Earnhardt ends Bristol in 10th Apr.
Dale Earnhardt, despite encountering many difficulties
throughout the weekend, was able to walk away from the Food City 500 at Bristol Motor
Speedway with a tenth-place finish. Dale qualified 34th but had to start dead last,
in 43rd, after wrecking his Monte Carlo in final practice. The wreck left the
right-front of his car demolished, but the team's hopes remained in tact.
The crew quickly prepared their backup car and Earnhardt was able to get 15 laps of
practice in the second car on Saturday before the race. Between final practice and
the start of the race, the crew came up with a final setup to use on the backup car for
The crew's work and last-minute adjustments paid off. Dale didn't have the
fastest car on the track come raceday, but with a little luck, a determined Earnhardt
moved his way steadily through the field. By lap 30 in the race Dale had moved up to 27th
position. Around lap 60, Dale was up to 20th position.
From there Earnhardt inched his way further and further toward the front, even
cracking the top-5 at one point. Dale avoided the race's seven caution flags but in
the race's closing laps faded to 10th, where he would finish. Nonetheless, Earnhardt
made a clear statement today; he's not giving up on his racing career. Not yet.
"We only got about 15 laps of practice on that backup car, and the crew really
did a great job getting it ready," said Earnhardt. "My hat's off to them."
Earnhardt's GM Goodwrench Service Plus Chevrolet came across the line 8.26 seconds
after Wallace, impressive considering the fact that he had received a bad batch of tires
during one of his changes.
With 210 laps remaining, Earnhardt pitted during the fourth caution of the race
after Jerry Nadeau spun out and apparently got what he considered to be four bum tires.
Just 53 laps later, during the sixth caution caused by a wreck involving Gordon and three
others, Earnhardt changed them out and did not have any problems the rest of the way.
Dale's finish enabled to move up in the points from 16th to
14th. In the past two races Earnhardt has picked up 6 positions in the points.
Earnhardt wrecks in "Happy
Hour" Apr. 10
Dale Earnhardt will use a backup car in Sunday's Food City 500
after crashing his primary car in Saturday's final Winston Cup practice session.
Earnhardt was running behind his Richard Childress Racing teammate, Mike Skinner,
when the No. 3 Chevrolet got loose as the cars passed the start-finish line.
Earnhardt tried to save his car, but it spun sideways into Turn 1 and slid into the
wall, damaging the right front.
``It was loose up off the corner,'' Earnhardt said. ``We kept working with it, but
it just got out from under me.
``Things are real competitive. You can run the same speeds as everybody. That's one
thing. To be better, that's what you want to be. We were working trying to get there. It
just got out from under me (and) I got it into the wall.''
Jerry Nadeau spun his Ford but managed to keep from hitting Earnhardt's car as it
sat across the track high in the 36-degree banking.
Earnhardt to start 34th in
Bristol Apr. 10
Dale Earnhardt will start Sunday's Food City 500 in Bristol from the 34th
position. In first-round qualifying on Friday, Earnhardt posted a speed of 123.000
mph during his first lap. Dale puled off the track, not even attempting to improve
his speed in the allowed second lap. Dale found himself 34th on the starting grid
after electing not to re-qualify in second-round qualifying on Saturday. Only the
first 21 qualifiers can pit on the front-stretch pits, meaning Dale is in for another
tough Sunday as he will have to again pit on the backstretch. Earnhardt and Darrell
Waltrip each hold the record for most victories in the Food City 500, with five.