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
"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
"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
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
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