In the second nighttime running of the Pepsi 400 Saturday
night at the 2.5-mile trioval superspeedway, the driving Dales reenacted their two famous
head-to-head duels in the Daytona 500 with an under-the-lights version for the fans.
After Jarrett once again beat Earnhardt to the finish line -- this time after a run to
the caution with two laps remaining -- his fans can now hold up a three-finger salute of
their own. After all, Earnhardt has won 33 times at Daytona in various races. Jarrett has
won just three, but all three at the expense of Earnhardt.
"Our guys did a good job all night," said Earnhardt. "Our car was a
little tight and loose and I think a lot of the guys were off, too. I told the guys before
that last stop that if we didn't get right side tires, I didn't know if we would finish at
all. I said 'Give them to me and we'll suffer the consequences. Maybe I can make up time,
maybe I can't.'
"It really didn't hurt us, maybe one position. The No. 22 pitted and it caught us
back up. I wasn't aware of Jarrett's problem, if he was going to run out of gas or be
close, or whatever. I was fortunate to race back up through there. The No. 99 car got
right-side tires and we were hooked and were coming up through there."
Earnhardt looked like he was setting Jarrett up for one of his trademark last-lap moves
in the draft. But the yellow flag came out after Jeremy Mayfield spun coming out of Turn 4
with two laps to go. And the red-white-and-blue car of Jarrett came out on top again.
It marked the sixth time Earnhardt has finished second in either the Pepsi 400 or the
"I think if it had stayed green, we could've got Jarrett," Earnhardt said.
"It was a key to get those right side tires on that last stop and I've got to hand it
to the guys, they did a great job. We just ran out of time. I think we could've beat him
if we hadn't run out of time."
And luck. Earnhardt always seems to run out of that commodity when Dale Jarrett and
Daytona are involved.