Earnhardt settles for fourth in Winston May 22
Dale Earnhardt gave a throwback effort in a throwback
car but settled for fourth at The Winston on Saturday night.
The event consisted of three segments - two 30-lap runs and a final 10-lap sprint - with a
10-minute break after the first segment for teams to make adjustments to their cars. Also
part of the first intermission was a "Plinko" board that determined the number
of spots that would be inverted for the second 30-lap run.
Earnhardt, his Chevrolet Monte Carlo painted with the blue and yellow Wrangler Jeans scheme from the
80s, started the race from fifth position, dodged a couple of multi-car crashes, briefly
took the lead from Jeff Gordon at one point, but due to a tight handling car, finished
fourth in the first segment. The biggest wreck of the segment, which was triggered close
behind Earnhardt, took nearly half of the field out of contention, including many top
After the first segment, the "Plinko" board decided that the top six cars
would invert their positions. Dale moved from 4th to 3rd because of this. Before the
segment started, Dale's crew tightened the car up because it was loose in segment one.
Earnhardt moved into second position at the start of the second segment. During laps 8 and
9 of the 30-lap segment, Dale swapped the lead a couple times with Terry Labonte. But his
car became loose, and he fell back to finish 6th in the second segment.
Earnhardt's crew changed four tires and tightened the car up a
bit for the final 10-lap shootout (segment 3). The Intimidator tried to get to the front
with his four fresh tires but couldn't get into position to become a contender. He moved up two spots at the start of the final dash but
couldn't make any more progress, finishing almost one second behind Gordon in third place.
Terry Labonte passed Tony Stewart with four laps remaining to capture NASCAR's Winston Cup
all-star event under the lights at Lowe's Motor Speedway. Jeff Gordon finished third,
followed by Earnhardt and Jeremy Mayfield.
Earnhardt, the only three-time winner of The Winston, earned $30,000 for the fourth place
finish. Five pictures of the Wrangler scheme, which
Dale ran in the race, are available.
spot for Winston May 21
Dale Earnhardt fared better than usual in
Bud Pole Qualifying on Friday night.
Earnhardt, the 1998 Daytona 500 winner, placed his specially
painted GM Goodwrench Chevrolet fifth on the starting grid for Saturday night's The
Winston, NASCAR's Winston Cup all-star event at Lowe's Motor Speedway.
Earnhardt completed his run at 142.847 mph in 1 minute,
53.408 seconds in a qualifying session comprised of three laps with a mandatory two-tire
pit stop after the first or second lap.
"This is a good race car so hopefully it will race good
tomorrow night," Earnhardt said. "We've got a great setup under the car, it's
driving good and the guys did a great job on pit road."
Earnhardt's trademark No. 3 Monte Carlo will feature a
special paint scheme for Saturday night's race. Richard Childress racing has reprised the
blue and yellow Wrangler Jeans paint scheme that Earnhardt sported in the 1980s.
Bobby Labonte captured the pole for The Winston with a
session-best qualifier at 146.830 mph in 1 minute, 50.332 seconds. Jeff Gordon will start
outside of Labonte, followed by Mark Martin, Wallace and Earnhardt, who round out the
Bad night for the paint job [May 19]
The idea of this weekend's Winston Select "All-Star" race
is quite simple; pit the best drivers in the sport against one another, in a short dash
style format, with no points to worry about and a lot of money on the line. The concept
breeds inevitable excitement.
This week's excerpt from the book "Dale Earnhardt: Rear View Mirror,"
which can be purchased from us via credit card or mail-in
order form, features the 1995 Winston Select. Dale Earnhardt entirely lived up to
his nickname in the event ...
May 21, 1995:
Bad night for the paint job
by Ron Green
|The sparks fly as Dale Earnhardt and Darrell Waltrip hit the wall exiting
Turn 4 on the first lap of the final segment of The Winston Select. The accident was the
third involving Earnhardt of the evening, and it allowed Jeff Gordon (lower right) to slip
by and cruise to a $300,000 victory. (Mark B. Sluder/The Charlotte Observer)
Charlotte, N.C. Its a good nickname for him, one that fits his
daring racing style, but you may not want to mention it for a while.
He did a
little more terminating Saturday night in the Winston Select race at Charlotte Motor
Speedway than he would care to have brought up over his morning coffee.
In 70 laps of racing, 10
cars wrecked in accidents that he accidentally triggered. That was eight others and his
twice. He must have felt like Dennis The Menace out there.
When Jeff Gordon won the
Winston Select, Earnhardt was in the garage area looking at the remains of his Chevrolet.
Maybe it was the color.
Earnhardts No. 3 is ordinarily black, but he agreed to drive a silver car on this
occasion to celebrate R.J. Reynolds 25th anniversary as a sponsor of the Winston Cup
program. Maybe it was like Michael Jordan wearing No. 45 and losing his jump shot.
Whatever, Earnhardt had a
It began with just a
thrill. In the first of three segments of this unique race, he started fourth but quickly
made a move to the front. There, he came abreast of his buddy Rusty Wallace. Suddenly,
they clanged together and got a little squirrelly, which is not good when you have the
entire field packed tightly behind you.
Memories of last
years Winston Select flashed to mind. They tangled in that one and wound up in
But theyre good.
They straightened up this time and hurried on off.
In the second segment, in
heavy traffic, Dale Jarrett appeared to slow just a fraction to let another car tuck in,
but Earnhardt, who was behind him, didnt slow. He tapped Jarretts bumper,
sending him spinning, and when the smoke cleared, five cars had run into something hard.
Asked what happened,
Jarrett growled, "Got hit."
Everyone went in for pit
stops. When they came out, Earnhardt was sent to the rear of the pack for having exited
pit road too fast.
Told you it was a bad
But Earnhardt brought his
beat-up silver car back near the front and finished the second segment in third place.
That gave him a second-row start behind Gordon for the 10-lap shoot-out.
Now, the last 10 laps of
the Winston Select is not for the faint of heart. It invites every instinct in a
racers body to express itself in some wild and crazy racing.
On the first of the 10
laps, with Darrell Waltrip coming out of the third turn, Earnhardt went under a car and
Waltrip went above it. Car sandwich.
Gordon watched and said to
himself, "No way are they gonna get out of the fourth turn without wrecking."
Earnhardt rarely if ever
complains if someone wrecks him. And when he wrecks somebody, he admits it.
"I just got loose and
lost it and got into Darrell," he said.
A thought occurred to some
of us as the cars rolled toward those last 10 laps with Gordon looking at Earnhardt in his
rear view mirror.
Tough night or not,
Earnhardt is still the best, still running out front the way he has for years. But he can
see the future. It is Jeff Gordon, and its coming on fast.
Some of the other drivers
call Gordon, The Kid.
If The Kid keeps
going the way he has the past couple of years, theyll soon be calling him The Man.