DODGE IROC SERIES SET TO EARN DARLINGTON 'STRIPES'
HIGHLAND PARK, Mich., March 25 /PRNewswire/ -- Jay Signore and Marty Levine are a bit nervous this week. Signore, President of the Dodge International Race of Champions (IROC) series, and Levine, General Manager of the Dodge Division at Chrysler Corporation (NYSE: C), will be watching along with everyone else as the popular series makes its first ever stop at Darlington Raceway in Darlington, S.C. -- "The Track Too Tough To Tame." The historic first IROC at Darlington will also provide an introduction of sorts for some of motor racing's biggest names. Competing on the famed 1.366-mile, egg-shaped track will be a first for seven of the 12 racing champions. NASCAR's oldest speedway, Darlington, has a well-earned reputation as a tough track, even for NASCAR regulars. The thought of seven Darlington "rookies" battling five NASCAR regulars in identically prepared Dodge Daytonas makes Signore somewhat apprehensive. "We're talking about some of the premier drivers in the world," Signore said, referring to Al Unser; Al Unser Jr.; Arie Luyendyk; Juan Manuel Fangio II; Geoff Brabham; Davy Jones and Jack Baldwin. "But they are still rookies down here, this is a very tough place to sort out." They will be joined by NASCAR regulars Alan Kulwicki; Bill Elliott; Davy Allison; Ricky Rudd (defending IROC champion) and Harry Gant, all previous winners at Darlington, with the exception of Kulwicki. "The Dodge Daytona IROCs are nice handling cars and the drivers have gotten pretty confident, I trust not too confident," said Levine, who admittedly toyed with the idea of having Signore "pre-stripe" the dozen equally matched 490 horsepower Daytonas in silent tribute to the Darlington stripe made famous by cars brushing the turn four wall lap after lap. "We're pleased to bring our Dodge IROC series to Darlington for the first time," Levine said. "This is a legendary track with a great history and great race fans and we are all going to make some history together." Originally 1 1/4 miles, the track was extended to 1.366 miles in 1953. Turns three and four were widened in 1969. With turns one and two dissimilar in width and banking, drivers are usually forced to enter the turns single file. Knowing when to pass is a key element of victory, according to previous Darlington winners. In a sprint race, such as IROC, with an aggressive all-star field in identically prepared cars, patience is not always rewarded. Four-time Indianapolis 500 winner Al Unser, victimized by a late race skirmish in the IROC season-opener at Daytona, has pole position. Elliott won the Daytona race. Now in its 17th season, the IROC series has gained a well-earned reputation for excellent competition. The Darlington IROC event will be broadcast nationally on ABC Sports on Sunday, May 23. The last two IROC events are at Talladega (Ala.) Superspeedway May 1 and Michigan International Speedway July 31. -0- 3/25/93 /CONTACT: Jim Crawford, 313-252-8794, or Scott Fosgard, 313-252-5781, both of Chrysler/ (C)
CO: Dodge Division; Chrysler Corporation ST: Michigan, South Carolina IN: AUT SU:
ML -- DE012 -- 9671 03/25/93 14:50 EST
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|Date:||Mar 25, 1993|
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