It is no secret that Dale Earnhardt cast a very
large shadow in the NASCAR Winston Cup Series. And no, the Intimidator hasn't put on a lot
Earnhardt was named by Forbes Magazine as one of the Power
100, a list of the 100 most powerful celebrities and athletes, based on such factors as
earnings, media attention, and Internet hits. Earnhardt ranked 36th on the list, with an
estimated 26.5 million in income, 29,754 web hits, and 11,537 press clippings. He is 39th
on the money ranking. Atlanta native Julia Roberts is ranked No. 1 on the list.
But Earnhardt is first and foremost a racer. He'd probably tell you
that the Forbes ranking and 50 cents would only get you a newspaper. And the
newspapers in Atlanta could be talking about the Intimidator extending his mastery of
Atlanta Motor Speedway.
The 1.54-mile AMS is one of three tracks at which the seven-time
NASCAR Winston Cup Series champion holds the record for most wins. Earnhardt won his
record eight races at Atlanta beginning in March 1980 with the second win of his career
and his most current victory coming in the spring of 1996. He also holds the record at
both Talladega (nine) and Daytona (34 all races) in the most wins category.
Earnhardt also holds the race records at Atlanta with the track
record of 163.633 mph in the NAPA 500, on Nov. 12, 1995 and 161.298 mph in the 1996 spring
event. With a ninth-place finish last week at Las Vegas Motor Speedway, Earnhardt and the
GM Goodwrench Service Plus Chevrolet team have finished in the top-10 in all three races
held at the 1.5-mile speedway.
"Our goal is top-5 finishes," Earnhardt said. "We had
21 top-10s last year, so if we can turn those into top-5s, then we have a shot at the
championship. I believe we have the team to run for the championship we'll have to wait
and see where we're at in November."