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Motor Sports
Ed Hinton
November 16, 1998
The King and IA third title in hand, Jeff Gordon is on pace to break Richard Petty's marks
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November 16, 1998

Motor Sports

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Mr. Gullibility Cup
Winston Cup team owner Jack Roush, who fell for die charge by an anonymous letter writer that Roush's main competitor—whom Roush presumed to be the Gordon team—was using an illegal and undetectable tire-softening substance that enabled their car to grip the track better. Independent lab analysis showed Gordon's tires met regulations, and tire engineers said no undetectable softening product exists.

Elmer Gantry Prize
Winston Cup team owners who publicly decry the folly of restrictor-plate racing at Daytona and Talladega while privately refusing to spend R and D money on alternative methods for holding down speeds at the two giant tracks.

Elvis Presley Charisma Award
Dale Earnhardt Jr., who burst onto the NASCAR scene by winning seven Busch Series races and attracted such a following that sales of his licensed merchandise began to rival that of the king of cash-and-carry at the souvenir trailers—his father.

Crew Chief of the Year
Hendrick Motorsports' Ray Evernham, for supervising the meticulous preparation of Gordon's cars, for making terrific decisions on pit stops in the heat of battle and for keeping the sometimes temperamental Gordon calm during races.

Best Driver Who Didn't Win a Driving Championship
Mark Martin, for winning eight Winston Cup races, finishing second to Gordon a heartbreaking four times and pressing on while grieving over his father's death in a plane crash in August.

Driver of the Year
Mika Hakkinen, who won the F/1 title in the best tradition of Rudyard Kipling—he trusted himself when all other men doubted him. Despite wide speculation that he would lose his points lead down the stretch to two-time F/l champ Michael Schumacher, Hakkinen brilliantly held off Schumacher to win the Luxembourg Grand Prix on Sept 27 and gain a four-point cushion in the drivers' standings heading into the season finale in Suzuka, Japan, five weeks later. Hakkinen also won that race to emerge triumphant on a circuit on which the pressure is far greater than either Winston Cup champ Gordon or CART titlist Alex Zanardi faced in winning their respective crowns.

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