New Monte Carlo dominates
Chevy Monte Carlo
|Car No: 3
|Sponsor: GM Goodwrench Service
When the 1995 season opened in Daytona, the
sport had a new look; no less than 18 drivers and a half-dozen crew chiefs had changed
teams. Still, the favorite to win the year-long championship was none other than Dale
Earnhardt, who had celebrated a record-tying seventh title the previous year. Earnhardt,
for the third time in his career, found himself in a position to win a third-consecutive
crown and become just the second driver in history to do so (Cale Yarborough's feet of
winning three straight [1976-'78] had stood the test of time). And that wasn't the only
thing on Earnhardt's agenda as he headed to Daytona with his black Goodwrench Chevrolet;
he was also hoping to win his first Daytona 500.
But for the second-straight year, Sterling Marlin drove his Morgan-McClure Chevy to
victory in the Daytona 500, outrunning Earnhardt in the final laps.
Chevrolet debuted its al-new Monte Carlo in '95, returning the nameplate model to
NASCAR Winston Cup competition to replace the aging Lumina. The new car was even better
than preseason tests had indicated, and from the beginning of the season, the Monte Carlos
went to victory lane regularly. Chevrolet teams simply decimated Ford's hopes by winning
the first seven races of the season and 13 of the first 16 events. The new Monte Carlo was
so strong -- on every type of race track -- that the Manufacturer's title was never in
doubt. The bowtie Brigade clinched the crown at the Mountain Dew Southern 500 at
The surprise of the season was the Hendrick Motorsports combination of Jeff Gordon,
crew chief Ray Evernham and the rest of the crew members wearing rainbow-hued uniforms.
Jeff won the Winston Select after watching veterans Darrell Waltrip and Earnhardt
eliminate each other in battle. One-third way through the season, Earnhardt and Gordon
were tied for the points lead. Gordon led the points two-thirds through the season.
maintained the point lead, everyone expected the youthful DuPont team and driver to be
sent reeling by Earnhardt and the Richard Childress team when it came to the cauldron of
the point race, beginning at Bristol. Earnhardt fought his way back through the field
twice after two black flags, and punted Terry Labonte across the finish line in a fiercely
determined drive, underlining his determination to win an eighth title.
Earnhardt's hard charge fell short however, as his attempt at a third-straight
title fell 24 points short after he dominated the season finale at Atlanta.
Although his dreams of an eighth title did not materialize, Earnhardt had another
great season. He posted his first career victory on a road course (when he snookered Mark
Martin at Sears Point) and capped it with an impressive, hard-fought victory in the second
running of the Brickyard 400. If nothing else, he had put the Earnhardt name on a page of
the Indianapolis Motor Speedway record book, a feat he never thought he would be able to
accomplish. Rest assured, however, that a Daytona 500 victory and regaining the head table
at the Waldorf-Astoria Hotel in New York City ranked at the top of the Goodwrench driver's
personal agenda for 1996.
Copyright © 2000 The Earnhardt Connection
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