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News The Earnhardt Connection
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Earnhardt is Dover's million-dollar man
Dover, Delaware (September 14, 1998)

Dover Downs International is one of nine tracks where Earnhardt holds over $1 million in winnings.

Dale Earnhardt stands alone, or in very select company, on virtually every page of NASCAR's record book, and those of the speedways that make up the NASCAR Winston Cup Series.  Approaching Sunday's MBNA Gold 400 at Dover Downs International Speedway, the seven-time NASCAR Winston Series Cup champion ranks as the only career winner of $1 million at the "Monster Mile."

Earnhardt's 25th-place finish in last spring's MBNA Platinum 400 put him over the seven-figure threshold, with $1,001,100 in official winnings for 39 NASCAR Winston Cup Series starts at the "Monster Mile" dating back to his rookie year of 1979. His largest payday from the Dover Downs treasury came at his most recent Dover victory in 1993, with $68,030 for 500 miles' effort. That was nearly matched by the $63,105 he won for second place in last year's MBNA Gold 400, Dover's first 400-mile NASCAR Winston Cup Series event.

Nobody is likely to threaten Earnhardt's position at the top of the Monster Mile money tree right away, as only Ricky Rudd at $793,890 is within a quarter-million dollars. Bill Elliott enters the MBNA Gold 400 with $747,355, while Mark Martin is in his mirrors at $746,995, thanks to the largest winners' share in Dover history, $195,305, at the 1997 MBNA Gold 400. Rusty Wallace is fifth on the list at $732,115.

As in so many cases, it hasn't taken Jeff Gordon long to join the leaders in Dover Downs winnings. In just 11 races, he has bankrolled $632,840. The next driver ahead of him, Darrell Waltrip, has made 50 starts to reach $686,485.

The MBNA Gold 400 weekend begins with practice and Bud Pole Qualifying for both NASCAR Winston Cup Series and NASCAR Busch Series Grand National Division teams on Friday, followed by "Friday Night Live," featuring a special edition of MRN Radio's "NASCAR Live" in the air-conditioned backstretch grandstand.

Saturday's highlights are the MBNA Gold 200 NASCAR Busch Series race at 1:10 p.m. EDT and "Racin' and Rockin' - Neal McCoy and Tracy Byrd Salute 50 Years of NASCAR," a free concert event presented by TNN Motorsports on the speedway grounds starting at 7 p.m.

Sunday sees the MBNA Gold 400 take the green flag at 12:10 p.m.