Winston Cup veteran Ernie Irvan will take another step toward becoming a successful one-eyed race driver today when he drives a Ford pickup in the Spears Manufacturing 200, a NASCAR SuperTruck race, at Mesa Marin Raceway.
Irvan, sidelined for more than 13 months because of head injuries suffered in an accident at Michigan International Raceway, returned two weeks ago at North Wilkesboro, N.C., in a SuperTruck race. He qualified second and led during the first half of the race. But after an obligatory halfway pit stop, the truck did not restart.
The next day, Irvan drove in a Winston Cup race, started seventh and finished sixth on the lead lap with winner Mark Martin.
"I'm going to drive another truck race, and then I'll be ready for the last three Winston Cup races for Robert Yates," Irvan said. Next season, Irvan and Dale Jarrett, this year's Yates team driver, will be teammates in a pair of Havoline Fords.
Racing at Mesa Marin, a banked half-mile oval, will be a homecoming for Irvan, who drove there early in his career.
Mike Skinner, who drives a Chevrolet truck for Richard Childress, Dale Earnhardt's car owner, is leading the series after 18 of 20 races, but he is being challenged by Joe Ruttman of Upland and Ron Hornaday Jr. of Palmdale, who drives a truck owned by Earnhardt.