Earnhardt in IROC
"The first time I was in IROC we were
practicing and I didn't know what I was doing, but he (Earnhardt) certainly did. I got
side-by-side with Ken Schrader on the back straight. Dale was behind me and he took me
three wide. I decided to look over at Schrader and he was looking straight ahead, real
focused and he wasn't going to lift. Then I looked to my left and Dale was just looking
over at me grinning. That smile meant he was having so much fun, but he also knew he
wasn't going to lift and I was going to lift- and I did..." - Jeff Gordon
A four time champion -- 1990 - 1995 - 1999 - 2000 -- tying him with Mark
Martin for most IROC titles
11 victories in IROC:
Earnhardt is tied with Al Unser Jr. for most IROC wins (11)
The premise of the IROC series, conceived about
25 years ago, is amazingly simple yet effective: Take 12 of the worlds top drivers,
from different types of racing, put them in identically prepared IROC Pontiac Firebird
Trans Ams, give them a set of rules which virtually eliminates the variables usually
associated with racing (no pit stops, no qualifying, no driver set-up of the cars, etc.)
and wave a green flag at them.
Dale Earnhardt has been invited to compete in IROC 17 times. The 2000 season
was his last full season. In 2001 he ran the Daytona event but was killed shortly after in
a Daytona 500 wreck. He has captured the IROC title in 1990, 1995,
1999 and 2000, and has won eleven series races.
Champion in 1990 with two wins, at Talladega
and Michigan . . . Champion in 1995 with wins at Daytona and Talladega . . . Champion in
1999 with 3 victories; Daytona, Talladega, and Michigan . . . Champion in 2000 with
Daytona victory . . . Competed in 1979 NASCAR qualifying race but did not advance to
finals . . . Ninth in 1984 . . . Tenth in 1987 . . . Fifth in 1988 . . . Fourth in 1989 .
. Ninth in 1991 . . . Second in 1992 with win at Daytona . . . Fifth in 1993 with Alan
Kulwicki after volunteering to finish series for Kulwicki after his death . . Fourth in
1994 with win at Daytona . . . Eighth in 1996 with win at Daytona . . . Eighth in 1997 . .
. Seventh in 1998.
2001 IROC Notes:
4/9/01 - Earnhardt's 2001 IROC seat to be left vacant in
his memory - True Value IROC officials announced they will run an 11-car field for
the remaining three races of the 2001 True Value IROC schedule. In tribute to four-time
True Value IROC champion Dale Earnhardt, the 12th car will remained parked. Series
President Jay Signore said, "Dale's career in the series is one to be revered. He
accepted a record 17 invitations to represent his sport and went on to capture the title
four times. The decision to start only 11 cars in honor of Dale is a first for us, but one
we believe is well deserved. With the support of all the competitors and Dale's family, we
will keep the 12th car parked as a tribute to honor and remember Dale as the champion's
champion." An 11-time winner in the True Value IROC series, Earnhardt won
back-to-back championships in 1999 and 2000 adding to his previous triumphs in 1990 and
1995. He most recently added to his legend during the season opener in February at Daytona
International Speedway. While battling for the lead, Earnhardt's Pontiac Firebird was sent
into the infield grass where he never missed a beat. He returned to the track at full
speed and finished the event in seventh place. Eventual winner of the race, Dale Jarrett
cited the incident as, "proof that Dale Earnhardt was one of the best race car
drivers in the world." Race one from Daytona will be rebroadcast on ESPN2 Saturday,
April 14, at 8:00pm/et. The True Value IROC series will continue with race-two at
Talladega Superspeedway on Saturday, April 21. (IROC PR).
3/25/01 - IROC won't fill Earnhardt's entry - Dale
Earnhardt's entry will not be filled in the remaining three International Race of
Champions events this season.
2/16/01 - Earnhardt sent into infield
grass, Jarrett scores IROC win - There was something
for everyone in the IROC series opener Friday at Daytona International Speedway.
2/13/01 - True Value IROC pit notes - Foggy conditions were looking better and the call went out to
get the drivers ready. Dale Earnhardt, Kenny Brack, and Ricky Rudd strapped in their
Pontiac Firebird Trans AMs... Word came in from NASCAR race control that the fog worsened
and the session was put back on hold. Earnhardt started getting antsy and the radio banter
1/5/01 - IROC adds Earnhardt, Labonte and
Jarrett - Three Winston Cup champions, including 2000 IROC Champion Dale Earnhardt,
have been added to the 2001 International Race of Champions competition.
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