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Friday, March 1

Childress nears 1,000th start
Associated Press

LAS VEGAS -- Robby Gordon's No. 31 Chevrolet will represent the 1,000th start for the Richard Childress Racing team when he takes the green flag Sunday in the UAW-Daimler Chrysler 400.

"It's hard to believe that we've competed in this many races, but I'm proud of the fact that we've been around this long and had the success we've had," Childress said.

Gordon qualified 12th on Friday, ahead of teammates Jeff Green (22nd) and Kevin Harvick (28th).

More than half of the team's cup starts were made by the late Dale Earnhardt with 529. Childress added 188 of his own.

Mike Skinner has 157 starts, Ricky Rudd 60, Harvick 37, Gordon 12, Green 10, Morgan Shepherd and Neil Bonnett 2 each and Mike Dillon and Rodney Combs one each.

Looks like a million
The five drivers who will be vying for $1 million Sunday in the Winston No Bull bonus at Las Vegas Motor Speedway tuned up for the big bucks in a just-for-fun blackjack tournament on the Strip.

Matt Kenseth, coming off his second Winston Cup victory last week at Rockingham, won a mock $65 million in a one-hand playoff with Bobby Hamilton after the two tied with $55 million each.

Kenseth, Hamilton, Dale Earnhardt Jr., Tony Stewart and Jeff Burton started the evening at Mandalay Bay Resort & Casino with 50 $1 million nonlegal chips each and played five hands to determine the winner.

On Sunday, they'll be going for legal tender in the UAW-Daimler Chrysler 400, where a victory would pay $1 million to both the driver and fan partner.

The drivers qualified for the big payoff by finishing 1-5 in the final No Bull event last season at Talladega.

Kenseth is paired with Loren Carpenter of Decatur, Ill.; Hamilton with Barry Moore of Gallant, Ala.; Earnhardt with Franklin Bell of Hamilton, Ohio,; Burton with Robin Littlefield of Medical Lake, Wash., and Stewart with Jair Gensollen of White Plains, N.Y.

Eyes on Hooters
The owl is returning to Winston Cup racing after a six-year absence.

Hooters controlling owner Robert H. Brooks said the Atlanta-based restaurant chain is applying for a number and a license for a team the company plans to field this season.

Hooters sponsored Alan Kulwicki during his championship season in 1992 and was his sponsor when Kulwicki and three others, including Brooks' son Mark, were killed in a 1993 plane crash near Bristol, Tenn.

Brooks said Hooters plans only a limited schedule this year and next.

Spark plugs

  • In a city of Elvis wannabes, Rusty Wallace is blending right in with a picture of The King on the side of his No. 2 Ford.
  • Sunday will mark Ricky Rudd's 647th consecutive race and his Winston Cup-leading 734th start
  • Before qualifying, Las Vegas oddsmakers listed polesitter Todd Bodine as a 70-1 long shot to win the race; Dale Earnhardt Jr., who qualified 35th, was the 9-1 favorite.

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