Worlds Greatest Race II

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Voting: See bottom for simple voting instructions.

(Trying to determine whether Herb Thomas was a better driver in the 1950s than Dale Jarrett was in the 1990s is a pretty difficult task. Time has changed the sport in so many ways that comparisons are hard to make. So let’s just throw all that out the window and have some fun with it… again.
Last year, RacingOne introduced The World’s Greatest Race – pitting the best drivers in NASCAR history against each other – and we let the fans determine the outcome. Well, it’s time for year two of the event, so be sure to vote and then check in the next day to see what happens.)


Today’s Race: RacingOne 500
Track: 1-mile paved oval in Tupelo, Miss. (just south of Threepelo and Fourpelo, Miss.)
Race Length: 500 miles
Today’s Highlights: Qualifying!!!

TUPELO, Miss. – Though delayed an entire week because many of the teams were stuck in New York waiting for the Winston Cup Awards Ceremony speeches to finally come to an end, the big day is finally upon us.

Yes folks, today we began qualifying for the greatest racing event of all time – and we didn’t even have to be in town for two weeks prior to it happening (as we do in Daytona every year).

Today we got to see the likes of Junior Johnson, Richard Petty, Dale Earnhardt and Jeff Gordon race for the pole in hopes of starting near the front (and out of the way of the spinning pile of wreckage that has become synonymous with the first lap of any NASCAR event).

After a delay of 20 minutes – for the NBC crew to get their silly pit crew uniforms on and for Bill Webber to finish reading a speech about how tire smoke and the smell of fuel relates to war in the Middle East – the green flag for qualifying finally flew.

High above the start/finish line, the flag was waved by the event’s grand marshal… Jimmy P. Slipnalge, Vice Chairman of Corporate Affairs in the Sub-Department of Store Management and Customer Concerns for Hammer and Nail Shelf Placement for Home Depot. (George W. Bush wanted to be the grand marshal, but Slipnagle got the nod because the U.S. government hadn’t signed up as a licensee yet).

First under the flag - as we set the field of 75 cars - was Robby Gordon (offered the chance to compete as the most recent winner in Cup competition).

Gordon - in his shiny new Richard Childress-owned Chevy - hit the back of the pace car that was sitting still on pit road, scraped the walls in all four turns on his warm-up lap, then spun across the finish line on his timed lap.

Gordon’s qualifying speed of 43.223 mph wasn’t likely to hold up, but Childress was still extremely happy.

“This kid has a tremendous amount of talent,” Childress said. “Sure, I was shocked when I realized I’d mistakenly signed Robby Gordon instead of Jeff Gordon, but wrecking cars is a sure way to get your sponsor some television time… and we’re confident Robby is gonna get us a ton of television time.”

With the exception of Alan Kulwicki accidently taking his qualifying lap in the wrong direction and Ron Hornaday wandering onto the infield grass with a “Will Drive for Food” sign, qualifying went forward without a hitch.

After qualifying, though, NASCAR met with more than 50 drivers in the big red trailer – all complaining that their cars were inferior aerodynamically and proper safety devices weren’t in place.

Following the meetings, NASCAR announced only 20 drivers would make the field on speed, 10 would get former champion provisionals, 5 would get provisionals because of cool nicknames, and everybody else would make the field if they put Coca-Cola Racing Family stickers on their windshields and promised to never speak poorly about Goodyear, NASCAR officials or the fact that next year’s schedule is being tweaked to include 112 races.

Only 14 drivers agreed to those terms, so to make the starting lineup an even 50 cars, NASCAR awarded the final spot – an “It just wouldn’t be a NASCAR race if I didn’t take a provisional” provisional – to Dave Marcis.

Taking the pole, the 106th of his career, was David Pearson. Pearson rounded the 1-mile oval with an average speed of 160 mph in his No. 17 1969 Holman-Moody Ford.

“The boys put a good car under this boy today,” Pearson said. “Them other boys out there is gonna have trouble with this boy tomorrow if them boys ain’t careful. Boy, oh boy, what a great run.”

In a surprising run, young Tony Stewart qualified second, but thinks he could have done better.

