left.gif (848 bytes) main.gif (882 bytes)
News The Earnhardt Connection
Text links are located at the bottom of the page.

Earnhardt hopes to avoid Texas trouble
'99 News
Shawn A. Akers, NASCAR Online

Dale Earnhardt is hoping his luck will turn around this weekend at Texas Motor Speedway.

Justin, Tex. (March 25, 1999)
Dale Earnhardt and the No. 3 GM Goodwrench Service Plus team have had their share of early troubles at Texas Motor Speedway in the first two NASCAR Winston Cup races held there.

In 1997, "The Intimidator" was involved in a lap one incident that sent his Chevrolet spinning in turn one. Fortunately, only minor damage was done to the Monte Carlo, and the team was able to repair the car and help Earnhardt salvage a solid sixth-place finish.

Earnhardt wasn't so lucky in last year's Texas 500. He was involved in a multi-car crash on lap two, and major damage was done to the No. 3 Chevrolet. He returned to the track 129 laps down, and had to settle for a disappointing 35th-place finish.

Earnhardt hopes he can avoid any kind of accidents on Sunday, when the NASCAR Winston Cup drivers will take on the newly-configured and re-paved 1.5-mile speedway in the PRIMESTAR 500.

"We really haven't had a race at Texas that hasn't had some type of controversy," the seven-time NASCAR Winston Cup champion said. "It takes away from what we're here to do, that's race.

"I'm looking forward to focusing on racing this time back. We haven't had the best of luck. Last year, we spent more time in the garage than on the track. We can't have that any more."

"We tore up some equipment here last year," said team owner Richard Childress. "It seems the first couple of laps are always the most trouble at Texas. If we can get through those first couple of laps without incident, then we'll be good."

Earnhardt is also hoping to turn things around early on this season. After a scintillating second-place finish in the season-opening Daytona 500 in February, Earnhardt has managed just one other top-10 finish in the last four races (seventh at Las Vegas).

In fact, the No. 3 GM Goodwrench Chevrolet team has three finishes of 25th or worse in the last four races, including a 25th-place run in last Sunday's TranSouth Financial 400 at Darlington Raceway. He has fallen all the way to 20th in the NASCAR Winston Cup point standings.

Earnhardt is looking for Texas to be the remedy for his team's ailments.

"We want to leave here with a good, solid finish," Earnhardt said of the PRIMESTAR 500. We need to have consistent finishes and we haven't done that. I think we can. We just have to avoid the trouble that has hampered us the last couple of weeks."