yearns for second Brickyard win
The Earnhardt Connection
Indianapolis, Indiana (July 29, 1998)
Dale Earnhardt has always run stock cars, and done it with
quite a bit of success through the years.
Earnhardt, son of NASCAR legend Ralph Earnhardt, literally grew up with the sport and has
become one of stock car's all-time great drivers. Some say Earnhardt, 47, is the greatest
steering-wheel jockey in NASCAR history.
His Winston Cup credentials are impeccable. Earnhardt has 71 career victories, including
the 1998 Daytona 500, and seven NASCAR Winston Cup Series championships, which ties him
with Richard Petty.
He's the only driver to win Winston Cup's rookie-of-the-year title and series championship
in back-to-back years (1979-80).
Most of his wins have come with Richard Childress Racing. Earnhardt and Childress have
worked together since 1984 and combined for 64 victories.
One of the highlights of Earnhardt's career was winning the Brickyard 400 in 1995, the
second year the NASCAR Winston Cup Series called on the historic 2.5-mile Indianapolis
"It was probably one of the biggest wins we've had until we won the Daytona 500 this
year," Earnhardt said. "Winning their second Brickyard 400 was a heck of deal.
There's still only four winners there. Nobody's won it twice."
Earnhardt's roots may run deep in stock car racing, but he's always held a special place
in his heart for Indianapolis Motor Speedway, racing's most storied venue.
His goal is to become the first driver to bag two Brickyard 400 titles and just the second
to win both the Daytona 500 and Brickyard in the same year. Dale Jarrett won Winston Cup's
two most lucrative events in 1996.
The fifth annual Brickyard 400 is Aug. 1.
"I'd like to win it a second time to be the first two-time winner," said
Earnhardt. "Indianapolis Motor Speedway is a special place. The Brickyard 400 is a
special race. There's a lot of history about the place. The Indianapolis 500 is still a
big race to me, so running the Brickyard there is just as important."
Earnhardt was so eager to run at Indy that at one point in his career he considered filing
an entry for the Indianapolis 500. Up until five years ago, no one thought NASCAR would
hold a race at the track.
"I never pondered it very much," said Earnhardt of running a Winston Cup race at
Indy. "As we went on there through the years, I was entertained to run an Indy car
and run the Indy 500, but I never did do it.
"I didn't have the time, or never the right situation or whatever. I ended up going
in a Winston Cup car and winning there, so we're part of Indy history."
Earnhardt likes Indy's unique layout -- a distinct rectangle with relatively flat turns.
"It's not the toughest racetrack we race on, but aerodynamically, it's an interesting
racetrack," Earnhardt said. "It's competitive."
Earnhardt will make more racing history July 31 when he competes in the first
International Race of Champions (IROC) race at Indianapolis Motor Speedway.
The field of 12 all-star drivers from various forms of racing will decide this year's IROC
championship at Indy. Once Earnhardt finishes his IROC business, he'll focus his attention
on the Brickyard 400.
"That's the next goal," he said. "That's the important thing. To be the
first two-time winner, would be just as good as being the first winner, really."