in the show on day one
Brooklyn, Michigan (June 12, 1998)
Following a week in which the crew chief shakeup
at Richard Childress Racing was the big NASCAR Winston Cup Series news, all eyes at
Michigan Speedway Friday were on the No. 3 GM Goodwrench Service Plus Chevrolet. If they
were looking for improvement from the man known as "The Intimidator," well, the
eyes have it.
Earnhardt finally made the field in first round qualifying...barely. With Kevin
Hamlin calling the shots for the No. 3 team for the first time, Dale qualified 25th with a
lap of 179.158 mph. For the seven-time NASCAR Winston Cup Series champion, that
makes all the difference in the world.
"Well, I made the race the first day," Earnhardt said. "We fought
this for race after race. Qualifying has not been good to us. We can come out here
tomorrow and concentrate on getting our car ready to go race. We don't have to worry if
we're going to get bumped back further in the field or what. We'll go out and get our race
setup under it and go. As bad I was running in practice, we made some changes and kept
searching and it worked."
Larry McReynolds, crew chief for Earnhardt's car until this week, now turns the
wrenches on Mike Skinner's No. 31 Lowe's Home Improvement Warehouse Chevrolet. Skinner
didn't make the field on the first day, but he did turn in the 28th-fastest time at
179.100. Don't think Earnhardt didn't notice where the other Childress team was on the
"We ran a 40.18 and Skinner ran a 40.20," said Earnhardt. "He had
been a lot faster in practice, but I feel good about making the race the first day. We
haven't had any luck, and we need some kind of luck. I think this is a turn in the right
direction. We want to get the car as fast as we can for the race, and that's what we'll do
Saturday. We can focus on that now. Getting in the first day makes a big difference."