedules that the actual dates struck me.  Friday, June 6th is Qualifying Day for the Bombardier Learjet 550k race as well as the day of the Sam’s Town 400 NASCAR Trucks race.  The worker in me gets nervous as June 6th and 7th get closer, the motorsports fan in me gets excited, but the historian in me gets very serious.  This will be the 64th anniversary of the start of another great race in history.  During qualifying this coming Friday night, June 6th, will I stop for a brief moment to remember that on that day 64 years ago, thousands of young men had landed on some cold beaches in Normandy, France?  I hope I’m not too caught up in seeing if Helio will beat Stewart’s pole record or if Danica will get her first pole at Texas to pay homage to the REAL heroes of that day, of D-Day.
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OregonSHRFan

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Re: First Fridays In June
« Reply #1 on: June 01, 2008, 02:06:51 PM »
T16,

Great writing, thanks for sharing with us and reminding us of the bigger picture.

I'm looking forward to your next writing: recounting the events at TMS next weekend. You have a big week in front of you, I hope you find some time for a little enjoyment, you deserve it.

Signspotter#19

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Re: First Fridays In June
« Reply #2 on: June 01, 2008, 02:10:48 PM »
Biffle qualified on the pole May 30th 2008 not on a first Friday in June. That must mean that his luck is good and he will win! GO BIFFLE and of course go my Sadler boy too! ;D and of course for next Friday Go Helio! ;) I hope you get to enjoy next weekend and don't work to hard. :-\
« Last Edit: June 01, 2008, 02:12:47 PM by Signspotter#19 »
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DeniseIndy

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Re: First Fridays In June
« Reply #3 on: June 06, 2008, 11:37:35 AM »
I would love to see one of the guys from the smaller teams win at Texas. Or, a guy who was part of the Champ car series. Would be really nice for them from a publicity standpoint as well.

D.matry

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First Fridays In June
« Reply #4 on: October 08, 2009, 01:25:40 AM »
whats the matter dumb blonde do you think you should be in its a hard task for the ladies to pick 24 let yourself be known then they can have a look at you to see if you are any good

CabHearts88

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Re: First Fridays In June
« Reply #5 on: October 08, 2009, 03:40:06 PM »
whats the matter dumb blonde do you think you should be in its a hard task for the ladies to pick 24 let yourself be known then they can have a look at you to see if you are any good


???????

Wow!  please tell me this is someone you know?

D.matry

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First Fridays In June
« Reply #6 on: October 29, 2009, 01:49:07 PM »
Bad luck to the Jaffas today, won by 6 at home but a minus of about 54 was not good. 

 Well done to the Shropshire ladies who bowled the libs well today.

 And a BIG thankyou to Nobbler for getting the green in great condition to play despite all the rain over the weekend.