“The tires were bad, the track was too hard and too soft, the other drivers were being mean to me, my crew wasn’t up to par, the sun was shining, I forgot to shave again and having to wear a helmet, gloves, neck restraint and shoes is just too confining,” Stewart said. “If it weren’t for that, I’d have won the pole for sure.”

Starting behind Pearson and Stewart will be the greatest combination of NASCAR drivers ever put together (if you don’t include last year’s lineup)… and here’s how they’ll start.

Starting Lineup
1. David Pearson (Holman-Moody Ford) 160 mph
2. Tony Stewart (Gibbs Pontiac) 159.959
3. Cale Yarborough (Johnson Chevy) 159.923
4. Lee Petty (Petty Plymouth) 159.543
5. Jeff Gordon (Hendrick Chevy) 159.517
6. Ned Jarrett (Long Ford) 159.372
7. Richard Petty (Petty Dodge) 158.849
8. Bill Rexford (Buesink Olds) 158.741
9. Junior Johnson (Lovette Ford) 158.562
10. Bobby Labonte (Gibbs Pontiac) 158.524
11. Joe Weatherly (Moore Pontiac) 158.456
12. Rusty Wallace (Beadle Pontiac) 158.393
13. Bobby Allison (Gardner Buick) 157.991
14. Tim Flock (Kiekhaefer Chevy) 157.944
15. Davey Allison (Yates Ford) 157.852
16. Mark Martin (Roush Ford) 157.822
17. Dale Earnhardt Jr. (DEI Chevy) 157.659
18. Buddy Baker (Moore Ford) 157.275
19. Ricky Rudd (Hendrick Chevy) 157.200
20. Fred Lorenzen (Holman-Moody Ford) 157.189
21. Dale Earnhardt (Childress Chevy) former champ provisional
22. Darrell Waltrip (Johnson Chevy) former champ provisional
23. Herb Thomas (Thomas Hudson) former champ provisional
24. Buck Baker (Kiekhaefer Chrysler) former champ provisional
25. Bill Elliott (Melling Ford) former champ provisional
26. Terry Labonte (Hendrick Chevy) former champ provisional
27. Rex White (White Chevy) former champ provisional
28. Alan Kulwicki (Kulwicki Ford) former champ provisional
29. Dale Jarrett (Yates Ford) former champ provisional
30. Benny Parsons (DeWitt Chevy) former champ provisional
31. Fireball Roberts (Holman-Moody Ford) nickname provisional
32. Speedy Thompson (Kiekhaefer Dodge) nickname provisional
33. “Handsome” Harry Gant (Needham Buick) nickname provisional
34. “Swervin’ Ernie Irvan (McClure Chevy) nickname provisional
35. “Tiger” Tom Pistone (Rupert Ford) nickname provisional
36. Red Byron (Parks Olds) licensee provisional
37. Tim Richmond (Hendrick Chevy) licensee provisional
38. Bobby Isaac (Krauskopf Dodge) licensee provisional
39. A.J. Foyt (Wood Brothers Ford) licensee provisional
40. Jeff Burton (Roush Ford) licensee provisional
41. Neil Bonnett (Wood Brothers Mercury) licensee provisional
42. Kyle Petty (Sabates Pontiac) licensee provisional
43. Curtis Turner (Wood Brothers Ford) licensee provisional
44. Sterling Marlin (McClure Chevy) licensee provisional
45. Tiny Lund (Wood Brothers Ford) licensee provisional
46. Jimmy Spencer (Travis Carter Ford) licensee provisional
47. LeeRoy Yarbrough (Johnson Mercury) licensee provisional
48. Wendell Scott ( Scott Chevy) licensee provisional
49. Jim Paschal (Friedkin Plymouth) licensee provisional
50. Dave Marcis (Krauskopf Dodge) “It just wouldn’t be a NASCAR race if I didn’t get a provisional” provisional

How to Vote: It’s easy. All you have to do is send an e-mail to greatestrace@racingone.com and list the five drivers you’d most like to see fall out of the event (feel free to tell us why/how they bit the dust). Then, check back tomorrow, see what happens in the race and find out if enough voters agreed with you. Then vote again!!!

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