But the Rock has been rough on the seven-time NASCAR
Winston Cup Series champion. While the driver of the No. 3 GM Goodwrench Service Plus
Chevrolet has nine career victories at Bristol, nine at Darlington and nine at Talladega,
he has but three at Rockingham in 41 starts. In comparison, Jeff Gordon has four pieces of
the Rock in 13 tries.
This past spring, Earnhardt finished 41st at Rockingham, his worst finish of the
season. Despite these subpar performances for the sport's biggest icon, Earnhardt
approaches this Sunday's Pop Secret Microwave Popcorn 400 with an enthusiastic outlook.
"We're coming to Rockingham riding a big wave," said Earnhardt. "We've
missed our chance at winning the championship this year. We have set our goals for the
rest of the season and a big part of that is having good runs in the remaining races. If
we do that we'll take that momentum into the winter season and break out of the box strong
for that 2000 season."
But first there is the matter of this season to take care of. Earnhardt may not be in
contention for an eighth championship, but he is right at the back bumper of Jeff Burton
for sixth in points, and only a few car lengths behind Tony Stewart for fifth. For the
record, Earnhardt needs only to make up 24 points on Burton in the final four races, and
120 on Stewart. The way things are going lately for Earnhardt, that could be very easily
The Intimidator has averaged a seventh-place finish over the last six races, and his
worst finish in that span was 13th at New Hampshire. With something for the taking within
his sights, there is no driver more feared than Dale Earnhardt. Even at a place like the