NORTH WILKESBORO, N.C. -- Recent history apparently will be on the side of drivers in General Motors cars as they try to break Ford's 10-race NASCAR Winston Cup Series winning streak Sunday in the First Union 400.
Only once since the Holly Farms 400 in the fall of 1980 has a Ford been driven into Victory Lane at North Wilkesboro Speedway, where the seventh of the season's big-time stock car races is scheduled at 1 p.m. (ESPN). Mark Martin achieved that victory in a Thunderbird in the autumn race of 1990 on the five-eighths-mile track.
So GM cars have won 22 of the past 24 races at the Wilkes County speedway, where spectators will find renovation has led to installation of chair seats in the west grandstand along the front-stretch. They replace tiered concrete stands with no backrests.
Not only has the Ford fleet dominated the races this season, but also qualifying, taking five of six poles.
Members of GM teams concede that their fans are growing restless.
However, Darrell Waltrip, who drives a Chevrolet and ranks as an authority, says they won't continue to be disappointed much longer.
"Our day is coming, I know it," said Waltrip, who won the First Union 400 last spring. "I've told my guys on the crew all along to keep their mouths shut while all this Ford vs. Chevy ruckus has gone on about body styles and cylinder heads. I told them to work on our car and focus on what we're doing.
"I know that when we get our stuff running like we want it to, then it's not going to matter how fast anybody else is, we're going to be better. I'm not bragging about it, I just know how I am and how our car and the crew is."
Waltrip figures that he already would have been a winner by now interrupting the Ford streak that dates to last October except for what he calls "really rotten luck."
Race weekend activities include a "Junior Johnson Appreciation" observance.