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Moustache or not, it's the same old Dale
1999 News

Brooklyn, Mich. (Aug. 23, 1999)
Since shaving his trademark moustache a few weeks back, Dale Earnhardt doesn't look quite right away from the racetrack. His appearance on it, however, hasn't changed a bit.

Earnhardt, driver of the No. 3 GM Goodwrench Service Plus Chevrolet, drove to a fifth-place finish in the Pepsi 400 presented by Meijer Sunday, once again proving his tenacious superspeedway prowess.

"The car would really work pretty much anywhere," Earnhardt said. "It would get tighter and tighter as the run would go, and that's the way it had done all day. I want to thank Goodyear and Goodwrench and all of the guys. Richard Childress and all the guys did a good job.

"This is a brand new car and we didn't qualify that well with it. Coming back from as far as we did and running fifth was OK. We would have liked to run a little better."

Even so, he'll take a top-5 any day. He only has four in 1999, all of which have come on superspeedways two miles around or larger. Sunday, he battled from a provisional starting spot (38th) to post one of his finest runs of the season. From the midway point on, Earnhardt fiercely battled with race winner Bobby Labonte and runner-up Jeff Gordon down the stretch, and had he been able to get a fresh set of tires late in the race, the outcome may have been a bit different.

"I could beat them for awhile and it would go to getting tighter and tighter," he said. "We adjusted on it several times and got it better, but we just needed a little more there for the end. I wish we could have had a caution with about 15 to go. We could have got some stickers on and wore their butt out."

Regardless of the outcome, Earnhardt was happy to run with the leaders once again. In recent weeks, "The Intimidator" has posted top-10s at Sears Point, New Hampshire and Pocono twice. But Sunday, he was in contention for a win at the checkered flag rather than just battling for position.

"I was having a good time, but my time ran out," Earnhardt said. "My tires tightened up. I'd like to have been there at the end. The tires are great. These guys worked awful hard to do that (come back from so far down). That's a lot of team effort to adjust on the car today and come back from back there. It was close out there (racing with the 18 and 24), but it was just good racing. That's what I was enjoying. That's what they've been doing and I haven't been getting any of it. This time I got some of it."