Dover's million-dollar man
Dover, Delaware (September 14,
Downs International is one of nine tracks where Earnhardt holds over $1 million in
Dale Earnhardt stands alone, or in very select company,
on virtually every page of NASCAR's record book, and those of the speedways that make up
the NASCAR Winston Cup Series. Approaching Sunday's MBNA Gold 400 at Dover Downs
International Speedway, the seven-time NASCAR Winston Series Cup champion ranks as the
only career winner of $1 million at the "Monster Mile."
Earnhardt's 25th-place finish in last spring's MBNA Platinum 400 put him over the
seven-figure threshold, with $1,001,100 in official winnings for 39 NASCAR Winston Cup
Series starts at the "Monster Mile" dating back to his rookie year of 1979. His
largest payday from the Dover Downs treasury came at his most recent Dover victory in
1993, with $68,030 for 500 miles' effort. That was nearly matched by the $63,105 he won
for second place in last year's MBNA Gold 400, Dover's first 400-mile NASCAR Winston Cup
Nobody is likely to threaten Earnhardt's position at the top of the Monster Mile money
tree right away, as only Ricky Rudd at $793,890 is within a quarter-million dollars. Bill
Elliott enters the MBNA Gold 400 with $747,355, while Mark Martin is in his mirrors at
$746,995, thanks to the largest winners' share in Dover history, $195,305, at the 1997
MBNA Gold 400. Rusty Wallace is fifth on the list at $732,115.
As in so many cases, it hasn't taken Jeff Gordon long to join the leaders in Dover Downs
winnings. In just 11 races, he has bankrolled $632,840. The next driver ahead of him,
Darrell Waltrip, has made 50 starts to reach $686,485.
The MBNA Gold 400 weekend begins with practice and Bud Pole Qualifying for both
NASCAR Winston Cup Series and NASCAR Busch Series Grand National Division teams on Friday,
followed by "Friday Night Live," featuring a special edition of MRN Radio's
"NASCAR Live" in the air-conditioned backstretch grandstand.
Saturday's highlights are the MBNA Gold 200 NASCAR Busch Series race at 1:10 p.m.
EDT and "Racin' and Rockin' - Neal McCoy and Tracy Byrd Salute 50 Years of
NASCAR," a free concert event presented by TNN Motorsports on the speedway grounds
starting at 7 p.m.
Sunday sees the MBNA Gold 400 take the green flag at 12:10 p.m.