It was Sept. 9, 1979, at Richmond Fairgrounds, when
Earnhardt, driving for Rod Osterlund in a Mike Curb Productions-sponsored entry, started
what has been a 20-year ride without any stops. Earnhardt has started races with a broken
sternum, broken shoulder blade, broken ribs -- he's caught a lot of breaks, good and bad,
and still he got in that race car.
"That was a good week," said Earnhardt, driver of the No. 3 GM Goodwrench
Service Plus Chevrolet. "I started 20 years without missing a race and ESPN started
broadcasting on the air waves. I don't think either one of us thought we'd last this
In his first 34 series starts at Richmond, Earnhardt finished in the top-10 an amazing
29 times. He then missed the top-10 in his next six starts there before getting back in
the groove with an eighth-place finish last June.
"We've been disappointed with our performance at Richmond the last couple of
years," Earnhardt said. "We ran very well for so many years at Richmond and then
it seems the last couple we couldn't do anything right. It felt good to finish in the
top-10 in June and I'm looking for a top-5 or even one better, a win this weekend."
We all know what happened the last time the NASCAR Winston Cup Series went short-track
racing on a Saturday night. Earnhardt grabbed his second victory of the year after
last-lap contact with Terry Labonte. Like other creatures of the night, the Intimidator
shifts into a different persona once the sky runs out of daylight.
"I enjoy Saturday night racing," Earnhardt said. "The atmosphere seems
to change once the sun goes down and the race fans get to watch a good show."